Today the road has brought me to Bentonville, AR.
This outing was a surprise even to me as I had just come back from a 7 day trip to Tempe, AZ where I visited some friends over Christmas. But as I told a friend of mine, I just didn’t feel traveled out enough. I thumbed through my list of B & Bs and found The Victoria and it had one room left for New Year’s. I booked it and headed south.
Relatively speaking the drive was a picnic as it was the shortest I’ve had in many a moon (less than 6 hours). So it was that I found myself in Bentonville on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve and at The Victoria, owned and operated by Michael and Joana Garrison.
The Victoria has a self check-in procedure. I was given a door code to let myself in and found a letter with my name on it welcoming me to the inn and guiding me to my room on the second floor. After picking my breakfast time, I headed up to my room: The Emperor.
This was a very elegant room with large paintings gracing the walls, a writing desk, an old-fashioned gas stove, a leather easy chair, and a large king bed. After settling in, I made a quick exploration of the property.
The Victoria has six rooms, each with a royal theme. There is also a seasonal swimming pool and a hot tub on the property. The mansion is surprisingly snug with the communal dining room serving as the commons area and the bedrooms being very close together.
After settling in, I headed off to worship at St Stephen. I have a feeling this is a very new building as it had a modern feel to it and was the second largest chapel in which I’ve attended a service.
I felt a real sense of serenity as I worshipped. There was no real “a-ha” moment to the service to cause this feeling. I just felt His presence and just rested in it for the service. Afterwards, I took a few snaps of the Christmas decorations around the chapel and then searched up a place to have dinner.
I had dinner at Table Restaurant on 6th. The restaurant looks like it was once a house and has upgraded café food to a fine dining experience. I had a hankering for some Mediterranean food so I gave the Lamb Burger a taste and it really hit the spot. After satisfying my hunger, I returned to the Victorian and then walked the few blocks to the downtown area.
Downtown Bentonville has a wide variety of shops and restaurants, but it also has some great Christmas lights. I first went to the outdoor ice rink and took in their magic for a spell before heading to the town square to take in their holiday cheer. Then I took advantage of the nice night and wandered about the neighborhood for some exercise and to find more Christmas lights.
One thing I noticed was that many homes seemed quite well to do and I would later learn that Bentonville is one of the wealthiest cities in Arkansas and either does, or did, have two billionaires living in the city. After a good long walk, I returned to the inn where I watched a little TV before going to bed.
I had an early breakfast the next morning and headed down at 8:15am. I formally met Michael and took a seat at by the window. Michael gave me a mason jar full of water before taking my egg order. I opted for a vegetable omelet with a side of turkey bacon. Before sinking my teeth into that, I had a fresh from the oven cinnamon roll and some fruit from the buffet.
Breakfast was exquisite and I returned to room to relax for a bit before heading to nearby Fayetteville to once again enjoy Arkadia Retrocade.
I had visited this arcade back in March on my way home from Hot Springs, but didn’t get to fully enjoy it as I was on a tight schedule. This time I was able to indulge my video game loving heart to the fullest.
I said it in March and I’ll say it again. This is one of the two best retro arcades I’ve visited and is #1 in terms of pure value. For $5, you can game all day. I was so lost in the treasure trove of games that nearly five hours passed before I knew it. I had a fantastic day of gaming as I set personal bests on Crystal Castles, Burgertime, Fix it Felix, Jr., Dragon’s Lair (haven’t quite mastered the timing of the arcade version), Donkey Kong 3, and Kangaroo. I also conquered Sunsetriders, Spider-Man, Captain America and The Avengers, and, for the first time, Double Dragon II: The Revenge.
Then I drove back to The Victoria and made the short jaunt to Flying Fish. This is a casual seafood restaurant which also serves some Cajun fare. I ordered a cup of seafood gumbo along with shrimp jambalaya and bread.
This is how gumbo is supposed to be. A good gumbo is more like stew than soup and this one was right on the money with a thick, brown broth. The jambalaya was spot on and I used the seasoned bread to mop up the remains of my gumbo and jambalaya sauce. Then I walked for a few miles around town to get some more Christmas shots before retiring to the inn for the night.
Breakfast this morning was a repeat of yesterday’s though I had an orange roll instead of a cinnamon roll and nibbled on a cranberry (I think?) scone instead of having fruit.
And that brings this adventure to an end. It serves as a nice bookend as I’m starting the year in Arkansas and will also close it there when I visit Arsenic and Old Lace of Eureka Springs for my annual Christmas review. As to what happens in between. . .well, we’ll just see where the road takes me.
But if you find yourself in Bentonville, spend a night in regal elegance at The Victoria. You’ll find royal comfort, delicious food, and gracious hosts.
Until the next time. . .happy travels.