Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Massive Burgers at The Blue Rooster in Flora, Mississippi.

When a burger's so big that a fork is the only real tool you should consider in consuming it, that's a big burger. Watch our Instagrams unfold as Grav and I dig into a couple of the utterly massive cooked-to-order burgers at The Blue Rooster.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Magical Setting, Magic Springs.

Since before I was around, there's been this great theme park less than an hour from Little Rock where families can go and have a good time. I grew up with Magic Springs, and just like me, it's had its ups and downs. With the addition of the Crystal Falls waterpark area, the park has managed to keep relevant and fun for all sorts of folks.

The Second Largest Pizza In Arkansas Can Be Found at Magic Springs.

Do you know where the largest pizza in Arkansas can be found? Some believe it’s at Rod’s Pizza Cellar in Hot Springs, where the Godfather spans 17 inches. Damgoode Pie’s largest pizza is 18 inches. For most other Arkansas pizzerias, the top pie is 16 inches across (that includes Large Mouth Pizza in Greer’s Ferry, Iriana’s and Vino’s Brewpub in Little Rock and Tommy’s Famous A Pizzeria in Mountain View).

But there’s one pizza out there that’s a whopping 29 inches across.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Day In New Orleans, in Instagrams.

There are many ways to tell a story.  This story is about a day spent in New Orleans.

A few years ago, when I traveled, some would marvel at the speed I might get a blog post up -- say, at the end of a busy day.  Today, we're in a very instant world.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mountainburgers, Silver Saddles and Ice Cream at Dairy Dream in Mountainburg.

I've been playing tricks with your head.  I've been sending people to the Dairy Dream in Mountainburg for many a year now, for a certain mythological item called the Silver Saddle.  I can tell when someone's taken my advice, because they don't ask me what's in a Silver Saddle any more. They just nod and smile.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Snickety-Snack at Pirate's Cove Cafe in Greenland.

At the end of a whirlwind trip through northwest Arkansas, Grav and I found ourselves a bit munchy. So we pulled in at a friendly looking cafe south of Fayetteville for a quick bite.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Taco Mama, Freshest Mexican In All Of Hot Springs.

You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Mexican restaurant in Arkansas… whether it’s authentic, Tex-Mex or Ark-Mex. Some are good, some are decent, some you wonder how and why they survive.

But no one ever asks why Taco Mama survives. They already know. It’s magnificent.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A First Look Inside Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge.

Over the years, a series of lodges have sat atop the tallest peak along the Arkansas-Oklahoma
What a view.
border. Today, I had a chance to tour the latest of these lodges, the brand new lodge at Queen Wilhelmina State Park. And it’s a knockout.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

You Can Find Anything You Want at the Grant County Museum in Sheridan.

Dolls from the 19th and 20th century are collected in
this exhibit that includes a turn-of-the-century writing desk.
There are museums that focus on a single subject, and there are museums that focus on a single time period.  The Grant County Museum, located on the southwest side of Sheridan, focuses on an entire county and everything that's ever happened within it -- everything from
The courthouse exhibit includes the original clock from the
tower, as well as a desk and shelves from the
building, photographs and election paraphernalia.
prehistory to modern times, the Civil War to Operation Desert Shield, politics to domestic life and everything in-between.

The ten acre compound features one gallery after another, organized in a massive building that's seen several expansions; and within a village created from original buildings organized to give children and adults a like a working knowledge of everything Grant County.

The old general store shown here was once home
 to the Grant County Museum.
The Grant County Museum was originally located in an old general store near the heart of Sheridan. Grants and donated land allowed a new facility to be built, and as the collection has grown, so has the museum. The main building consists of several galleries that include everything from
A full-sized replica of a mule is decked with 19th century tack.
clothing from the early 19th century, to displays covering commercial traffic along the Saline River.  Like classic cars? A fine selection of automobiles dating back to the 1920s crowd one large room, with delivery trucks, fast cars and even
Vehicles from several decades are on display in a large room
that also displays signs and bottles from local eateries
and gas stations.
a fire engine. Enjoy taxidermy? There’s an entire hall that showcases critters from the area’s forests, rivers and fields. Dig military history? An entire series of galleries covers local participation from the Civil War to the Persian Gulf.

