The Heartland: Little Rock, Hot Springs, Bentonville


Crystal Bridges Museum Designed by Moshe Safdie

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville


For more information: Call us at 617-566-1907.

Depending on availability, this tour can be reserved for any dates.


The Ozarks

The Ozarks are the largest mountain region between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains.  The people who live here share a distinctive culture.  Much of the Ozark population is of English, Scots-Irish, and German descent, often including some Native American ancestry.  Early settlers relied on hunting, fishing, and trapping.  Today hunting and fishing for recreation are common activities.  Foraging for mushrooms (especially morels) and for ginseng is also common.


The Ozarks

The Ozarks


Traditional Ozark culture includes stories and tunes passed between generations at informal gatherings.  Many of these tunes and tales can be traced to British and German origins.

Of all the traditional musicians in the Ozarks, the fiddler holds a distinct place in the community.   Square dances spring up wherever people concentrate around towns, mills, and timber camps.

Bluegrass musicians

Bluegrass musicians


Day 1

You have a private transfer from Little Rock Airport to the Capital Hotel in downtown Little Rock.

Your afternoon is free.  Some may want to explore the Clinton Presidential Library and Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.


William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum 

The Clinton Presidential Library, the offices of the Clinton Foundation, and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service lie on seventeen acres of land next to the Arkansas River.  The main building extends over part of the Arkansas River, echoing Clinton’s campaign promise of “building a bridge to the 21st century.”

The exhibits display the story of President Clinton’s life before becoming president, during his terms in office, as well as his post-presidential work.  The Library includes an orientation theater and full-size replicas of the Clinton-era Oval Office and Cabinet Room.


Four living Presidents at the dedication of the Clinton Library

Four living Presidents at the dedication of the Clinton Library


Little Rock Central High School

Little Rock Central High School is a National Historic Site and a Civil Rights Museum that recognizes the role the school played in the desegregation of public schools in the United States.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483.  The decision declared all laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional, and it called for the desegregation of all schools throughout the nation.

Several segregationist groups threatened to hold protests at Central High and physically block nine African-American students (the “Little Rock Nine”) from entering the school.  Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, facing a difficult reelection campaign, deployed the Arkansas National Guard to support the segregationists on September 4, 1957.  The sight of a line of soldiers blocking the students made national headlines and polarized the nation.

On September 24, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the United States Army to Little Rock and federalized the Arkansas National Guard, taking it out of the hands of Governor Faubus.  By the end of September 1957, the nine African-American student were admitted to Little Rock Central High but they were still subjected to a year of physical and verbal abuse by many of the white students.

Claiming that Little Rock had to assert its rights and freedom against the federal decision, in September 1958, Faubus signed acts that closed all public schools.  Both black and white students could not attend school.  However, In May 1959, three segregationist school board members were replaced with three moderate members.  The new school board members began to reopen the schools, much to Faubus’ dismay.

In November 1999, each member of the Little Rock Nine was presented with  the Congressional Gold Medal.  The medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress.  It is given to those who have provided outstanding service to the country.


The "Little Rock Nine" receiving the Congressional Medal, at Little Rock Central High School,

Members of the “Little Rock Nine” at Little Rock Central High School, 1999


In the evening,  you gather at the Capital Hotel  for a Welcome Reception and Dinner with wine.

Capital Hotel, Little Rock

Capital Hotel, Little Rock


Day 2

In the morning, you visit Moss Mountain Farm with lunch included.

Moss Mountain Farm

Design and gardening expert P. Allen Smith inspires with his award-winning PBS series and related publications.  Some of the episodes of the PBS series are filmed at his home at Moss Mountain Farm, overlooking the beautiful Arkansas River Valley.  Along with being the set for television and print projects, it serves as a working model to teach lessons in garden design, sustainable living and good stewardship.


Video Introduction to Moss Mountain Farm 

(For best viewing, we recommend that you select the “full screen” option.)



Moss Garden Farm

Moss Mountain Farm


Moss Mountain Farm encompasses more than 500 acres of a farm dating back to 1840.  The centerpiece is the cottage, built in the American Greek Revival style.  It combines the spirit of a classic American farmstead with many of the current innovations in earth-friendly living.  The extensive gardens are designed in the ferme ornée (ornamental farm) style as extensions of the home’s living space and showcase exciting new varieties of flowers and vegetables.

Moss Mountain Farm, foyer

Moss Mountain Farm, foyer


In the afternoon, you go to Hot Springs.

You stay at the lovely Lookout Point, Lakeside Inn in Hot Springs on Lake Hamilton (or similar) for two nights.  Favorite activities are walking, kayaking, and canoeing.

Lookout Point Inn, Hot Springs

Lookout Point, Lakeside Inn, overlooking Lake Hamilton, Hot Springs

Your private chef will prepare dinner with wine.


Day 3

Today you see Garvan Woodland Gardens and Hot Springs National Park.  In the evening you have a sunset cruise on Lake Hamilton.

Garvan Woodland Gardens

You will visit the superb Garvan Woodland Gardens, the 210-acre botanical garden of the University of Arkansas on the shores of Lake Hamilton.  The Gardens are the achievement of the late philanthropist, Verna Cook Garvan, and are 6 miles from Hot Springs.

Mrs. Garvan’s father operated Wisconsin-Arkansas Lumber Co. until his premature death in 1934.  Shortly afterward, she assumed control of the company and became one of the first female CEO’s of a major southern manufacturing business.  Verna Garvan served in that capacity until her retirement in the 1970’s.

