Date: November 29, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Molly Anne Sandefur |
Head to Saline County to embrace traditions new and old | A Special At Home in Arkansas Promotion
For a primer on the history of Saline County, look no further than “The Benton Mural” on the side of the Bell Building in downtown Benton. Completed by artists Dianne Roberts and Mark Davey, the 35-foot-tall piece starts in 1541 with the Caddo tribe’s first encounter with European explorers and ends in the early 20th century with the creation of the city’s Niloak pottery, made famous for its creator’s unique use of local kaolin clay.
To delve a little deeper into the time periods in between, visit The Gann Museum of Saline County (gannmuseum.com), which is in and of itself a historical relic: Built in 1893 as the home of a local doctor, it is the only known building in the world built from bauxite, which is the mineral used to produce aluminum and is of abundance in the region. Inside the small museum are exhibits detailing how aluminum production contributed to the local economy, the region’s Native American history, a collection of Niloak pottery, and more.
The Gann Museum is a must-visit to see interesting Saline County artifacts.
Today, the cities continue to thrive, attracting many to its growing communities while offering the ability to work and play in Little Rock, too, with a short commute. Every December, residents gather to watch the lighting of the Saline County Courthouse for the holidays, a beloved tradition started by the City of Benton in 2002. This year, city leaders are excited to extend that tradition twofold: In addition to the courthouse, buildings around the entire square will be lit on December 3—and it won’t end after the holidays, either. This charming county seat will be illuminated year-round. Read on for more of our favorite places to shop, design, dine, and visit in Benton and Bryant.
Saline County Courthouse in downtown Benton
Head to Southern Roots (instagram.com/southernroots_ar) in Benton to shop all the current trends in women’s clothing and accessories, including brands like Free People and Kendra Scott. Have little ones? This Little Piggy (shopthislittlepiggy.com) is a go-to for the sweetest children’s clothing and toys. Audiophiles love Retro Rose (retrorose.online) for its varied selection of vinyl records and band tees. Flowers & Home (flowersandhome.com) in Bryant is a favorite for all things home furnishings, seasonal décor, and gifts.
From comfort food to specialty cocktails (below), Blue Heaven has it all.
Blue Heaven (blueheavenbenton.com) in Benton serves all the American diner classics, including blue plate specials throughout the week and plenty of made-from-scratch desserts. In Bryant, Speakeasy Cafe (spkeasy.coffee) is a popular stop for breakfast and lunch; find French toast, breakfast tacos, and fried bologna on the menu. With a drive-thru location in Bryant and indoor seating in Benton, Koffee with a Kause (facebook.com/koffeewithakause) is a convenient stop for your coffee fix.
Blue Heaven in Benton features an intimate, speakeasy-inspired room complete with an antique bar and furniture pieces from the 1800s.
The historic Royal Theatre (theroyaltheatre.org) was built in 1920 and operated for decades as a movie theater. In 2000, the venue found new life as a community theater for a group of actors known as the Royal Players. This holiday season, see Elf The Musical December 2-12 at the Royal Theatre. Still have some holiday shopping on your list? Visit Mistletoe Market (bentonar.org) at the Downtown Benton Farmers Market on December 11. The one-day shopping event is free and includes a live nativity, bounce houses, pictures with Santa, and more in addition to a market of local vendors selling their wares.
Benton and Bryant are home to many design resources that can help bring your next project to life. Call on the pros at Jones Glass (myjonesglass.com) for remodels that require shower enclosures, custom doors and windows, and more. Countertop World (countertopworldar.com) offers stone fabrication and installation, including granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, and porcelain. To amplify your outdoor space, head to Congo Fireplace & Patio (congofp.com) for fireplaces, fire pits, and grills, and stop by GW Lighting and Home (gwlightingandhome.com) for lighting, furniture, accessories, and everything you need to finish the look.