Arkansas

Zelda was very confused. Her bed was in the back seat and our car was packed to the gills with stuff for the next month. We left Nashville and headed to Little Rock to spend some time with Matt's brother and his parents. Since Matt and I were having Christmas in Tahoe (first Christmas just the two of us!!) we did a mini-christmas with his family in Arkansas (where he is from). On the way, we stopped in Memphis for an amazing lunch and then continued on to Little Rock for a fun dinner with his family. The restaurant waiting area had a couple of chairs and a Christmas tree, so we totally invaded and opened up presents under the tree in their restaurant lobby. It was slightly embarrassing but too much fun at the same time. 

The next day we headed to Hot Springs and went for a small hike near the springs in the national park. Unfortunately, I had been fighting off a cold and was a bit out of it so we didn't last as long as we wanted to. We also went to the Arlington hotel in hot springs and walked around there for a bit. It was so beautiful, built originally in 1892 and burned to the ground in 1923. It was then rebuilt in 1925 and still stands there today. To finish off our trip to Hot Springs we ate at McClards. Its a small hometown BBQ spot that was so incredibly busy because unbeknownst to us it was their last day open before their annual 6 week vacation!

Where we ate:
Blues City Cafe - Memphis, TN - get the gumbo cheese fries (pictured above). We could have shared that as our entire meal it was so ridiculously amazing.
South on Main - Little Rock, AR - if I hadn't had been so sick I would have drank some more of their cocktails, their bar is amazing. Get all of their desserts!!
McClards Bar-B-Que  - Hot Springs, AR - you wait at the door for a table (there is usually a line) and grab a seat the minute someone gets up. Frito pie is a house favorite. Dining is super casual and don't be surprised if the table next to you strikes up a conversation, welcome to the south!

Where to stay:
Hot Springs, AR - Arlington Hotel - Even if you can't stay here walk around this historic building. The bar was also featured in Esquire magazine as one of the top bars in the US.
Little Rock, AR - Capital Hotel - Another hotel to have a drink in even if you don't stay here. Make sure to check out the elevators, they are so huge because they were built specifically for President Ulysses S. Grant's horse to be brought up to his room!
**full disclosure we stayed in a motel 8 outside the city

What to see and do:
Downtown Arkansas is small enough to walk. You can head over to the statehouse across from Capitol Hotel and stand where Bill Clinton gave his speech to announce he was running for president. Arkansas also has some beautiful hiking trails that we were able to explore on a different trip to Arkansas.  Pinacle Mountain has a short (think 45 minute) hike to the top with an incredible view at the top. Hot Springs, AR is only a 30 minute drive from downtown and has some really cool hot springs that are constantly steaming. There is even a bathhouse row where you can take a dip in the natural spring water. 

Other road trip posts:  Our Route // Dallas // Santa Fe // Turquoise Trail // Grand Canyon // Vegas // Death Valley // Tahoe // San Fran // Costanoa Lodge // Big Sur // Playoff game in Pasadena.