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story.lead_photo.caption Illustrations by John Deering

Christmas is almost here, the end of the year approaches, and it's time for all Arkansas travelers to take inventory of what was accomplished in 2018. It's also time to look forward to 2019 and consider what you'll see and do during the next 12 months.

That means it's a good day to update the list of those things every Arkansan should do at least once. Count how many of these you've experienced in the past and start planning to accomplish a lot more in 2019 as you earn your Arkansas bona fides:

• Order buffalo ribs (we're talking a bottom-feeding fish, not a four-legged mammal) at Lassis Inn in Little Rock.

• Visit the Lower White River Museum at Des Arc on a Friday afternoon, then have a catfish dinner at Dondie's on the banks of the White River.

• Have the plate lunch at Pickens Store in Desha County during harvest season, then go find a working cotton gin.

• Wrangle an invitation to a fall fried-squirrel dinner in the infamous back room at Gene's in Brinkley.

• Attend a Battle of the Ravine football game between Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University at Arkadelphia.

• Max out your credit card buying things in the days leading up to duck season at Mack's Prairie Wings in Stuttgart.

• Have a turkey sandwich and a cherry limeade at the original Burge's in Lewisville.

• Have someone take you out onto Grassy Lake in southwest Arkansas at night to look for alligators.

• Walk around the courthouse squares at El Dorado and Magnolia, going into as many of the locally owned shops as possible.

• Spend the day at Historic Washington State Park in late June, then head toward Nashville to buy fresh peaches.

• Take a trip on Talimena Scenic Drive when the leaves are changing in the fall, then spend the night at Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge.

• Show up at the Hardin pecan grove on the third Thursday in August for the annual Grady Fish Fry. Dance to the prison band.

• Walk through a field in Mississippi County when the cotton is ready to pick, then head over to the Johnny Cash boyhood home at Dyess.

• Listen to live music one Friday night at George's Majestic Lounge on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.

• Attend a Saturday afternoon football game late in the season at Arkansas State University, then go have a steak at Pintail's in Waldenburg.

• Visit with fellow Razorback fans while waiting for a seat at the Venesian Inn at Tontitown following a University of Arkansas game.

• Visit Lakeport Plantation near Lake Village, then have supper at the Cow Pen, at the foot of the bridge over the Mississippi River.

• Head to Wye Mountain west of Little Rock when the jonquils are in bloom in late February and early March.

• Sit in a deer stand on a frosty November morning in the middle of the Dallas County pine woods.

• Attempt to eat a full tamale spread at McClard's in Hot Springs after a day at the races.

• Drive across the dike at DeGray Lake on Arkansas 7 just as the sun is setting.

• Hike to the top of Pinnacle Mountain early one morning.

• Visit the Museum of Automobiles atop Petit Jean Mountain, then head over to the state park to hike.

• Pick pecans in a Delta orchard on a November afternoon.

• Have your photo taken on the Arkansas-Texas line in downtown Texarkana after breakfast at Johnny B's.

• Attend the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Hot Springs.

• Float around in Skinny Dip Cove on Lake Hamilton on a summer Sunday afternoon.

• Fish out of a canoe for smallmouth bass on Kings River near Eureka Springs.

• Listen to the bagpipes during the Scottish Festival at Lyon College in Batesville.

• Attend one of the craft fairs at War Eagle.

• Eat a turkey leg at the Arkansas State Fair, then head to one of the animal barns to visit with a 4-H Club member.

• Talk a farmer into letting you ride in his combine in a rice field near Weiner on the first cool day in October.

• Attend a high school football game in a town that takes it seriously. I would suggest Nashville.

• Attend a high school basketball game in a town that takes it seriously. I would suggest Valley Springs.

• Take a slow walk through Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock and read the markers.

• Watch the Memphis fireworks on the Sunday before Memorial Day from a sandbar on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River.

• Sit on the east side of Mount Nebo and watch the sun rise over the Arkansas River Valley.

