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Arkansas: the fun state

Submitted by adm_wordpress on September 30, 2010 – 9:13 amNo Comment

Harrison Mitchell, Chief Photographer—As we pass the autumn equinox and the days grow shorter, we should welcome fall’s chill of relief and then promptly get the hell out of here, at least for a few days.

Many people think of UALR as just a local university, attended solely by Arkansans; but there are many out-of-state students that attend as well. There’s also a good chance that many of those students haven’t ventured too far out of central Arkansas since arriving here.

In Japan, people come from all over to view the country’s seasonal wonder, the cherry blossom. In Arkansas, it’s the fall colors. People come from all over the world to view the Ozarks during their explosion of color. Monet couldn’t have painted a better picture, if you ask me; and as an eighth-generation Arkansan, I feel a special connection to this state and I don’t mind sharing it with the outsiders.

From the coastal plains in the South, the Ouachita (pronounced Wah-shi-taw) Mountains in the West, all the way up to the Ozark foothills and beyond into Missouri, the state has something to offer everyone. Arkansans love getting outside and we also enjoy our music.

Photo by Harrison Mitchell — The fall foliage of the “Natural State” is one of its greatest attractions to both visitors and natives alike.

If you happen to pass through the quaint town of Mountain View, wander around downtown at night on the weekend, grab an ice cream cone and listen to the locals “do some pickin’.” Strewn about the city square, small groups of musicians can be heard pickin’ away into the evening. Everyone is invited to play so bring your instrument and your singing voice. Comfortable lawn chair required.

If you’re the type that is depressed because the music festival season is over, fret not my compadre. The Yonder Mountain Harvest Festival in Ozark, Ark. is happening in mid-October. Camp and enjoy the good music and the friendly people. Buy tickets now because the price will go up on Oct. 2.

Outdoors type? Try camping at any number of state parks. My recommendation? Go to Lake Ouachita, a serene manmade lake offering views of tree-covered vistas jutting out of the water and soon to be brilliant colors. If you head over to the Arkansas State Parks website, you can reserve that extra special campsite with the awesome view instead of picking over the undesirables.

If you enjoy Halloween as much as I do, then you’ll want to head over to one of the local pumpkin patches around central Arkansas to pick your own. Don’t forget to go on the hayride; it’s vital to the whole experience.

So get out there, have some fun and make some warm memories for when winter comes to town. I hope you find Arkansas as beautifully unique as I do.

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