Go French Yourself’s Guide To Bentonville Arkansas//The Power Of Music
This post was made in collaboration with Visit Bentonville however as always, all words are my own. Thank you to Visit Bentonville and everyone involved for a really rad weekend.
Yes, I know, I’ve been traveling an awful lot recently, I can barely keep up myself.
But when the invitation arrives in my inbox to spend a weekend in Bentonville, discovering their music scene, how can I possibly say no?! I am a girl who loves a good road trip and some good music.
I have visited Bentonville numerous times but this city is rapidly changing every month and now, with my photographer’s eye, I couldn’t wait to return to see the city in all it’s glory - from the quaint square, the great food and drink scene, the exploding music scene and its many museums. A weekend in Bentonville is a great idea and couldn’t be easier to do, especially for those of us living in Oklahoma and Texas! I mean it’s a quick one hour and forty five minute drive for me which is so easy breezy. And it’s only five hours from the BIG D!
What to expect at the Power of Music Festival?
I have to rave about The Power Of Music Festival that was after all the whole reason for my trip! Seriously, next year do not miss the opportunity to attend.This was such a thought-provoking event for me, especially the Masterclass Panel-What it takes to MAKE IT in the Music Business that I attended during the day Saturday hosted at Meteor Guitar Gallery. (You can find weekly live entertainment here which I think is really cool)Three music executives (Shelby Kennedy, Chris Oglesby and Stephen Linn), with years of experience across the music industry, teach emerging songwriters, artists, and other music industry professionals insights for launching and growing your career. This masterclass helped attendees navigate the maze that is the modern music industry.
Topics covered include:
Major music industry players: who has a seat at the table, what they do, and what they mean to a songwriter or artist
Seven laws of songwriting: learn a proven process to create better, more financially viable songs
Artist development and branding: learn how treating a songwriter or artist as a small business will allow for development of a personal brand, growth in digital footprint and long-term success in the music industry
The bravery and vulnerability of these song writers was just incredible.
The whole weekend really opened my eyes to so many undiscovered artists! There are a ton of new artists performing every day, so go check out some names that sound interesting and who knows? You might just stumble upon a new favorite like my new fave Matthew Haley and Jed Harrelson. Plus, you can tell all of your friends back home about your brand new discoveries. Seeing Chris August and Kat Higgins perform on stage together Saturday night was just the bees knees!! You can and should watch on my Instagram story hilights under Visit Bentonville. I was so moved by “The I’ll Fly Away Foundation”. The song “I’ll Fly Away” was written in 1932 by Albert E Brumley and is one of the most recognized songs in the world. Albert had plans to start a music themed foundation but he died in 1977 before he could complete it. 34 years later, his granddaughter Betsy and her husband Kevin picked up the baton to fulfill Albert’s last dream. The I’ll Fly Away Foundation was founded in 2011 by husband and wife team Betsy Brumley and Kevin Bernier.
The I’ll Fly Away Foundation’s mission is: We use the power of music to engage children and improve their lives. Through songwriting, our programs unlock children’s creative potential and help inspire their dreams, as we teach them to believe in themselves and in power of their creativity. They saying goes “it all starts with a song,” and we believe that song can change a life.
I cannot wait to attend next year!! If you love music, this is one festival that you must add to your radar! And truly as a blogger and a writer, I learned so much from the masterclass to bring back into my profession even though I am not writing songs. I have already put some of the things to action and look forward to using more of the tools that were provided. I cannot wait to share this magical experience with all of my musician friends. I know several who would absolutely love to attend!
BENTONVILLE TRAVEL GUIDE:
WHERE I STAYED:
Location-wise, you couldn’t be more central staying at The DoubleTree Suites! Highly suggest taking advantage of the hotel’s proximity to Walmart Stores headquarters, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) and ALL the things I am about to tell you about in this travel guide. And of course they still have those delightful signature chocolate chip cookies! They are STILL so good. The rooms are incredibly spacious. The bedroom and living area are separated by a solid door to enhance privacy. With sofa beds, work desks and ergonomic chairs, refrigerators, microwaves and complimentary WiFi, their suites cater to the distinctive business traveler, as well as leisure travelers. Plus my room had a bathtub and you do not even know how happy tubs make me. So not a shower girl.
My verdict on DoubleTree? An ideal location, reasonably priced, heavenly beds and lots of space! A perfect little spot to rest your weary feet after a day’s hearty exploration mission.
