Sunday, November 25, 2007
It's that time of year when experts in their field make ten best lists of films, books, scandals, cheesecake recipes. I hate to be left out of anything unless exercise is involved, so now that I'm unpacked in Massachusetts and it's really, really cold out, here's my ten best list for the Little Rock area of Arkansas:
1. The Big Damn Bridge--spans the Arkansas River between North Little Rock and Little Rock. It's both a bike and walking trail and the view is amazing.
2. The Market Street Cinema--a labor of love, Market Street although a commercial operation, it's a 5 screen theater that shows independent films, off beat gems, and helps local talent. On Mondays you get free popcorn, if you bring your own bowl.
3. Silvek's bakery--notable because it's inside a Kroger store. Right next to not so good Kroger bread and day-glo seasonal cupcakes. There's no better bread around and the cakes are killer.
4. Colonial Wine and Spirit Shop--owned by consummate professionals, Clark Trim and Henrik Thorstrup. These guys are world traveled and totally unpretentious. They help people who are lost in the World of What Should I Buy? What with my terribly unrefined palate, and all, I never missed a wine-tasting they held.
5. Little Rock supports two public radio stations, one for music and one for talk. Some of their programming is familiar and some is unique, including Arkansongs, put together by the lead singer of the Bug Tussle Boys. Is that not a great name for a blues group?
6. The Clinton Presidential Library--which does indeed look like an enormous double-wide trailer, Library but it's cantilevered over the river, green in its carbon footprint, and hosts a load of interesting material from the 90s, when I was much happier with the residents of the White House.
7. The Clinton Library offshoot, The Clinton School of Public Service. The man stood for some important national values, that got lost in the jokes, and this legacy provides a degree program for people who are not numbed by cynicism. The School Their speakers are top notch, varied by interests, and stand all over the political spectrum. The biggest foo-fah erupted when Richard Dawkins spoke.
8. Lily's Dim Sum and Then Some is a PanAsian place in a strip mall. It's friendly and fascinating. The owners are very community oriented, and one, Kathy Webb, won a race for a state representative office. The political scene is not easy there, and as they say in the south, "Bless her heart" for taking on the old boys' club.
9. The Heifer Project International has its headquarters in Little Rock, right close to the Library, so you can be efficient in your planning. Heifer It's possible that our grandchildren did not exactly appreciate receiving a card for Christmas noting that their gifts were a goat, a cow, and a flock of chickens sent to help a Third World family become more self sufficient.
10. The Farmer's Market in season at the River Market space. There are no better peaches. And I lived in Georgia for five years.
Every place has wonderful people and I will miss the ones I got close to, in the neighborhood and at the University of Central Arkansas in nearby Conway.