I can’t believe it’s been a year since we bought our Fayetteville home and moved from Dallas. Our one year anniversary calls for a special post, a happy anniversary post! Rather than talk about my honeymoon year in review (which you regular readers already know), I thought I’d summarize the top ten things I love about living in Fayetteville. I think you’ll find my list to include a few surprises. Some of my favorite reasons were surprises even to me.
From the obvious to the obscure and in no particular order.
1. History. If I devoted an entire year to Northwest Arkansas history, I doubt I’d cover it all. There are several notable Civil War battlefields and a multitude of historical markers. The Butterfield Trail and Trail of Tears cuts through our neighborhood.
2. Vibrant Art & Writing Community. I’m not kidding when I say the area art community includes something to do nearly EverySingleDay. Plays, live concerts, book store and library events, improv, art shows and writing classes, live music at Farmer’s Market. Experience Fayetteville is a great source for all things Fayetteville. Seriously, if you live here and find yourself saying, I’m bored…it’s your own fault.
3. Local Food. I love Fayetteville’s overall emphasis on locally grown food from restaurants such as The Farmer’s Table Cafe to Ozark Natural Foods and our fabulous Farmer’s Market. Even the large grocery stores like Harp’s has a section of locally grown Arkansas fruit and vegetables. Amidst all this localness, there are lots of cool foodie events such as “Chefs in the Garden” coming up at the Botanical Gardens.
4. Meticulous Recycling Program. The recycling program is stellar. Really. I am in awe of the efficiency and the way the workmen hand sort at the curb. Regular weekly trash pickup is a pay-as-you-throw system, and I love that there is no regular monthly bulk trash pickup (like in Dallas). You know what this means? Curbs are always clean (aka no nasty couches and heaping piles of rubbish spilling onto the sidewalk during the last week of the month.) Nice! AND, the city makes it easy to drop recycling off at multiple, convenient locations. I can’t say enough about this. If Fayetteville hasn’t won some sort of award for its recycling program, I’d like to nominate it.
5. Sporting Events and Outdoor Activities. Living in a college town is a fun thing, especially if the team is one you support. The energy flows year-round, and now that students have returned to campus, the excitement of that approaching first football game is palpable. In addition to SEC sports, Northwest Arkansas boasts a AA minor league baseball team, an annual regional LPGA golf event, hiking and biking trails, great yoga classes [including free classes in the park(s)], and more. There’s even Roller Derby within walking distance of our house.
6. Natural Beauty. This should probably be at the top of the list. With hiking and biking trails and stunning Ozark vistas only steps from my front yard, I’m on vacation every day.
7. Educational Opportunities. From the University of Arkansas only minutes away to free classes at the Fayetteville Public Library, educational opportunities are available for those interested. Olli at U of A offers continuing education in a variety of interesting topics. Nadine Baum is the go-to place for art classes. Ozark Natural Foods and Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks often provide classes on cooking and gardening topics. I could go on.
8. Gardening. The growing/blooming seasons are kinder and gentler, and the variety of plant choices is greater. And one of the coolest things of all—Northwest Arkansas is the primary migration path for many birds, butterflies and other species. Check out this interesting migration map where you can post your sighting of different animals and insects. (Fun for kids and adults alike!)
9. Honest to Goodness Seasons. I love the change of seasons and find each inspirational in its own right.
10. Everything is Easy. Most all these things I mention—football games, classes, Farmer’s market, trails—are easy to get to. Walkable, even. There’s no horrendous traffic and lots of free parking during the day in much of the city. Crime? I know there’s crime everywhere, but can I tell you how wonderful it is to not have anything stolen from our front porch or have our garage tagged with gang symbols? (#knockonwood)
11. Bonus: Fayetteville really does have a “Keep Fayetteville Funky” vibe with cute shops, cool architecture, and diverse people. What’s not to love?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
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Harry Connick, Jr., It Had to be You