E A T A N D D R I N K :
Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie: Serious foodies…you will just love it here. They utilize local produce when possible so the menu shifts seasonally to accentuate available ingredients. Their Owner and Executive Chef, Rob Nelson has been recognized repeatedly as one of the region’s best. Tusk & Trotter’s floor plan was designed to invite families seeking to enjoy a delicious dinner, professionals wanting to meet for lunch or unwind after work, or a group of friends who just need a place to catch up. The space, which was once Sam Walton’s general office and warehouse, is divided structurally in a way that naturally separates the quiet dining area to the South from the casual lounge area to the North. Interesting architectural elements of the space include exposed trusses overhead, acid-stained concrete floors, and Sam's original warehouse door. We started off with “That’s Belly Bovine” which is a bone marrow with Arkansas & Tusk bacon, smoked jowl-fig gastrique, pickled vegetables & whipped potatoes. And we could not say no the Pommes Frites which come 4 different ways….7 herbs de Provence glaze, spicy, truffle oil , or salt & pepper frites but I mean how can you go wrong?! Highly recommend the Carnivore’s Dilemma flatbread too— meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, arugula, gruyere, parmesan & mozzarella cheese served on a crispy artisanal crust. Their margaritas are mouth watering too! So treat yourself! (we ate dinner here so I was not able to get the best shots so check out their gram for mouth watering visuals)
The Hive: Located in Bentonville’s award-winning 21c Museum Hotel, The Hive showcases the unique culinary identity of Arkansas. Under the direction of executive chef and Arkansas native Matthew McClure, The Hive pays tribute to the High South while articulating McClure’s approach to refined country cuisine. During his tenure at The Hive, McClure has been named the winner of FOOD + WINE The People’s Best New Chef award in the midwest region and is also a six-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef Semifinalist Nominee. The bar + lounge is the perfect place to quench your thirst, entertain important clients or grab a casual bite with friends. Plus you just might get to dine with a penguin! (Aaron from Visit Bentonville is totally living that part up in one of the pics above) And after your meal…wander around 21C and check out all the art. It’s free to the public! We did brekkie here this trip and I highly suggest the poached eggs with chorizo grits, the pancakes, and the house made granola and fruit.
Yeyo's El Alma de Mexico: This Street food is legendary with flavors from Villa Jimenez, Mexico! Yeyo's started with family. Rafel & Roman moved here with their family about 10 years ago. Helping in their dad's garden. It grew so large that they couldn't give it all away. He encouraged them to start one of the first food trucks in Bentonville and it was a huge success very quickly. About five years later they had outgrown the truck and expanded into a state of the art restaurant in 2018. They call their dad "Yeyo" so naturally they named the restaurant after him. That's where the name comes from. I love their Mexican street tacos because you get five mini corn tortillas filled with your choice of meat or veggies, cilantro, onion & one of their delish signature salsas and you can mix and match those so it gives you a really nice variety of flavors! They have incredible margaritas too and a fantastic patio.
The Preacher’s Son: In 1849, John Ruskin wrote The Seven Lamps of Architecture which spread Gothic Revivalism across the western world. In 1904, that same style is used for the First Christian Church in downtown Bentonville. In 2015: Chef Matt Cooper, son of a Methodist preacher, becomes the executive chef of this restaurant. In 2017, They proudly connect these moments to open The Preacher’s Son. Matthew’s passion for culinary art stems from its ability to bring people together. His style of cooking is rustic and traditional, keeping true to his roots in the South as well as the Pacific Northwest. His celiac condition has enabled him to passionately and creatively cook gluten-friendly. His dedication to local community is evident in his strong commitment to using local and sustainable ingredients, encouraging community building and local cooperation. Highly recommend starting with the beets in smoked cashew butter, the chicken meatballs served with Hanna grits, and the roasted cauliflower. The smoked chicken pasta might be one of the best things I have ever tasted too. Their cocktails are all soooo good! And you should visit the rooftop for a sunset view too!
The Pressroom: Pressroom is breakfast and lunch and dinner and grab and go and all day and sit down and hangout and juice and coffee and beer and wine and cocktails and music and loud and quiet and people and big and small ! Love sitting at the bar for happy hour with one of their spicy mules!
Onyx Coffee Lab: Onyx is one of the best coffee shops around - they make an extremely good latte and always offer a seasonal menu too! It’s hard to resist their Thai iced coffees in the spring! They also have really great chocolate croissants and macarons. Hey—you know I am always looking to find a bit of France wherever I go!!
The Holler: This gem is sooo super cool my friends!! Grab a delish coffee, an amazing lunch or dinner, cocktails, beer, or even play shuffleboard. This is a place where you could spend the whole day working too on computer projects!!! It’s just so inspiring with all the open light and greenery!
Louise At Thaden Field: LOUISE is a modern all-day cafe located in the Fieldhouse at Thaden Field that serves diner-style breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. LOUISE will have both indoor and outdoor seating facing the runway, providing great views of planes taking off and landing as you enjoy great food! They have named our restaurant in honor of Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden (1905-1979). Born and raised in Bentonville, she was a proud Arkansan and one of the greatest aviators of her time. It’s just one of the dreamiest places. I could sit here for hours and hours. Everything on the menu is divine too so you cannot go wrong.
