Essential Arkansas: From the Clinton Library to Crystal Bridges

Get to know Arkansas, from the Clinton Library to Crystal Bridges, from hot springs and mountains to Ozark music and southern cooking — this place has it all!
Rating (5)
Program No. 21208RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Arkansas is “the Natural State,” swathed in vast forests of oak, pine and hickory and adorned with rivers winding down from the Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains to the mighty Mississippi. Discover these and other pristine natural treasures of Arkansas and encounter the great cultural gifts enshrined in its cities and towns. Experience the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, explore state parks, quaint towns and lesser-known gems and find yourself immersed in Ozark traditions and music as you learn how Arkansans preserve them.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles a day, standing in botanical gardens and museums for a few hours. Ability to get on and off motor coach with minimal assistance several times a day.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy an in-depth look at American art at the Crystal Bridges Museum, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House.
  • Learn the legacy of Clinton’s presidency on a docent led visit to the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, a state-of-the-art facility on the Arkansas River.
  • Explore Hot Springs and Eureka Springs and learn about other interesting towns and cities that have sprung up around natural healing springs.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Jay Barth
Dr. Jay Barth, a native of central Arkansas, is M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Professor of Politics at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. His academic work includes research on the politics of the South, state government and politics, LGBT politics, political communication (particularly radio advertising), and the achievement gap in Arkansas. He is the co-author — with the late Diane D. Blair) — of the second edition of "Arkansas Politics and Government: Do the People Rule?" In 2012, he was appointed to the Arkansas State Board of Education.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Mechel Wall
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Sonda Gordy
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Jay Barth
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Complicated Man: The Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him
by Michael Takiff
Oral historian and journalist Takiff offers a wealth of perspective to counter-or at least complicate-the prevailing, and simplistic, image many people hold of America's 42nd president, despite two prosperous terms and a decade of post-White House foreign relations work. Somewhat predictably, Takiff begins with Clinton's birth to a recently widowed mother in Hope, Ark. and ends, more or less, with wife Hillary Rodham Clinton's failure to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton
by David Maraniss
Lots of people have put forth theories on what makes Bill Clinton tick, but the most trustworthy source may be David Maraniss of the Washington Post. Maraniss won a Pulitzer covering Clinton's campaign, and his book on the man is nonpareil; you simply can't understand Clinton without reading Maraniss's analysis of his past. When Bill Clinton is good, he is very, very good, and when he's bad, he's exactly like he has been all his life.
Blind Judgment: A Gideon Page Novel
by Grif Stockley
The best thing about Grif Stockley's mysteries featuring Gideon Page, an Arkansas social worker turned lawyer, is their no-nonsense attitude toward the business of being a lawyer. Blind Judgement has Page commuting from Little Rock to his hometown of Bear Creek in the Arkansas Delta to defend an African American accused of killing his Chinese American employer, presumably on the orders of a wealthy white man named Paul Taylor.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."
The Dixie Association
by Donald Hays
The Dixie Association is hilarious, wise, profound, and unbelievably beautifully written. It should not be subtitled "Voices of the South". It is THE voice of the South, perfectly captured on paper. Donald Hays has perfect pitch for Southern language, on the street and in the locker room. The baseball portions are true, interesting and exciting. The picture of the last game remains one of the great descriptions of an epic encounter in sports.
A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
by Carlotta Walls
When fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls walked up the stairs of Little Rock Central High School on September 25, 1957, she and eight other black students only wanted to make it to class. But the journey of the “Little Rock Nine,” as they came to be known, would lead the nation on an even longer and much more turbulent path, one that would challenge prevailing attitudes, break down barriers, and forever change the landscape of America.
A Place Apart: A pictorial History of Hot Springs
by Ray Hanley
Hanley provides a fine introduction to readers wanting a rapid but in-depth narrative of Hot Springs' physical and political growth as it evolved into a national park, recreational resort, and one of Arkansas's pre-eminent cities. Both text and photographs supply information and cultural history corroborating or dispelling prodigious myths about a city of notable and notorious characters.
Living in Little Rock With Miss Little Rock
by Jack Butler
With Arkansas in the forefront of the news, Butler's challenging tale of love, lust, and loss in Little Rock has all the ingredients of a winner. There is Lianne, a former beauty queen and television personality and her husband, Charles, a successful liberal lawyer and millionaire. There are also the members of Charles's firm: Tina, a poor girl made good; Lafayette, an African American former football star; and Greg, the token WASP. There's cocaine, a hostile sheriff, a creation science law, group therapy, and a couple of inept assassins. The whole story is narrated by the Holy Ghost in an Ozark accent.
Calico Joe
by John Grisham
An enjoyable, heart warming read that’s not just for baseball fans. An account of the rise and fall of Joe Castle, a baseball player from Calico Rock, Arkansas. Castle rose from the minor leagues to the Chicago Cubs in 1973 and became the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback