Ah, summers in Northwest Arkansas. While my recent move to the Pacific Northwest for mountain guiding has been one of the coolest endeavors of my life, it's certainly revealed what I miss most about my long-time home in Arkansas. Here is a list of activities, events, and locations that I wish I could engage in this Summer … so, read on and get out there!
1. Hit the Farmers Market
Consistently ranked top 10 in the country by American Farmland Trust's yearly review, the Fayetteville Farmers Market is to die for. Each Saturday local produce, meats, and all things Fayetteville coalesce on the downtown square for a unique small-town-meets-progressive bazaar. Be prepared for a young hip crowd and a puppy overload. Vendors and shoppers alike fill the town's square. Along the perimeter, the town's wonderful array of brick and mortar businesses are open extended hours to offer everything needed to eat, shop, drink, and be merry. Make sure to stop by Little Bread Co. or Arsagas on Church St. for wonderful coffee and breakfast food. No cash? No worries, there is an ATM right outside of the Bank of Fayetteville just of the square.
2. Take Part in Bike + Yoga Adventure Series
Each month Fayettechill hosts outdoor inspired events that offer a chance to get outside and meet like minded individuals. Newest to their offerings is the Bike Adventure Series, a FREE group ride open to shredders and gumbies alike. On the last Friday of every month, pedal over to Fayettechill Basecamp (off Dickson Street) and take a stroll down the Fayetteville Greenway to Apple Blossom’s Lake Fayetteville Pub for happy hour pricing. Most rides vary from 12 - 18 miles depending on psych level.
Don't forget to check the calendar for their Yoga Adventure Series as well! A chance to join others in the community for a sunrise hike + yoga class, these adventures take place in NWA outdoor must see, Yellow Rock Overlook in Devil's Den.
3. Explore the Buffalo National River
The quintessential Ozarkian adventure area, accessible just over an hour drive from NWA. Host of a myriad of different outdoor activities, visitors can enjoy canoeing, camping, mountain biking, and everything in between. Depending on time commitments and personal experience levels, try out some of the Buffalo River region's recreational gems-- deep water soloing at Kyle's Landing (pictured below), hiking Big Bluff, or riding along the Buffalo Head Waters. Vast and enchanting-- it's America's first National River for a reason!
4. Get Down on Dickson Street
Fayetteville’s night life is on the up and up. Dickson Street host about 35 bars in a ½ mile radius, so there are more than enough watering holes for even the most seasoned drinkers. Nearly a straight jaunt downhill from the University of Arkansas’ Old Main Lawn means a young crowd ready to spend a night out drinking and dancing. Check out of of Fayetteville's most iconic, George's Majestic Lounge, to tap into a wide array of music genres in a historic Dickson St. location. Not into the late night scene? Well, there are plenty of good eateries, bookstores, and an art scene to keep you busy during the day.
5. Visit Bentonville, AR
Located about a half hour north of Fayetteville, Bentonville is quickly becoming Fayetteville's classier cousin. With the headquarters of Wal-mart, Tyson, and JB Hunt, Bentonville is poised to become a cultural centerpiece in the southern mid-west. With great food right of the square and plenty of miles of paved multi purpose trails, there are equal parts city life and outdoor vibes.
Make sure to stop by Crystal Bridges' 2017 outdoor summer exhibit, Chihuly: In the Forest, for a unique chance to see blown glass sculptures throughout the newly renovated outdoor gardens within the North Forest of the museum grounds. Looking for a bit more adventure? Bring your mountain bike or rent one for some of the coolest and easiest access to both single track and greenway in the region.
Words by George Bieker | Photos by Heno Head + Jeff Rose + Taylor Piva
George Bieker is a Fayettechill athlete & an avid rock climber, mountain guide, and traveler. He is currently working for the American Alpine Institute in Bellingham, WA. For more information or to follow his adventures visit georgebieker.com or @george_bieker.