Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Little Rock Arkansas, Don't Underestimate this Capitol City

We walked to North Little Rock on the Big Dam Bridge.
Fred and I enjoyed a stopover in Little Rock on our way to Memphis.  We chose Little Rock as a 2 night stopping point because it was about half way between Texarkana and Memphis. We didn't have high expectations but figured we could find something to do in the area.
We were very pleasantly surprised.   Little Rock is a vibrant city with a thriving waterfront business district.  In our short 1 day visit we saw a variety of restaurant cuisines, multi-use public places and evidence of an active art community.

Count Casmir Pulaski

Fred and I were looking for a way to spend some time outdoors so our first stop was the Murray Dam and it's "Big Dam Bridge".  The bridge is a pedestrian/bicycle span across the Arkansas River that joins the communities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. It is plenty wide for both forms of traffic to pass without incident or harsh words, unlike other multi-use public spaces where walkers and cyclists have to share.   I've walked the Brooklyn Bridge...It's not pretty if you step in the bike lane.
The bridge approach is by long sweeping ramps that make it easy to get to the top while enjoying  views of the river valley and surrounding hills. We identified Pinnacle Peak in the distance and enjoyed watching fishermen keeping their boats steady in the turbulent water. 

Big Dam bridge is in Pulaski County...note the banners.
We came upon references to Count Casmir Pulaski again.  The banners on the bridge have his image on them because Little Rock is in Pulaski County.   We could find no reference to the Polish soldiers having a specific connection to Arkansas.  There sure are a lot of places named for him.   We keep running into this Revolutionary War hero who saved the life of George Washington.   Fred was laughing because we recognized the picture of the bust of him before even seeing his name.  This guy is a Revolutionary War era Rock Star.

Pinnacle Peak from the big dam bridge.
The bridge walk was a great way to spend the morning.  The walk from the parking lot across the bridge and back was a 2 1/2 mile stroll.

Junction Bridge in downtown Little Rock with Verizon Arena and the USS Razorback on the North bank.
Our next stop was downtown to explore the River Market area of Little Rock.   The riverfront area is a large park with walking paths, play areas including one with musical instruments and a splash pad for children, an art instillation and the Junction Bridge Pedestrian Walkway.  Junction Bridge is a former Railroad bridge across the Arkansas River. It currently connects the city of Little Rock to North Little Rock and the Verizon Arena where basketball, hockey and arena football are played.  The North Little Rock Riverfront is also home to the USS Razorback a WW2 era submarine which is now a floating museum.

Renewal Ritual
Kingfisher and Infinity
My favorite part of the River Market was the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden a 70 piece art exhibit that features small to medium sized pieces in a garden setting. Paved paths meander through terraced gardens  that seem like viewing room for the art pieces.  It was a joy to walk through them and to spend some time surrounded by beautiful things.

Nautilaus, a riverfront sculpture
Little Rock is a great place to visit. We could have stayed busy for several more days.  I would have liked to see Central High School and the National Parks exhibit there as well as the Old Mill a preserved movie set from Gone With the Wind. Next time we are climbing Pinnacle Peak too!

Ghost at the River, a tribute of the Trail of Tears.
To see more photos of our trip to Little Rock visit our Flickr Album.

Big Dam Bridge
7600 Rebsamen Park Rd 
Little Rock, AR

River Market District 
400 President Clinton Ave #200
Little Rock, AR 72201

Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden
at the River Market...located north of the Marriott and east toward the River Market on President Clinton Avenue


  1. I love your reference to Pulaski being a rock star, Bonnie! They celebrate him in Grand Rapids, Michigan each fall with Pulaski Days.

    1. I like that idea. We have a Pulaski in New York too. It is on Lake Ontario. We used to go camping there every year with a lot of Fred's family.