Sunday, February 24, 2008

A quick weekend in Northwest Arkansas

This corner of the state is growing rapidly and after visiting, I can see why. The area is beautiful and with the size of the overall area, the conveniences of a major city there there too. So is the traffic, not a pleasant thing for the residents I'm sure.

My husband and I stayed at the Hyatt Place in Rogers. I've heard of this chain but not had an opportunity to try one until now. It's the large hotel chain's answer to the demand for a hotel that has more the boutique and upscale feel without being priced vastly higher than your average Holiday Inn. It is a step up in style, quality and the rooms have several well thought-out amenities. A large plasma tv with about every conceivable input to allow you to see your business presentation beyond your laptop, a very comfortable lounging area in the room, stone counter tops and a small wet bar area; just nice upgrades you typically see in a more upscale, 4 star or better hotel room. My only complaint about the hotel was our room location. We were directly across the hall from the ice maker. Ordinarily that wouldn't be too bad, but since it was a slow weekend and the hotel had maybe 12 occupied rooms, the defrost cycle ran every 3 hours and was horribly loud. Inexcusably so. I would recommend the hotel, but check your room location first. Also call for reservations, the rates on the phone were considerably less than online. (Usually it's the opposite.)

Our plan was to have dinner at Doe's Eat Place, a small chain that has garnered rave reviews. Then as I was flipping through a local magazine, I found an ad for it. The first Ruth's Chris in Arkansas just opened in November. Instant change of plans! Dinner was as wonderful as expected, and I sampled a new dish too. The ziti with cheese and caramelized onions was fantastic, good enough that I could have eaten it by itself as a meal. Besides, the Doe's Eat Place location in Bentonville is a franchise, and I think I will save the experience for the original in Greenville, Mississippi.

On our trip home, we stopped at a Taco John's in Russellville. I haven't been to one in years, and after our stop I realized it's a good thing I am forced to avoid them. I would eat there about daily, it's just that much better than the Taco Bells found on every corner at home. I didn't have a single bad item, all hot and very tasty.

It was a great weekend getaway and I'll certainly put the area on my list for a return visit. The scenery is great, the food choices plentiful, amenities are handy but it's also easy to get out of town and find some great driving roads all within a short distance. With all these features, I can certainly see the attraction to the area.

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