Exploring Bentonville: Things to see and do
Explore The Walmart Museum. I mean when in Bentonville….you have to get a brief history of the museum that’s apart of Walmart’s history. The Walmart Museum is as much a part of Walmart’s history as the exhibits and artifacts that it houses. First opened in 1990, the museum was known as the Walmart Visitor Center. But as times changed and the term "Visitor Center" came to refer more to regional, state, and local tourism offices, it became apparent that a name change was needed. And so, today, The Walmart Museum carries on the mission it always has: to honor Walmart’s legacy, demonstrate its core values, and cast a vision of Walmart tomorrow. Visit the shop too and the cafe! It’s like traveling back in time!
The House of Songs: This was one my absolute favorite things to tour while in Bentonville. The House of Songs invites songwriters from around the world to share the universal language of music in collaborations designed to bridge cultures, build friendships and cultivate peace. Inspired by a collaboration between Troy Campbell and Poul Krebs, the House was envisioned at a writer's retreat on the Danish island Samsø, aka Song Island. In 2009, they started a one-year project to bring Danish artists to Austin. Recognizing music provides a conduit for connecting diverse cultures together, Campbell developed a plan to spread the concept to other parts of the world. The House of Songs has since sponsored collaborations in 13 countries and now operates out of Austin and Bentonville, Arkansas, where the second permanent location, The House of Songs Ozarks, opened in September 2017. House participants have had internationally charted songs, earned Grammy nominations and festival headlining slots and built lifelong bonds with musicians and fans. Envisioning international collaboration as the driving force for the future, The House of Songs continues to use music to open dialogues and build understanding and, ideally, global harmony. I even got the opportunity to hear the fabulous Jamie Lou Connolly sing at the dining table! You can hear it with your own ears on my Insta stories. Troy is such a wonderful person-when you speak to him you feel like you have known him your entire life.
Scott Family Amazeum: The Amazeum features approximately 50,000 square feet of exhibit and learning spaces inside the museum to bring learning to life and enhance family involvement, while evoking a sense of curiosity and discovery through hands-on activities. Interactive exhibits engage visitors with the land, industries and people who built the Arkansas culture and sustain it today. Exhibitions include the 3M Tinkering Hub; General Mills Lift, Load and Haul; Market Sponsored by Walmart; Nature Valley Water Amazements; Nickelodeon Play Lab; Hershey's Lab and more.In addition, approximately one acre of outdoor space accommodates year-round learning and provides a backdrop for experiments and experiences inspired by the seasons. The facility includes a venue for businesses and organizations to host gatherings, productions and special events. The Amazeum offers a variety of educational programs for a range of audiences. I am going to be giving away a ton of tickets to The Amazeum so be sure to enter here.
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Guest amenities include a restaurant on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds, a Museum Store designed by architect Marlon Blackwell, and a library featuring more than 50,000 volumes of art reference material. Sculpture and walking trails link the Museum's 120-acre park to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. Be sure to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright house too! Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced the next chapter in the development of its State of the Art exhibition, including State of the Art II debuting in early 2020 at both Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, and a documentary film on the initial exhibition airing nationally on PBS too! See…Bentonville is exploding!!
Haxton Road Studios: Haxton is a professional recording studio in Bentonville just blocks from the downtown square. Using the most advanced, digital equipment like pro tools HDX and Universal Plug-Ins, to a full rack of analog classics, a solid state logic console, and vintage instruments, they are ready ti sit down and talk about making your project a reality! Check out the services they provide here. And make sure to get your photo in the red photo booth outside! Loving the record I was gifted too!
Bentonville’s music scene is really thriving. And I am here for it!!!
S H O P: E X P L O R I N G Bentonville
Hillfolk was founded in 2018 by Bea Apple and Trisha Logan. They are providing a new experience to the region, equal parts studio and retail, and will offer a variety of classes featuring contemporary and traditional fiber arts. Their retail shop will have a curated assortment of all things textile, local, and handmade. They will also offer a thoughtful assortment of raw materials and tools for your own creations. Hillfolk will be located at 8th Street Market, surrounded by amazing neighbors, such as Brightwater Culinary School, Bike Rack Brewing, The Holler and several other local food entrepreneurs. Hillfolk is in the heart of the Market District, directly across from The Momentary, and adjacent to the Razorback Greenway.
Markham & Fitz Chocolate: They make their products from scratch and by hand, taking 8 days to turn cocoa beans into chocolate. Each product is made with a lotta love! Ohhh this chocolate is sooooo delicious!!!! Need I say more?
Bentonville Farmers Market: Fresh food & artisan crafts all around the square.
Saturdays 7:30am -1pm & Wednesdays 4-7pm
So when are you booking your weekend getaway to Bentonville Arkanas my dears?!!! There is truly something for everyone!!! Grab more ideas over at Visit Bentonville and DM with me any questions about your trip!!!!