Date: September 20, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Molly Anne Sandefur |
For a day trip steeped in cultural history, hop on the road and travel through the Arkansas Delta | A Special At Home in Arkansas Promotion
Stretching from Clay to Chicot counties along the eastern border of the state, the Delta is home to some of Arkansas’s most compelling communities. Whether you’re planning a quick day trip or a long-weekend stay, there’s something for everyone.
Wilson (wilsonarkansas.com) has been a recent favorite for visitors near and far thanks to its revitalization over the past 10 years. From the Tudor-style buildings of its town square to seasonal flowers brimming at Wilson Gardens, everything about this charming town is picturesque. The Grange is a constant site of special events, including a Harvest Dinner on Oct. 16 (as part of the monthly Wilson Wine Experience) and Wilson Harvest Festival on Oct. 23, an all-day event featuring craft booths, food trucks, and live music.
Jonesboro (jonesboro.org), one of the largest cities in the region, is constantly buzzing with college town excitement thanks to Arkansas State University. Stroll along Main Street and the downtown area to explore local restaurants and art galleries that give the neighborhood its character.
Meanwhile, the Lower Delta is where outdoorsmen head during hunting season. Waterfowl flock to the abundant wetlands, which is why the region—specifically Stuttgart—is known as the “Duck Capital of the World.” If hunting is not your particular passion, you can experience the area’s farmland through historic landmarks such as Lakeport Plantation (lakeport.astate.edu) in Lake Village. Tours of the site inform visitors about the Greek Revival home’s complex history. Read on for our favorite places to shop, dine, visit, and stay in Jonesboro and the Delta.
Jonesboro’s The Everyday Chef (theeverydaychef.net) is a paradise for those who love to cook, bake, or entertain. Shop both fine china and, as the name suggests, everyday serving pieces as well as kitchen gadgets and wedding registries for local lovebirds. Opened in 2019, Blytheville Book Company (blythevillebookcompany.com) offers more than shelves filled with your next favorite reads; they also stock racks of vinyl records for music enthusiasts while a café serves coffee and happy hour libations. In Wilson, White’s Mercantile (whitesmercantile.com) is a modern take on the old-fashioned general store, filled with a curated collection of gifts, apparel, and Southern-inspired home goods.
Roots Restaurant (rootsrestaurant303.com) in downtown Jonesboro offers a twist on Southern cuisine; in keeping with their motto, “Kitchen. Culture. Community,” the menu is a fusion of traditional Southern favorites with Ecuadorian influence to reflect its owners’ backgrounds. Located right across from Centennial Bank Stadium (home of the Red Wolves), JTown’s Grill (jtownsgrill.com) is the perfect pre-game or post-win celebration spot. The pub also offers “Tailgater Specials” to-go to feed up to 30 hungry fans. In Wilson, the namesake Wilson Café (eatatwilson.com) serves a refined take on the classic diner, from hearty brunch offerings to steak, seafood, and an extensive wine list for dinner.
Head to Dyess and visit the Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash (dyesscash.astate.edu) to pay homage to one of American music’s most notorious country and blues musicians. In Piggott, you can tour the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Education Center (hemingway.astate.edu), which includes a writing studio of American novelist Ernest Hemingway at the home of his second wife, a Northeast Arkansas native. For a taste of what’s new in Helena, check out Delta Dirt Distillery (deltadirtdistillery.com), a family-owned vodka, gin, and whiskey distillery serving up cocktails in the tasting room on weekends. Jonesboro’s The Social (instagram.com/thesocialjonesboro) is a restaurant, lounge, and vintage-inspired bowling alley coming soon from the owners of JTown’s Grill—stay tuned for an official open date.
There’s no better place to spend the night in Jonesboro than Intersect311 Apart-Hotel (intersect311.com), a boutique hotel in the city’s Huntington Square. From here, you’re just steps away from events at the Glass Factory, nearby food trucks, and the dog-friendly Porch Thirty Garden and Games. With a projected open date of December 2021, The Hotel Louis (thehotellouis.com) promises Southern charm and luxury accommodations right in Wilson’s historic town square.
From Searcy to Stuttgart
You don’t have to travel the length of the state to experience the Delta. These towns along the western edge of the region are some of our favorite day trips for a bite-sized taste of this culturally rich area.
The menu at Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. (sadcoak.com) keeps it simple: chicken or beef pelmeni (a dumpling of Russian origin) and potato pierogies, both local favorites in the owner’s native Alaska. For traditional American salads and sandwiches, head to The Cookie Basket (501-827-8803), and be sure to order a fresh homemade cookie or oatmeal cream pie for dessert. Around the corner is Doorframes (shopdoorframes.com), a gift store with everything from jewelry and accessories to home décor, baby gifts, and gourmet foods.
Since 1993, the pies, cobblers, and savory treats at Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets (501-842-2123) have drawn diners from all corners of the state. The nearby Orchards at Keo (theorchardsatkeo.com) houses dozens of vendor booths selling art, gifts, handmade furniture, local honey, and other artisan goods.
The Grumpy Rabbit (grumpyrabbitlonoke.com) has been the talk of the town since it opened in early 2021 thanks to its exceptional menu as well as snazzy interiors. Cozy Nook Studio & Gallery (cozynookstudios.com) offers a range of children’s art classes and adult workshops for local creatives in an inspiring atmosphere. Oak & Ivy Coffee Company (facebook.com/OakandIvyCoffeeCo) serves baked goods and specialty drinks out of its mobile café.
As part eatery, part gift shop, Etcetera (facebook.com/etceterastuttgart) is a must-visit whether you’re shopping or looking to try the restaurant’s delicious chicken salad. Just across Main Street, shop Polka Dots (polkadotsstuttgart.com) for bridal registries and The Social Shop (thesocialshopstuttgart.com) for on-trend women’s clothing and accessories. Outdoorsmen flock to Mack’s Prairie Wings (mackspw.com) for all things hunting and waterfowl.