Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rockin' a little (cont.)

Little Rock Central High School
The next morning, I was up and at 'em and ready for breakfast. I was in luck! Less than a block down the street from my hotel, I found Boulevard Bread, a great little shop with fresh baked goodies and delicious coffee (exactly what one needs in the morning). Once I got a pastry, a fruit cup, and some caffeine in me, I was ready to face the day!

I'd decided to start off at Little Rock Central High School, the site of a protracted desegregation in 1957. The building itself is still a functioning high school. However, the National Park Service maintains visitors' center across the street.

I found this attraction to be so moving. There are many multimedia elements inside the center - video clips of much of the news coverage at the time, heartfelt interviews with some students involved in the desegregation, just some profound history. The center provides an in-depth look at what the experience of those African-American students was like, and how important what they did was to the whole racial fabric of the United States (and, particularly, the South).

After spending some time in the visitors' center, I walked across the street to the high school itself. It's still a gorgeous building with amazing architecture. Because it was a weekend, I was able to get some up-close shots of the front facade, sit on a bench outside, and just ponder it all for a while.

Afterwards, I headed back to the River Market district. It was a bright, sunny day, and I wanted to explore Riverfront Park. What a good idea! Paths run between the River Market district and the water, and along the way are all sorts of interesting things: public art, placards that tell you about the history of the area, a series of beautiful pedestrian bridges (I crossed a couple of them.), and even some outdoor performance spaces. I was completely enchanted with this place, and it was mere steps from my hotel! I grabbed a sandwich to go at a nearby spot, decamped to a bench, and took it all in.
Public art at Riverfront Park!

After a quick rest at my hotel, it was back out for a bit. I'd heard that I MUST have dinner at Capital Bar and Grill, so off I went. I started with a glass of wine and the bar's trademark fried black eyed peas. My appetite whetted, I moved on to the roasted chicken, which came with crispy Brussels sprouts and a butternut squash puree. Delightful! The food was delicious, and the environment was dim and welcoming. The next time I come to Little Rock, I'll have to stay a night or two in their hotel!

After dinner, I had a little time to kill before my curtain time in North Little Rock. For funsies, I decided to walk, crossing one of the pedestrian bridges and getting GREAT views of the city as I went. I took my time, snapping lots of pics, and easily found my next destination - The Joint. A friend of mine who lives in Little Rock had suggested I swing by this fun comedy club/coffee bar, and it didn't disappoint! I saw their Frost Bite Me!, a fun sketch/improv show that's both written and performed by locals. I got a cup of coffee and a BIG chocolate chip cookie, leaned back in my chair, and laughed my head off. The cafe also serves some light food and alcoholic beverages, so there are lots of options.

After the show was over, I caught the trolley back over the river. It dropped me within a few blocks of my hotel, just in time for me to catch the lights show on the pedestrian bridges! So gorgeous! I watched the whole thing, snapped a few pics, and ambled the last few blocks back to my hotel.

What a view!
Before I left town the next morning, I did a little shopping. I found my heart's desire at The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. The Butler Center operates a retail art gallery featuring the work of Arkansas artists. For a while, I'd been looking for an ornate wooden box for our foyer, a place to put stamps, odds and ends, etc. I found JUST the thing (and reasonably priced, too) here. Needless to say, it came home with me!

I so enjoyed my time in Little Rock, and I'm looking forward to going back! What a fun town!

No comments: