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24 hours in Springdale and Rogers

They are not flyover cities.

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DON'T REST UNTIL YOU SEE IT: The Van Winkle Trail leads to the ruins of Peter Van Winkle's sawmill.
  • DON'T REST UNTIL YOU SEE IT: The Van Winkle Trail leads to the ruins of Peter Van Winkle's sawmill.

These days, as you drive up Interstate 49, Springdale and Rogers (and little Lowell) are indistinguishable from Fayetteville and Bentonville, so fast is that neck of the woods growing, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't stop between Hogville and Art City, especially if you like real Mexican food. Yes, Springdale has been named Poultry Capital of Arkansas but it's not chickens, chickens, chickens. Well, it is Tyson, Tyson, Tyson. But Springdale is also the home of the Rodeo of the Ozarks and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, a Texas League baseball team that plays at Arvest Stadium. It's got Mexican food, too! And what goes best with Mexican food? Beer! Rogers may be known for its historic brick streets, huge shopping mall and antiquing, but Main Street Rogers and craft brewers have brought the town some 21st century cred.

With that in mind: Eat breakfast

Since you'll be eating Mexican food at lunch or dinner, have breakfast at IDK? Cafe, 4301 Pleasant Crossing Blvd. in Rogers. The Eaton family trades with local farmers, bakeries, coffee companies and chocolatiers to stock its kitchen, which turns out Wild Hawg Breakfast Wraps, breakfast paninis, Piggies in a Bagel, biscuits and gravy and other hearty starts to a day of Northwest Arkansas roaming. It also caters for the NWA Naturals, if you're headed to the baseball game.

Walk it off at Hobbs State Park

Only 23 minutes from Springdale on U.S. Highway 412, Hobbs State Park is a place all Arkansans should visit. It's the largest state park in Arkansas, and its limestone underpinnings means you'll find such natural wonders as sinkholes and disappearing streams among the valleys and ridges. Mountain bikers and horseback riders can travel a 24-mile Hidden Diversity Trail; history lovers can take the historic Van Winkle Trail (as in Peter, not Rip) to see the ruins of a 19th century sawmill. Bird lovers know Hobbs State Park well: Kids can take part in the bird catch-and-release program at the visitor center; grown-ups can go on tours to see loons on Beaver Lake, which can be accessed from the park at several points.

Fill up again at lunch with Mexican food

There may be more Mexican restaurants per square mile in Springdale than in any other spot in Arkansas. An expert we know in Fayetteville likes all of them. Taqueria Guanajuato at 103 N. Thompson St. — named for the silver-mining town in Mexico famed for its El Museo de las Momias (The Museum of the Mummies) — is simple, colorful and can dish up hamburgers as well as tripa. Visit teamspringdale.com/tacotour for a map and list of more taco trucks to try. You should also stop by Asian Amigo Supermarket at 2201 S. Thompson St. if for no other reason than to support extensive options of Mexican and Asian hot sauces being sold in close proximity.

Afternoon shopping in Rogers

You could visit the vast Pinnacle Hills Promenade, but we'd suggest shopping in the historic district instead — and you can do much of it on one street! Shop for wooden kitchen tools from Arkansas artisans (the Honeycomb Kitchen Shop, 213 W. Walnut St.), go antiquing (The Rusty Chair, 109 W. Walnut St.; Vintage Antiques II, 120 W. Walnut; Somewhere in Time, 717 W. Walnut; The Green Box, 1305 W. Walnut) and spend a little money and get a history lesson, too, at the Daisy Airgun Museum (202 W. Walnut), where you'll find vintage and new BB guns. If it's a locally owned toy store you're looking for, head over to Dilly Dally's at 3301 S. Market St. Also find bikes, hunting and fishing gear, even a beef jerky outlet. Then it's time for a cold one.

IF YOU'VE GOT THE TIME: Ozark Brew Co. has the cold ones.
  • IF YOU'VE GOT THE TIME: Ozark Brew Co. has the cold ones.

Drink craft beer ... or cider

Ozark Beer Co. opened shop off the beaten path in Rogers in 2013 to wide acclaim and demand. Earlier this year, it moved to the old Rogers Milling Co. on the downtown Rogers square (109 N. Arkansas St.), where the brewery plans to ramp up distribution. It's still getting everything squared away in the new location before offering tours, but the taproom is a great place to try the farmhouses, saisons, barrel-aged beers and beers brewed with ingredients foraged from co-owner Lacie Bray's family farm. There's a little nook with games and toys for the kiddos, too. Or head down the road to Springdale to Black Apple Crossing (321 E. Emma St.), Arkansas's first and only cidery in modern times. The brewers use only local and regional ingredients in their hard apple ciders, which come in dry, semi-sweet and hoppy varieties.


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