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Farmland, bottomland, Crowley’s Ridge and the Mississippi River contribute to the Arkansas Delta’s unique landscape. Upon first look, if you aren’t into operating a combine, northeast Arkansas appears to be lacking in things to do. Poinsett, Cross and Mississippi counties cover 2,000 square miles and are home to nearly 80,000 people. Agriculture may be king, but take a closer look and you’ll discover a region rich in history, good food and beautiful scenery.
This tri-county area has no shortage of state parks. If you plan well, you can easily visit several in a single weekend and still see a few other sites. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, golfing or learning, these Arkansas state parks have a lot to offer. After enjoying the exhibits and activities, add a stamp to your Arkansas State Parks Passport.
Lake Poinsett State Park – Harrisburg
Parkin Archaeological State Park – Parkin
Hampson Archaeological State Park – Wilson
Village Creek State Park – Wynne
If there is one thing small towns in Arkansas are good at, it’s preserving their history. Thanks to generous citizens, nearly every county has a historical museum dedicated to preserving the past of the locals. Museums like the Cross County Historical Museum, Mississippi County Historical Center and Museum, and the Marked Tree Delta Area Museum pay tribute through artifacts and documents that tell the story of the people who helped put each community on the map.
Similarly, the Parker Homestead in Harrisburg houses an incredible collection of Arkansas pioneer history, including a church, school, barn, blacksmith shop, four houses, a grist mill, post office and thousands of artifacts foraged from across Arkansas. The homestead is open to the public a few times a year for special events such as the living history fall festival, a Christmas wine tasting and a unique Valentine’s Dinner and the opportunity to sleep in one of the historic cabins.
Photo courtesy of Main Street Blytheville.
The Blytheville Greyhound Bus Depot is a historic station built in the Art Moderne style in 1937. Today the building houses a museum and serves as the office for the Main Street Blytheville Visitors Center.
The Osceola Riverport is a major agricultural port in the region. More than 200,000 tons of farm products each year pass through the Osceola Riverport on the Mississippi River. Along with its easy access to the railroad and the Interstate, the port handles wheat, rice, soybeans, sand and other bulk commodities. It’s fun to watch the ships and barges as they move through. Nearby Sans Souci Park provides some beautiful overlooks.
John Grisham is one of Arkansas’s most well-known authors and his 2001 novel and subsequent movie The Painted House told the story of an Arkansas cotton sharecropper in the 1950s. The film was shot in Lepanto, Arkansas and the movie set farmhouse is available for tours.
The historic Dyess Colony was developed under the New Deal in 1934. This agricultural resettlement colony was designed to support struggling families and provide qualifying families with a home, land and the means to develop agricultural products. Johnny Cash was one of the colony’s most famous residents, and his boyhood home still stands. The settlement, Cash’s home and a museum are all open for daily tours in conjunction with Arkansas State University.
Photo courtesy of Talya Tate Boerner.
Whitton Farms in Tyronza is open by appointment only, but you can shop online. They offer a vast selection of vegetables, fruits, herbs, transplants, and cut flowers which you can purchase online or through a CSA share.
White’s Merchantile in Wilson was started by Holly Williams, daughter of Hank Williams Jr. The Merchantile offers an expertly curated selection of books, clothing, home goods, baby items and gift that exude southern charm and hospitality.
Photo courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
Some of the most unassuming places tend to offer the best food, and The Hog Pen BBQ in Osceola fits the bill. From baby back ribs to pulled pork to whole smoked chickens and freshly made fries, The Hog Pen is BBQ at its best.
If you are craving homemade southern cuisine with a gourmet twist, the Wilson Cafe in Wilson is well worth the trip. Their farm-to-table menu is charming and delicious, and you’ll find classic favorites with a modern twist.
Leave us a comment if we’ve missed something in Poinsett, Cross or Mississippi counties so we can check it out on our next visit.
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