• Visit wineries in the Altus area, then tour the monastery at Subiaco.

• Watch the cardboard boat races at Greers Ferry Lake, then have dinner at that Arkansas classic known as Red Apple Inn.

• Fish for crappie in a south Arkansas oxbow lake during the day and go frog gigging on that same lake that night.

• Buy some water at Mountain Valley headquarters in downtown Hot Springs.

• Watch the King Biscuit Time radio show being broadcast on Cherry Street in Helena while silently paying your respects to the late Sonny Payne.

• Join in singing "Amazing Grace" during a funeral at a country church.

• Attend a Sunday afternoon concert by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at the recently renovated Robinson Performance Hall in downtown Little Rock.

• Visit a sand blow in northeast Arkansas while contemplating the impact of the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12.

• Attend one of the free lectures at the Clinton School for Public Service in Little Rock.

• Help clean up a rural cemetery.

• Spend a summer Saturday morning at the farmers market on the square in downtown Fayetteville and watch the locals walk their dogs.

• Visit Judge Isaac Parker's courtroom at Fort Smith National Historic Site, then take a walk down Garrison Avenue, Arkansas' widest city street.

• Sit outside at Basin Spring Park in downtown Eureka Springs on an early fall Saturday evening and enjoy the music.

• Spend a day walking around downtown Bentonville and saying to yourself, "I can't believe this is Arkansas."

• Eat the gear salad and the filet mignon at Herman's Ribhouse in Fayetteville on the night before a Razorback football game.

• Fix a casserole for a church potluck.

• Float the Buffalo River, then have supper at the Low Gap Cafe.

• Dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro.

• Attend the duck gumbo cookoff on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Stuttgart.

• Search for the Gurdon Light late one night.

• Head to Murry's near Hazen for some of Stanley Young's catfish, which was declared this year by the executive editor of Southern Living to be the best in the country.

• Fish for trout early one morning on the upper White River when the fog is thick, then have a big lunch at Gaston's White River Resort.

• Watch the sun rise from a duck blind on the Grand Prairie.

• Spend a night at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs after attending high school state championship basketball games all day on a Saturday. Indulge in the Arlington's famous Sunday brunch the next morning.

• Take the ghost tour, then spend the night at Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs.

• Eat a watermelon from Hope and Cave City, then join the debate about which one is better.

• Take a folding chair to the courthouse lawn at Mountain View on a Saturday night and listen to live music.

• Pay a visit to Shangri-La on the shores of Lake Ouachita for the pie.

• Go on a Delta barbecue tour that takes you to Craig's at DeValls Bluff, Jones at Marianna and the store at Cypress Corner on the same day.

• Head to Blytheville and have barbecue at Dixie Pig, Kream Kastle, Yank's and Benny Bob's.

• Visit the new Hampson Museum at Wilson, then have a meal at the Wilson Cafe.

• Go to the infield at Oaklawn on Arkansas Derby day and eat an Oaklawn burger at a table under a crab-apple tree.

• Descend deep below the ground at Blanchard Springs Caverns to cool off on a hot summer day.

• Show up for an Arkansas Travelers game at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock for either midget wrestling or clunker car night.

• Watch the toad races in downtown Conway during Toad Suck Daze.

• Visit both the state Capitol and the Capital Hotel in Little Rock in December to see the Christmas decorations.

• Attend King Biscuit Blues Festival in October at Helena. On the way home, walk into the swamp between Marvell and Brinkley to see the Louisiana Purchase monument.

• Have a steak and a stiff drink with some political power brokers in the back room at Doe's Eat Place in Little Rock.

• Drive the length of Arkansas 7 from the Louisiana border in the south to Bull Shoals Lake in the north.

• Take U.S. 71 rather than Interstate 49 from Alma to Fayetteville, just for old time's sake. Get out and stretch your legs atop Mount Gaylor.

