So, summertime is just about here, and you're strapped for vacation time. Or you want a quick place to get away for the weekend?
Here are five such destinations... and the burger you should try when you're in town.
Perryville (56 minutes from Little Rock). Like animals? Want to learn something? Consider a trip out to Perryville to visit the Heifer Ranch? This facility is used to train people who volunteer with Heifer – and for groups to experience life in a variety of different dwellings representative of housing situations around the world. Lots of livestock, too.
The burger: The Widowmaker at Mustang Sally's. What might be the tallest burger in Arkansas comes with bacon, egg, barbecue sauce, fried cheese sticks and more between two round grilled cheese sandwiches. Learn more here.
Lonoke (30 minutes from Little Rock). Did you know that sixty-one percent of the value of all cultured baitfish in the country come from Arkansas? The center of that activity is Lonoke - the Minnow Capital of the World - where you’ll find a large number of minnow farms.It’s run by Arkansas Game and Fish, and it’s where you’ll learn about the bait fish industry. It’s named after Joe Hogan, who started the fishery back in 1929. Today, you can go and visit the hatchery, look around at the aquariums and mounted fish and learn a lot about fishing in Arkansas.
The burger: The regular cheeseburger comes on a sesame-seeded bun with your choice of condiment and a slab of Velveeta cheese. Fries are served with cheese dip! Read more here.
Bauxite/Benton (32/29 minutes from Little Rock). Ever wonder where aluminum comes from? The source ore is bauxite, and there's a town in Arkansas named for that very substance. Bauxite has been mined and refined in Arkansas for decades, and there's a Saline County town that even has the name. Head there on Wednesdays to visit the Bauxite museum, then roll into Benton and visit the Gann Building -- the only structure in the world built with bauxite.
The burger: Jimmy's Diner serves up beautiful traditional smashy cheeseburgers with nice griddle char. And the fried pies are great, too. Best of all, you'll pass Jimmy's between the two destinations. Check it out here.
Greenbrier (49 minutes). The Faulkner County town on US Highway 65 may have the greatest concentration of flea markets in our state, no joke! American Pickers would have a field day with the run of antique malls, treasure troves and collector's havens that line the road from Springhill to Damascus. Greenbrier's the epicenter. Take cash.
The burger: The Cowboy at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant is served on a long seeded road with sauteed peppers and onions, Monterrey Jack cheese and pickles. Try it out.
Scott (20 minutes). The Arkansas Delta is less than half an hour from Little Rock, and the place to learn its agricultural history is the Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park. Here, you'll unearth the story of cotton, boll weevils, seeds and grains and the farmers that took on the fertile fields of the Mississippi River alluvial plain.
The burger: The Hubcap at Cotham's Mercantile is legendary. For safety's sake, take a friend to share it with you, and don't forget the onion rings. See why, here.