An entire exhibit is dedicated to ARKLA, the Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Company, which serviced most of the state. Within, you’ll see an original ARKLA truck, various gas-powered appliances over the ages and the desk of Witt Stephens.

A selection of different appliances powered by natural gas
on display in the ARKLA gas exhibit.

Flags overhead in the Jenkins Ferry room are from different
regiments of the Confederate Army.
A downtown Sheridan barber shop is partially preserved within the largest gallery. The entire mirrored wall from one side of the old building is accompanied by an array of different barber and dental chairs. Nearby, a “scoundrel’s gallery” documenting different infamous crimes that took place in
Items brought back from the second World War are on display
 in this hall.
Grant County, offers stories within wood and glass cases.

The northwest wing of the facility hosts a collection of Civil War memorabilia, including items showing what life was like back during the conflict. A special section commemorates the Battle of Jenkins
Vehicles and memorabilia from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Ferry, the last significant battle of the Red River Campaign. Other galleries nearby contain items donated by Grant County servicemen and women who served in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam conflict, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

These vehicles are part of the collection donated to the
museum by Richard G. Harrison.
Out back, you’ll find a large hangar packed with military vehicles. This is the Richard G. Harrison Military Vehicle Collection, which may be the largest privately-owned collection of U.S. military vehicles on display anywhere. Harrison, a Little Rock native, drove a Jeep and delivered secret
documents while serving during World War II in Hawaii. He donated the collection in 2002-2003. The selections include Big Bertha, a tank retriever and artillery vehicle; a Navy communications bunker; a Jeep similar to the one that Harrison drove while in Hawaii; and a monolithic camera that enlarged photos taken by planes to use for troop maneuvers and battle plans.

The Hilltown Café, once the Donaldson Café, still contains a
kitchen and different advertisements for cola and sweets.
There’s also the Heritage Square, a collection of buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries that include a blacksmithy and old schoolhouse; the 1935 Toler Chapel; a townhome built in 1904; the 1872 McCool House (a dogtrot cabin); the town’s former Masonic Chapel; the Edward F. McDonald House (which
Visitors can see what a post office looked like in the early part
of the 20th century inside the Edward F. McDonald House.
now houses displays for the town’s post office and doctor’s office) and the Hilltown Café, which was once Donaldson’s Café opened in 1927 on the outskirts of town. The collection also includes the old general store in which the original museum was once housed.

New to the property is a boardwalk that takes visitors out on an elevated walk through a forested section of the land.

This wide selection of preserved animals showcase the
fauna of Grant County.
Exploring the entire museum could take most of a day. School groups are encouraged. Visiting the museum is free for Grant County residents and a donation of $3 for non-residents ($1 for students).

Grant County Museum
521 Shackleford Road
Sheridan, AR 72150
(870) 942-4496
Open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Wakarusa Dispatch 2: When It's Hot, Try Bacon.

If Thursday was hot, Friday was hotter, forcing folks to gather in any version of shade they could manage.  For me, that meant spending a good portion of the evening in the shade of the OtterBox charging kiosk, sucking down samples of Frappuccino and eagerly awaiting the drop of the sun behind mountains to the west.

Wakarusa 2015 has already gone down as the hottest... at least, that's what I've been told.  With temperatures popping up into the 90s, ice and water are at a premium.  Batteries, too

We pick up this dispatch with Thursday evening, down at Satellite Stage, where the sun set earlier and electronic dance music is the theme of the night.
Satellite Stage is located in a natural amphitheater downhill from the rest of
the main camp.  Art makes this area somewhat ethereal, with inflatable lanterns,
stationary kites and dozens of individuals in hammocks.  Someone even put up
a swing this year.

