Bentonville, Arkansas June 2021

            When originally determining our route north towards Indiana, where my mother lives, I thought we would go to Hot Springs, explore a little of western Arkansas and head to Branson, Missouri.  I posted a tentative route on my Facebook page and asked for suggestions.  My friend, Daniela Lankford, the librarian at Klein Oak High School, suggested we check out Bentonville and seeing Crystal Bridges Museum.  I knew the Walmart owner had lived around Bentonville, but I had never heard of Crystal Bridges Museum, so I did some investigation on her suggestion.  I’m so glad we followed her recommendation to go to the Bentonville.  We ended up staying in Bentonville five days since we did not like the previous place we were and left early. Bentonville and nearby Bella Vista were definitely a nice surprise for us. 

            Most people have heard of Sam Walton and his building of the Walmart empire.  He started out owning a Benjamin Franklin franchise in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas and that original building is now the home of the Sam Walton and Walmart Museum, which is free to the public.  It seems that the Walton family has invested in the town of Bentonville as their headquarters are located in Bentonville and their large complex of buildings includes a childcare facility, a dining hall, conference center, a gym and even an introductory mountain bike trail.  Mountain Bike Trail? Yes, that’s right!  In fact, the Walton family played a part in making Northwest Arkansas the Mountain Bike Capital of the World.

            Tom Walton, the grandson of the Sam Walton – the founder of Walmart, became a mountain bike enthusiast while attending college in Flagstaff, Arizona. Tom Walton brought his newfound love back to Northwest Arkansas and worked to make the area “the country’s best fat tire riding destinations,” according to Pike’s Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance. The Walton Family Foundation, of which Tom Walton is the Home Region Program Committee Chair, has invested heavily in the building of 260 miles of both singletrack and paved trails in Northwest Arkansas.  The Walton Family Foundation also funds the maintenance of those trails.  Now, neither Frank or I have ever been big bike riders, but some of those trails are really enticing and we are considering purchasing e-bikes for Christmas.  (Remember, we are not athletes, nor do we want to be. lol) Once we have our e-bikes, I believe we will be revisiting the Bentonville area ready to hit the trails – the easy, paved ones of course. 😊

            Another Walton, Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton, has a love for art and she led the charge in the Walton Family Foundation’s involvement in founding the Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Personally, I have grown to enjoy and appreciate art over the years, but I’m by no means a “true” lover of art or very knowledgeable.  I know about some of the early American artists due to teaching them in my American history classes for many years.  However, when going to new places, I don’t automatically think about going to art museums.  Afterall, I’ve seen the National Portrait Museum, the Louvre, the Houston Fine Arts Museum, and many smaller art museums and exhibits…  I’ve seen works by famous artists and I appreciate them, but many times the cost of attending art museums seems a little steep. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has solved that problem because they do not charge an admission.  Imagine, a free museum of American art so that everyone can see works by some of our most famous artists.  The buildings themselves are works of art / architecture and there are numerous walking trails outside featuring sculptures.  They even had a Clementine Hunter painting which I was excited to view.  Hunter, a primitive artist that lived near Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches Parish, was given an Honorary Doctorate from Northwestern State University in 1986, when I graduated. Two of my students also did a History Fair project on her that place third in the state competition.  

            To top off our visit to the Crystal Bridges American Art Museum, I was able to view my first Frank Lloyd Wright home in person.  The Walton Family Foundation purchased a Frank Lloyd Wright home, disassembled the house and reassembled it there on the grounds of the Crystal Bridges American Art Museum and it is also free.  Now, the Frank Lloyd Wright style is not my style, but I appreciate it and it was a joy to tour it in person. I found out that he is responsible for the term carport since he didn’t like garages that would house “junk.” The Walton family seems to be taking care of their hometown by providing jobs, art, culture, and mountain trails that contribute to making it a tourist destination. 

            Since our visit, I’ve urged some people I know who love to bike to visit Bentonville and I hope they will.  However, you don’t have to be a biking enthusiast to appreciate the area and enjoy your visit.  The weather was very nice when we visited in June, and we enjoyed walking some of the trails that are meant for bikes and walkers.  We highly recommend the Crystal Arts Museum and the Sam Walton Museum.  You can’t beat free!  Oh, be sure and buy an ice cream cone next door to the Sam Walton Museum, it’s good and fairly cheap!

Until Next Time,

Beth Cervenka

Come Explore with Us!

Beth Cervenka


We are Beth and Frank Cervenka, the Texas RV Couple. We sold our dream home, bought a used Class A motor home and set out to explore the US full time. We hope you'll come explore with us! We appreciate recommendations of places to visit, of course, we also love food, so those recommendations are also welcomed! We are a blended family with five "children" between us, but they are all adults now, so we can confidently leave and explore on our own. Three grandchildren bring joy to our lives. We will miss them. Beth, a retired teacher, taught English and history for 31 years before retiring in 2017. Frank worked in the oil and gas business for 34 years in Quality Assurance. They started their own remodeling company in 2016, but now just focus on selling high quality cabinets for clients in the US. Check out to see the Conestoga line of cabinets. Frank works with clients to design their kitchen or other spaces. We hope you will enjoy our adventures and misadventures and come explore with us. We appreciate your support and suggestions. Thanks, Beth and Frank