Terrifically educational, well organized, a true learning experience!!
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Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.
Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 4:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will have a combination of buffets and plated and served meals; coffee, tea, and water included. Transportation will be primarily by private motorcoach. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We will begin our week of discovery with a brief presentation about Arkansas and its history by a local expert who is a long-time resident.
Dinner: In the hotel, we will have a plated and served meal plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Getting on/off public trolley. Walking up to 2 miles per day, standing in museums up to 3 hours.
Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet that includes choices such as made-to-order eggs and other hot items, cereals, yogurts, fruits, fresh baked breakfast breads plus milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: A university professor will give us an informative presentation on Bill Clinton's rise to power. We’ll learn how successes and failures during the early part of his career shaped his future. We will take a field trip to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center on the banks of the Arkansas River. We will have an expert-led exploration of the presidential library that covers 20,000 square feet and learn about Bill Clinton’s vision of the center as a place where people come together to discuss issues of today and challenges of tomorrow. We will also have some time to explore on our own.
Lunch: At the Clinton Center, we’ll have a soup and sandwich lunch with coffee, tea, water included.
Afternoon: The Clinton Presidential Center is in downtown Little Rock, east of the River Market district. Highlights include the headquarters of Heifer International, the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Old State House, art galleries, and many outdoor attractions such as Riverfront Park. We will have several choices for a field trip and divide into smaller groups this afternoon. One group will visit Heifer International next to Clinton Library then return to the hotel independently by trolley. Another group will walk back to the hotel along the river to see and learn about the public art/sculpture along the way. A third group will return to the hotel to freshen up before setting out again to the Old State House next door.
Dinner: We’ll travel by public trolley to a downtown restaurant for a buffet dinner; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 2 miles and standing in museums up to 3 hours; uneven surfaces.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board a motorcoach ride to Little Rock’s Central High School. There, we’ll plunge into Southern culture and history with a Ranger-led field trip. Once a national symbol of resistance to desegregation, Central High is still in use. We will visit the National Park Service Historic Site Visitor’s Center to find out more about the struggles of the “Little Rock Nine.” Inside the school, we will learn from a Park Ranger with extensive knowledge of the school’s history. We will then travel to Petit Jean Mountain and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. On the way to the Institute, we’ll learn about this lesser-known Rockefeller who became Governor of Arkansas.
Lunch: At the Rockefeller Institute, we’ll have a buffet lunch with coffee, tea, water included and take in the beauty of the park from the top of the mountain.
Afternoon: From the Institute, we’ll ride to a trailhead and meet a state Park Ranger for a short hike in Petit Jean State Park. We’ll see first-hand why Arkansas is called “The Natural State.” Then, we’ll continue the trip to Bentonville and get a preview of Crystal Bridges Museum with an educational video aboard the motorcoach. Upon arrival in Bentonville, we’ll check in to the hotel with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
Dinner: We’ll ride into the quaint town square for dinner at a favorite local restaurant featuring pasta dishes served family style.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 1 mile, standing in museums up to 3 hours; groomed nature trails.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is the most-talked-about museum in the United States in a generation. Designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the museum consists of a series of pavilions nestled around two creek-fed ponds. A series of outdoor trails covering 120 acres of forests and gardens surrounds the museum. During our late morning field trip, we’ll learn more about its origins and development. Endowed by the Walton Family Foundation, it joins the ranks of the richest museums in the country and has collected an impressive collection of American art. The museum’s grounds include more than three miles of nature trails. We’ll have an opportunity for a walk led by a professor of art to see outdoor sculptures and the natural Crystal Spring.
Lunch: In the Crystal Bridges Museum, we’ll have coupons to use at the café and order from the menu. In the event of many people arriving for lunch at the same time, we will go to a nearby restaurant.
Afternoon: Led by a museum docent, we will explore the Crystal Bridges museum and see highlights of the collection of American art masterworks from the Colonial era to modern day such as Charles Wilson Peale’s and Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of George Washington; Normal Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter; and works by John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Andy Warhol. The museum also hosts touring exhibits from national art institutions. There will also be an opportunity for a self-directed exploration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Bachman Wilson House, meticulously moved to the site from New Jersey. Transportation from the museum to the hotel will be provided on a regular schedule until 8:30 p.m. for those who wish to stay longer for dinner and/or evening activities. No trip to Bentonville would be complete without considering the influence of the Walton family and the Walmart Corporation on the community. We’ll stop by the original 5&10 store to see where the Walmart story began. An interactive gallery tells the story of the development of the Walmart Corporation.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You might like to make a reservation for dinner at the museum’s award-winning restaurant, Eleven. Alternatively, the motorcoach will take those who would like to go into the Bentonville town square, where a variety of restaurants await.
Evening: At leisure. If you have stayed on at the museum, you might like to see the twilight show at an outdoor exhibit before returning. Transportation to the hotel will be provided on a regular schedule until 8:30 p.m. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Approximately 5 hours aboard the motorcoach during travel and transfers throughout the day. Walking and standing at Folk Center; steep hill to restaurant, shuttle available.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach, and drive to Thorncrown Chapel outside Eureka Springs. Critics have called it “one of the finest religious spaces of modern times.” Nestled on a wooded hillside, the majestic glass and wood beam frame encompasses 425 windows and more than 6,000 square feet of glass, providing a connection with nature and opportunity for quiet reflection. Next, we’ll head into Eureka Springs and take a narrated tram ride around the historic town, learning about local history as we admire the Victorian architecture.