The crowd started to gather Thursday night before Goldroom.

The crowd was... diverse.

I caught this shot of Josh Legg, aka Goldroom, during soundcheck.  I think he posed.

Once he got into his show, the sunglasses came off and he jammed right along with
the throng of dancers out front.  He's adorkable.

People of all ages seemed to really dig the set.  Goldroom's exposure on Sirius
XM Chill certainly hasn't hurt his carryover with more mature audiences.
A video posted by Kat Robinson (@tiedyekat) on

The beauty of Satellite Stage is the way the wooded area along the hill funnels
the music upward.  There are no bad seats, or hammocks, in this house.

Goldroom's set is the first I have danced to for its entire length... in years.  It wore
me out.  My plans to hike out of the hollow were put on hold for me to rehydrate
and relax, eat a can of pears and drink some cold coffee.

That gave me the chance to hear Conspirator, though it took them quite a while
to get going.  Love the laptop cover here... apparently Boba Fett loves a slushie.

Once they got going, Conspirator's heavy drums and guitars fell onto laid down
tracks.  They had quite a following, including a crowd from Maine and from Boston.

A video posted by Kat Robinson (@tiedyekat) on

This crowd was entranced. And as the light left the sky, the lanterns lit up and
the crowd brought out every sort of light devices of their own.

A video posted by Kat Robinson (@tiedyekat) on
While I was downhill, Grav was up top at Main Stage for Umphrey's McGee.

Their jam lasted quite a while... I could hear it when I reached camp and was
able t enjoy it late into the night.

Grav caught the Lotus puppet from the Astral Gypsies in the crowd.  You'll
see it bobbing about in the video below for STS9, later.

Friday morning, we got up to head down to Chompdown.  Last year's event was on Friday,
and the crowd was pretty significant.

And thought the heady scent of frying bacon was in the air, the crowd this year
was smaller....

Probably due to the Friday slot.  There were still hundreds of hungry people
on-hand.  /The smart folks bring food to share - which, for us, meant pancake
mix, marshmallows, cookies and crackers.

The table never seems to go empty.
Dirtfoot added to its distinctive Louisiana sound with some Missouri-style
trombone playing from the Ben Miller Band.  I think Dirtfoot only retains about
two of its members and everyone else changes out.

Something this Wakarusa has taught me... the value of acute, immediate personal
hygiene.  Thank heavens for Wet-Naps.
In the heat of the afternoon, there were the Delta Saints.

And Wick-It The Instigator, cutting up at Outpost.
Wick-It may not be as adorkable as Goldroom, but he draws
some interesting fans.

The big show of the early evening was definitely Galactic with Macy Gray.  The
New Orleans based jazz rockers have paired up for a collaboration with the Ohio-
born R&B star. But she was nowhere to be seen the first two songs of
the set.

No matter.  These guys really know how to show off.

And then there was Macy.

A video posted by Kat Robinson (@tiedyekat) on

It was 90 degrees in the shade and she rocked feathers.
Her passion ignited the crowd.

And what a crowd it was.  

Out on the Main Stage lawn, bubbles were being blown and aircrafted.

Dozens hung out under and on geodesic domes.
The appearance onstage of Chance the Rapper drew out some...
interesting sights.
They call him Mellow Yellow.

As the night waned on, Grav and I caught a spot with a haybale and stationed
ourselves with a big sheet to sit on to lay in the grass.  This is how I watched
Chance the Rapper.
And then... there was STS9.

A video posted by Grav Weldon (@lordgrav) on

The sheer amount of light coming from the stage was astounding.  There was
an amazing amount coming from the audience, too.

Grav caught fire dancers on full display...

As STS9 plied the music of the night into fluent waves of smooth.

Saturday, we'll yoga, enjoy The Roots, reconnect with Nahko and Medicine for
the People and try try try to survive the heat.
If you'd like to see what's going on right now, follow The Sideblog or watch Grav on Instagram or Kat on Twitter.