Art and Relaxation in Northwest Arkansas

crystal bridges

The Hive doesn’t disappoint with its refined country cooking. With a made to order breakfast of scrambled eggs, local corn grits and organic sausage, I took the very scenic and tranquil walk from my room at the luxury boutique 21c Museum Hotel to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

21c Museum Hotel Room

21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville

There is a park trail that goes for just under a mile directly from the hotel to the museum. It’s in the middle of greenery and at that time of day, there were just some squirrels, the occasional jogger, and myself; an absolute oasis.  Leading up the museum entrance, the art trail is graced with beautiful sculpture gardens. The museum itself is an architectural work of art, nestled on 120 acres of wooded Ozark forestland and saddled across a pond.

Read about my first day in Bentonville at 21c Museum Hotel.

Trail to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

Art Trail

Crystal Bridges museum

Crystal Bridges Museum

Once inside, I met with the Director of PR, Diane Carroll. With a nice smile, she welcomed me to the museum and gave me a tour of the latest collections. She explained to me the recent history of the museum, which opened on 11/11/2011 and was funded by Alice Walton, the youngest of the Walton family (of Wal-Mart retail stores). The museum is free of charge and boasts a lot of neat programs throughout the week.  Crystal Bridges houses some of the masterworks from American history, spanning the colonial period to contemporary art. Georgia O’Keefe, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol are just a few of the artists that grace the walls. One of my favorite pieces was a bronze sculpture by artist Harriet Frishmuth, entitled “The Bubble”. I love the fluidity and femininity of this piece. (Diane snapped a photo of me next to the sculpture and shared on Instagram http://instagram.com/p/fvee11kanr/).

'The Bubble' Bronze Sculpture by Harriet Frishmuth

‘The Bubble’ Bronze Sculpture by Harriet Frishmuth

Crystal Bridges Painting

Landscape by Tom Uttech

Diane and I enjoyed lunch together at Eleven restaurant, which boasts a nice view over the scenic landscape. Here too, the emphasis is on fresh local food by Culinary Director Case Dighero. I think it’s worth mentioning that both Case Dighero and Matthew McClure of The Hive are nominated for James Beard Awards.

CB Museum picture

Crystal Bridges Museum

They say that this is just the beginning of the new Bentonville. More plans are being announced for hotels, art establishments, and shopping outlets.

After spending a couple of days in Bentonville, I was ready for some spa time. Although the town of Eureka Springs was cited as the absolute place for a spa retreat, I could not fit it in my schedule this time around.  With a recommendation from Diane, I drove a half hour to Fayetteville to check out I.M. Spa. The setting at the spa is a bit hippie, a bit wonderland, but all parts soothing and calming. Wendy, the owner, and aesthetician met me for my private appointment.

Wendy, I.M. Spa Fayetteville

Wendy, I.M. Spa Fayetteville

IM Spa Massage

Andrea enjoying massage at I.M. Spa

I enjoyed a relaxing deep tissue massage and a facial – nearly three hours of wondrous pampering.  By the time I was dressed and putting my shoes on, Wendy presented me with a handwritten thank you note and a gift bag of local and organic spa products! After my spa appointment, I walked around downtown Fayetteville, window-shopping at some of the cute boutique shops. It was nice to see locally owned businesses, all with their own personality and sense of history. Satisfied with my day, I headed back to my art sanctuary, 21c.

My Address Diary:

Table Mesa Bistro, Bentonville, AR

The Hive, Bentonville, AR

21c Museum Hotel Bentonville, AR

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Members get 10% off of 21c’s best available room rate

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR

Crystal Bridges’ Instagram page

Eleven, Bentonville, AR

Integrated Massage Spa (I.M. Spa), Fayetteville, AR

Pinnacle Hills Promenade, Rogers, AR

Leave a Reply