In 1956, as a self-taught gardener, she began to develop the woodland as a garden and possible future residence.  She was intimately familiar with the land and laid out paths and marked every tree to be removed.  Mrs. Garvan also personally chose many of the plants.  Over the next forty years, she supervised the plantings of thousands of specimens which now form an impressive collection.  There are hundreds of rare shrubs and trees, some more than 40 years old, including camellias and magnolias.


Verna Garvan, Garvan Gardens

Verna Garvan, Garvan Gardens


The Gardens feature rocky inclines reminiscent of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains, floral landscapes, streams, and waterfalls in a natural woodland setting.  Other highlights are a Japanese Garden with Japanese maples and tree peonies, a conifer border, and various flower and rock gardens.


Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park is a United States National Park that incorporates part of the city of Hot Springs.   It is the oldest unit in the national park system, forty years older than Yellowstone National Park.


Gorge Creek, Hot Springs Natonal Park

Gorge Creek, Hot Springs National Park


For over 8,000 years members of Native American tribes enjoyed the healing properties of the thermal springs here.  They also quarried novaculite for their tools and weapons.  There was agreement among the tribes that they would put aside their weapons and enjoy the healing waters in peace.

Waterfall, Hot Springs National Park

Waterfall, Hot Springs National Park


Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto was the first European to see what Native Americans described as the Valley of the Vapors in 1541.  In 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet claimed this valley for France.  In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase made this beautiful valley part of the United States.

About a million gallons of the 143°F water issue forth daily from 47 hot springs.   The Bathhouse Row area of Hot Springs is a National Historic Landmark District.  It contains a collection of bathhouses that include outstanding examples of Gilded Age architecture.


Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs

Quapaw Bathhouse, Hot Springs National Park


Those who would like a spa experience may make whirlpool and spa appointments.  It is recommended that you make appointments early.

In the evening, you have a sunset cruise on Lake Hamilton.  Afterwards, you have Dinner with wine together at the hotel.


Sunset Cruise on Lake Hamilton near Lookout Point, Lakeside Inn

Sunset Cruise on Lake Hamilton near Lookout Point, Lakeside Inn


Day 4

In the morning, you go to the 21 C Museum Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas, for a two night stay.  You arrive mid afternoon in time to visit the museum if you wish or enjoy the trails and gardens.

In the evening,  you have dinner with wine at the Hive Restaurant.


Day 5

You visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art takes its name from Crystal Spring on the Museum grounds.

The Museum seeks to tell the story of American history and culture through art.  The collection ranges from the Colonial era to the current day.  The collection includes portraits of George Washington and 19th-century works by Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent.  Also within the collection are works by Asher Durand, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Turrell, Alexander Calder, Devorah Sperber, and Georgia O’Keeffe.


Video:  The Art of Crystal Bridges

Video:  CBS News, Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum

(For best viewing of the videos above, we recommend that you select the “full screen” option)

Article: New York Times, Crystal Bridges Lines Up Emerging Artists for American Show


Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Unamed Portrait of a Little Girl, by James Earl, circa 1850

Untitled portrait of a little girl, by James Earl, circa 1850


Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville Arkansas

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, designed by Moshe Safdie


The museum’s architect, Moshe Safdie, is known for his use of dramatic curves and placement of open and green spaces.

Safdie’s writings stress the need to create meaningful, vital, and inclusive spaces that enhance community.   Thus his spaces give special attention to the essence of a particular locale, geography, and culture.

Almost four miles of trails wind through the Museum’s 120-acre site.  These trails provide guests with access to the beautiful Ozark landscape.  The trails help guests form connections to the land and its history, as well as enjoy outdoor artworks.


Plowing it Under, Thomas Hart Benton

Plowing it Under, by Thomas Hart Benton

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art


You will see the special exhibit at Crystal Bridges: State of the ArtDiscovering American Art Now.

The Museum describes this exhibition as:

The ultimate road trip, to a thousand destinations, for one unforgettable exhibition.  

In 2013, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s curatorial team hit the road to investigate what’s happening in American art today.  Over the course of a year, the team logged more than 100,000 miles, crisscrossing the United States to visit nearly 1,000 artists.

The journey began with a series of conversations with dozens of colleagues, curators, gallery owners, critics, and collectors who helped to generate a list of thousands of artists from across the US.  After narrowing down the list through preliminary research, the Crystal Bridges team began making studio visits, conducting hundreds of hours of one-on-one conversations with artists, all in search of the most compelling American art being created today.

At the end of your visit, you return to the hotel.  Tonight you will have a Farewell Reception and Dinner with wine at the Hive Restaurant.


The Hive, Chef James McClure, 2014 James Beard Foundation Award, Semifinanlist

The Hive, Chef James McClure, 2014 James Beard Foundation Award, Semifinalist


Day 6

You will have a private transfer from the 21 C Museum Hotel  to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport for your flight home.



Included in the price per person of The Heartland: Little Rock, Hot Springs, Bentonville

Hotels, Five Nights

Five Breakfasts

One Tour and  Lunch at Moss Mountain Farm (subject to availability)

Two Receptions with wine

Five Dinners with wine


Private Transportation: from Little Rock, to Hot Springs, to Bentonville

Private Transfers: Little Rock Airport to the Capital Hotel, Little Rock;  21 C Museum Hotel, Bentonville to Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport

Entrance Fees

Guiding as requested


Payment Schedule:

Deposit due: $1,000 per person, that is non refundable and is applied to the cost of the trip.

Balance due, ninety days before departure


Subject to Availability.  Terms and Conditions Apply.

For more information, please Contact Us.

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