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Expect the Unexpected

This past weekend we were in Fort Smith, Arkansas--the city where I was born and where our children were born.  Even though we no longer live there we have lots and lots of extended family and friends in the area and were in town for a couple of family reunions.  

While there we just had to check out the latest project that Fort Smith is doing as part of the revitalization of the downtown riverfront area: The Unexpected Project.  This project is a celebration of street art and they have placed it beautifully all over the downtown area.  

My sister, my daughter, and I had fun on our scavenger hunt of sorts looking for all of these amazing murals!  They are just so beautiful and creative!  

The Fort is such an interesting area anyway.  It was the border to Indian Territory before Oklahoma became a state in 1907--so not that long ago really.  And it was one wild west town back then!  If you've seen any version of the movie True Grit ...well, that story takes place in Fort Smith and bordering modern-day Oklahoma and is most likely quite true to how life was at that time.  

If you're near the River Valley area of western Arkansas, a visit to Fort Smith is totally worth it!  Of course, we're biased because it's our former hometown, but there are some interesting sites to see there.   

Our top 5 things to recommend to first timers would be:
  1. the Fort Smith National Historic Site (Judge Parker's courthouse & more)
  2. the park at West End (ride a vintage carousel and farris wheel)
  3. the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center
  4. the Fort Smith Museum of History (don't miss the soda fountain!)
  5. Wild Things Farm
(After they get the US Marshal's museum built, that will be a great attraction, too!).  

Oh--and just for fun, some of our fave restaurants there are:
  • Green Papaya (Vietnamese food--best egg rolls ever!  Also, try the #18 with beef!)
  • Las Americas Too (for amazing tacos!)
  • George's (great burgers and gyros)
  • Joe's Cantina (great Tex-Mex)
  • Taliano's (classic Italian--get the manicotti!)
  • Geno's pizza-by-the-slice (dip your slice in their yummy ranch dressing!)
  • R Landry's (delicious Cajun food + live music!)
(Did I mention that we like to eat?)

(I think this is my fave mural of them all.  
It just fits the western spirit of the Fort.)


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