Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rockin' a little

Clinton's Cabinet Room
Earlier this year, I got the chance to spend a few days in Little Rock, Ark. I was in town for business, and I just took the weekend and poked around. What fun!

I stayed in the River Market district, at the CourtYard by Marriott downtown. Well-located, clean and quiet, it made a perfect home base to explore the area!

My first morning in town, I was jonesing for some breakfast. I met up with a local friend at The Root Cafe. What a find! This tiny local restaurant serves up heaping plates of breakfast food in a fun, funky atmosphere. They source as much of their ingredients as possible from small Arkansas producers. We ordered at the counter (pancakes!), found a corner table, and settled in.

The food was delicious, and the company was even better! As we ate breakfast, we could smell other goodies baking in the kitchen. Every once in a while, a server would come out with a hot pan of cookies or brownies and set them on a nearby shelf to cool. OMG. It was really hard not to reach out and snag one!

After breakfast, the FIRST place I headed was the Clinton Presidential Center. I had never been to a presidential library before, and I'd heard really good things about this attraction!

It was so cool! I got to snoop through a replica of the Oval Office, check out menus and table settings from various state dinners, and see all kinds of memorabilia from Clinton's eight years in office. They also have a replica of the presidential cabinet room. You can choose a chair to sit in and scroll through an interactive program about members of the cabinet. (I chose the "Secretary of Energy"
One of the exhibits at Heifer Village
chair! Heh.)

The library hosts rotating exhibits, too. When I was there, they had a fun exhibit about Charles Schultz's The Peanuts on display. Parts of the building also have sweeping views of the river and the bridges that arch over it. Just a lovely space.

I easily spent a couple of hours here before my stomach started rumbling! I decided to stop at the on site restaurant, Forty-Two. It was a good choice! Again, a wall of glass provides beautiful views of the river. I chose a big, beautiful steak sandwich with a cup of soup. Very satisfying.

Afterwards, since I was close by, I decided to head over to Heifer Village. You may or may not know about Heifer International. They are a global aid organization that aims to lift families out of poverty by helping them become self-sufficient. You can donate money to buy a needy family a goat, or a cow, or chickens, or even honey bee hives. (Little man and I love to do this for his teachers as a Thanksgiving present. We give a gift in their name.)

Anyway, at Heifer Village, which is the headquarters of Heifer International, you can tour some cool hands-on exhibits about world hunger, poverty, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, the importance of technology, and more. It's a really cool, free stop. You can also browse their shop, which features international goods made by craftsmen (and women!) from around the globe. (I picked up a scented candle and a few other pretties!)

An AMAZING performance by Arkansas Rep
After a day of touring, I headed back to my hotel to freshen up. I had tickets to see the opening night performance of The Whipping Man at Arkansas Repertory Theatre that night, and I didn't want to be late! I arrived a bit early, got a quick snack from the pre-show concession vendor, and perused the original art on display in the lobby area. Then, I settled into my (awesome) seat for the show.

What a powerful script. Ironically, my local professional theatre, New Stage, had done The Whipping Man last season, but I'd missed it! I was glad to catch it in Little Rock. The cast was fantastic (and they need to be, because three actors carry the whole show), and the plot is, by turns, uplifting and hopeless. I really enjoyed this show.

I drove my little rented Prius back to the hotel and turned in for the night.

More to come . . .

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