• Drive the Pig Trail (Arkansas 23) to Fayetteville when the leaves are changing colors. Stop at the Turner Bend store.

• Attend the all-tomato luncheon during the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival at Warren.

• Attend the annual Gillett Coon Supper in January and actually eat the coon.

• If you're a man, attend the Slovak Oyster Supper in January in Prairie County (sorry, ladies, it's an all-male event).

• Buy far more milk and bread than you'll ever need when there's a 20 percent chance of snow flurries.

• Have fried chicken at both Monte Ne Inn near Rogers and AQ Chicken House at Springdale on the same day. Decide which is best.

• Cross the U.S. 62 bridge over Norfork Lake on a clear day and admire how blue the water is.

• Have a steak at Jerry's in Trumann, then head north to hang out at Roy's in Paragould.

• Kayak with folks who know what they're doing on the Mulberry River and Big Piney Creek.

• Eat peaches while attending the Johnson County Peach Festival at Clarksville.

• Pick wild blackberries while watching for snakes and worrying about how many chigger bites you'll have.

• Sample the fried chicken at Mount Nebo Chicken Fry while watching the Little Miss Pullet contest.

• Visit Bald Knob when the strawberries are ripe and order the strawberry shortcake at Bulldog Restaurant.

• Attend the Emerson Purple Hull Pea Festival and watch the World Championship Motorized Tiller Races.

• Eat a big sandwich on the porch of the country store at Dalton in Randolph County after a float on the Eleven Point River.

• Order turkey fries and calf fries for an appetizer at the Cattleman's in Texarkana. If you don't know what they are, don't ask.

• Visit with Rhoda Adams while having lunch at Rhoda's Famous Hot Tamales at Lake Village.

• Visit the World War II Japanese-American Internment Museum at McGehee, then head to Taylor's Steakhouse near Dumas for dry-aged beef.

• Hike in the Ozarks north of Clarksville, then sample the burgers at the cafes at both Oark and Catalpa.

• Spend an afternoon browsing at the Dickson Street Bookshop in Fayetteville and buy some used books about Arkansas.

Editorial on 12/23/2018

Print Headline: Making a list: 97 things every Arkansan should do at least once

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Comments

  • condoleezza
    December 23, 2018 at 11:19 a.m.

    Nice list, but all the food suggestions here are meat-heavy. Rex, try some vegan soul food at Meme's Twisted Potato.

  • rtw
    December 23, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

    Veganism ...another characteristic of what I now call millennialism.
    .
    Excellent "to do" list including restaurants and "eat places"!

  • condoleezza
    December 23, 2018 at 4:53 p.m.

    RTW. Grow up. A vegan diet is a perfectly fine choice. And I am pretty sure it is a healthier and kinder way of life than whatever it is that you do. Omnivores are such snowflakes. And I am no millennial by a long shot...lol.

  • GeneralMac
    December 23, 2018 at 9:13 p.m.

    Great list !

    However, one missing from the " must attend list" is the Turkey Drop in Yellville.

    Seems some PETA folks stuck their nose where it didn't belong and caused that event to get cancelled.

    That event in Yellville used to be a " must attend " for me.
    Yellville ( good southern folk )

  • condoleezza
    December 24, 2018 at 8:57 a.m.

    General"HUSSEIN!"MaKKK. It figures that you would support animal cruelty.

  • patdowning331yahoocom
    December 24, 2018 at 11:53 a.m.

    Check out the mysterious "lights at Dover" (near Russellville---check internet).

  • guntersmith
    December 24, 2018 at 8:51 p.m.

    A full spread tamales order at McClard's is a full-day adventure. Forget the races. Oh, and have some place handy nearby for a nap.

  • MaxCady
    December 31, 2018 at 6:33 p.m.

    Vegan is Hopi Indian for "poor hunter."

  • MaxCady
    December 31, 2018 at 7:01 p.m.

    Been there done all that.

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