Lunch: At an Ozarks town on our way to the Folk Center.
Afternoon: As we ride through the Buffalo River National Recreation Area, we’ll learn something of its natural history. We expect to arrive at the Ozark Folk Center mid-afternoon. This state park is dedicated to preserving the region’s cultural traditions. We will go to the Crafts Village for a self-directed exploration. We’ll be able to see working artisans who make and sell wares in the traditional method in these areas: blacksmithing, weaving, candle making, wood carving, pottery, quilting, broom making, and much more. We’ll then get our room keys and take the shuttle to our cabins with some time to freshen up and relax on the deck amid the beauty of the mountains.
Dinner: We’ll take the shuttle (those who wish to climb the hill are welcome to do so) to the Skillet Restaurant on site at the Folk Center for a buffet meal featuring down-home Southern cooking.
Evening: Near the restaurant, we will walk to a performance space and experience the important part that music plays in the life of Ozark Mountain people during a concert in the center’s auditorium. In addition to regional folk tunes played on fiddles, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, autoharps, and more, we’ll see how dancing and story-telling blend with the music and preserve mountain traditions. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach.
Breakfast: At the Skillet Restaurant, choose what you like from the extensive breakfast buffet.
Morning: We’ll learn more about Ozark traditions in a presentation at the Folk Center, then check out and board our motorcoach. We’ll head down to the town of Mountain View, and drive around the square where folks gather to sing and play Ozark music passed from generation to generation.
Lunch: At a restaurant along the way, we’ll have a buffet lunch amid beautiful views.
Afternoon: Arriving back in Little Rock, the Group Leader will take us on an exploration of the state Capitol. The neo-Classical building was constructed of Arkansas granite from 1899-1911 and has a dome reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol. We’ll then be joined by a local expert who will point out other points of interest in the historic Quapaw neighborhood before we return to our hotel.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. You may choose to eat in the hotel restaurant or venture out into the nearby River Market district.
Evening: At leisure. Rest and relax or go out for some further independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. For tomorrow, the Group Leaders will provide information to those who want to have a hot bath in the thermal waters; advance appointment required, bring a bathing suit.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles; hilly terrain.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We will set out for a full day in Hot Springs, named for the array of natural springs that still supply heated water for thermal baths. We’ll begin with a visit to Garvan Woodland Gardens, featuring over 200 acres of floral landscapes, streams, waterfalls in a natural woodland setting. A docent will show us highlights of this gem of the Ouachita Mountains, and then we will have time to explore the buildings and trails on our own.
Lunch: On your own to have what you like in Hot Springs. There are restaurants on Central Avenue across the street from the bath houses.
Afternoon: Hot Springs National Park may be the smallest in the National Park System, but it is one of the most significant in terms of nature, geology, and history. The park was designated as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832 to protect the naturally flowing thermal springs. The naturally occurring springs have been managed to conserve their production for public use. With a local expert, we will learn about the history and geology of the area as we walk along Bathhouse Row and visit a bathhouse.
Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll have pre-ordered plate meals; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner, and reflect on everything we’ve seen and learned about “Essential Arkansas” and its history, culture, and natural beauty.
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.
Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!
Terrifically educational, well organized, a true learning experience!!
This program was exceptional. Who knew that Arkansas had so much to offer? It was all presented to us by wonderful group leaders.
Arkansas proved to be far more interesting than I expected.
This is a wonderful trip, and the guides are super. i would highly recommend a visit to Arkansas! Mary Beth Forrest
This was a delightful program highlighting some of the most interesting places in Arkansas. Nancy, Eileen & Mary Ruth made us all feel welcome & kept everything running smoothly. We were kept busy but the pace wasn't overly demanding. All our accommodations were comfortable & we had a variety of delicious meals. Why visit Arkansas! You will find many reasons in this program.
This was a fantastic program. The places we visited were extremely interesting with fantastic docents/rangers and the three women who organized everything were great--efficient but very caring and accommodating. I knew I was going to love Crystal Bridges, which I did, but I didn't know how much I would enjoy and appreciate visiting historic Central High School and learning more about the Little Rock Nine. Highly recommend.
A varied, well-organized and fun week of art, architecture, history, music, good food and accommodations, and the great outdoors. Just the right blend of planned programs and some time to explore on our own. Three knowledgeable and caring group leaders. Highly recommended.
the program was thorough, enlightening and well organized.the pace from one site to another was easy and smooth. very enjoyable all around!even though there 36 participants, the size was never an issue! thank you so much for all your work. it paid off beautifully!
This enlightening program was further enhanced by the charm of the three leaders--Maribeth, Martha, and Eileen.
Essential Arkansas is a very interesting and educational program and yes you do need to walk. This is not a program for people on walkers or in wheelchairs.
The tour was a delightful experience and one I would recommend.
i found the ozarks interesting. enjoyed the music, especially one young lady, MARY PARKER who fiddled and jigged.
I highly recommend the Essential Arkansas Road Scholar program. You will not be disappointed and you will learn to love Arkansas--its beauty, its history,and each and every site they have included.
"Essential Arkansas" provided a new perspective of a state I knew little about. There is such diversity and beauty along the roads of Arkansas.