Traveling Arkansas’ Scenic Highway 7: Day 1
Spring Break is a great time to travel to a destination and enjoy experiences with your family. But what do you do when you’re used to traveling? For me and my daughter Hunter, it’s time for a road trip.
This week, we’ll be traveling the entire length of Scenic Highway 7, the longest state highway in Arkansas. We’re going to find attractions along the way and share where we went. You can follow us on Twitter @TieDyeTravels for live updates.
To begin our first day, we had to drive to one end of Highway Seven. We headed south from Little Rock and made it to the Louisiana border. There’s not much right here except for the “Welcome to Arkansas” sign, which makes a great photo op--but be careful: This is a busy highway and the sign is located on a curve. If you choose to take a photo here, be careful crossing the road.
Our first stop was the Arkansas Welcome Center. There, Hunter picked up a map of the state to trace our travels. One of the kind hostesses there also gave her a coloring book. This is a good place to stop for a restroom break and to get information.
We had lunch at the Minute Man in downtown El Dorado. This is the last remaining restaurant from the Minute Man chain, started by Wes Hall. The original burgers are still offered, including the Big M. You can learn more about the Minute Man by clicking here. See what we ate, here.
After that, we went out to the South Arkansas Arboretum, the 50th Arkansas State Park. It’s operated by South Arkansas Community College and open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. (except on Sunday, when it opens at 9 a.m.). Though spring has just begun, we saw lots of camellias in bloom. We also encountered a lot of people who come to the park to walk the trails for exercise. Hunter found a sign about a portion of the park being a snake habitat about the same time I spotted a small snake in the water!
Later in the afternoon, we checked in at the El Dorado Hampton Inn, which had apples and fresh chocolate chip cookies available as a snack. We then headed over to The Pottery House, a new paint-your-own pottery place located in an alley along Main Street downtown.
The Pottery House just opened less than a year ago, but it’s already very popular. Hunter chose to paint a bank shaped like a cat. The ladies inside were very helpful, fetching paint when we needed it. And the shop is as neat as a pin!
We also dropped in at Larry’s Rexall Pharmacy, a classic pharmacy with a genuine old-fashioned consultation bar in the back. If you like to check out what pharmacies used to look like, you need to see this one!
Dinner was at Fayray’s, a favorite of mine. Our waitress was very friendly and brought Hunter a Shirley Temple--a lemon-lime soda with cherry juice. Hunter thought this was incredible. We shared an order of artichoke fries. She decided she liked the roasted red pepper soup, and I tried and rather enjoyed the meatloaf.
We finished up our evening with a stop at the El Dorado Creamery, a new ice cream place a couple of doors down from PJ’s Coffee Shop. The Creamery offers different flavors of soft serve ice cream you can mix and match and add toppings to. You pay for the weight of the ice cream you choose. Hunter absolutely loved red velvet ice cream with gummy worms. I thought the Thin Mint mixed with Cookie Dough topped with Whoppers was the bomb.
Today, we’re headed north, with expected stops at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover; the White House Café, the state’s oldest restaurant, in Camden; and DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Bismarck. We’ll be looking for other things to do along the way… after all, part of the fun of a road trip is the freedom to adjust and add to the itinerary as you go along!
You can read more about our adventures at Tie Dye Travels; and follow our spring break Highway 7 travels all week here with Little Rock Family!