SENIOR TRAVEL TO LITTLE ROCKMay 15th, 2012 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel
Little Rock is Not So Little
Little Rock, Arkansas is not so little, as senior visitors will learn, in fact it’s the capital and the largest city of the state. So where did Little Rock get its name? Located near the geographic center of Arkansas, Little Rock derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called la Petite Roche (French: “the little rock”). The “little rock” was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing.
The “little rock” is across the river from “big rock”, a large bluff at the edge of the river, which was once used as a rock quarry. This dates all the way back to 1722 when French explorer Jean-Baptiste Benard de la Harpe landed near the small rock formation on the south bank of the river. Established in 1814, Little Rock became the state capital in 1836 and boomed as the commercial and administrative center of a growing state.
Senior visitors and new residents will appreciate the bonus that Little Rock is one of the most affordable cities in the United States. Little Rock offers meals, lodging and transportation for all budgets and tastes.
The Bill Clinton Library
Little Rock is the geographical, political, and financial center of Arkansas and is at the meeting point of the state’s two major regions, the northwestern hills and the eastern Delta. The town today has a relaxed, open feel, a far cry from the dramatic time of 1957. You will want to take in the city’s newest attraction, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
Downtown Little Rock Attractive to Seniors
Downtown LR resembles a friendly small town with some dynamic big-city characteristics, and it’s as multicultural as Arkansas gets. The burgeoning River Market district brings a level of sophistication to the staid city center. Across the river, North Little Rock, a growing enclave of shops and restaurants, stretches alongside the extensive riverfront park. Riverfest brings the arts, music, and fun to downtown Little Rock over the course of a long weekend at the end of May. The annual festival takes place on both sides of the river, giving you the chance to double your fun and enjoy one of the biggest events in Arkansas.
The historic River Market area has been part of the rebirth that has been taking place on Little Rock’s riverfront over the past decade. The Market offers all types of fresh local produce on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Perhaps the most famous of the area’s establishments is Juanita’s, a favorite of President Clinton.
If you are in the River Market area, there are plenty of choices. Stop at Big on Tokyo and try the Japanese Hibachi-grilled lunch special. You can also take home ingredients from the restaurant’s grocery store and try a little Japanese cooking yourself. For casual dining, walk up to the counter at Shaka Smoke Lodge , a popular place for breakfast among locals. For a fun atmosphere and a mixed-bag menu, try Chit’s. A popular after-work hot spot, it is definitely not the kind of place where you are expected to wear a coat and tie.
A Guide and Much More for Senior Visitors
About.com is always a great site for searching for attractions as well as events and things to see and do. In the area you will want to take in the Old State House. The current Capitol Building is downtown as well. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International and the famous Peabody ducks all call this area home.
If you’re in to local history, the Historic Arkansas Museum is located here as well. You can even stroll through Riverfront Park to La Petit Roche Plaza and see the little rock Little Rock is named after. Downtown also hosts the Arkansas Arts Center and the MacArthur Museum of Military History. If you like driving through a university campus as my wife and do, the U of LR has a beautiful campus.
Fodors has a blog of folks who have experienced Little Rock with lots of advice and suggestions for seniors.
Dubbed “The Natural State,” Arkansas features first-class parks and recreation areas. Outdoor enthusiasts will find more activities than anyone could hope to fit into one vacation. Frommers adds to the historic city with more to see and do… a good guide with maps, tours, and great shots will entice seniors to take in a great city. Enjoy Little Rock. jeb