History Leisure Travel

A Visit to Fort Smith, Arkansas

Remember in the old days when you would go visit your relatives, and Uncle Bob would get out his slide projector, darken the room and proceed to give you a blow-by-blow travelogue of his recent trip to ___ (fill in the blank)?

Well, at the risk of sounding like your Uncle Bob, I’m going to share just a little more of our recent trip to Arkansas, because it was super interesting.  “What?” you ask.  How can that be?  Well, because we visited our dear friends Michelle, Leon and Angelo. 

And.  Besides having a great time relaxing and catching up, we also got a super duper insider tour of the 188th Wing based at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith.

Colonel Dodroe (known to us as Leon) has been responsible for a number of improvements, both physical and with personnel leadership at the base.  One of the exciting projects he is working on is the construction of a new sensitive compartmentalized information facility (SCIF) which supports their mission of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance with remotely piloted aircraft pilots.

Commander’s Office

The facility is almost finished and we got to see every nook and cranny from the control center to the lunch room.  Of course, I couldn’t take any pictures there, but it’s impressive like something out of a Tom Cruise movie. 

Except without Tom Cruise.  

Leon’s office is unreal. I didn’t know if it would be a national secret to take a pic, but here’s his door. The Razorbacks are their logo and are everywhere – even on the mints.

Even Candy is Proud

Nice to know our country has proud Airmen taking care of us and they are being taken care of with this work environment.

Pea Ridge National Military Park

We made a quick visit to Pea Ridge battle site.  This large field is coined “The Battle that Saved Missouri for the Union.”  It’s amazing to think of these empty and peaceful fields filled with 23,000 fighting soldiers. 

Pea Ridge

If the Civil War is of interest to you, they have an online tour here.

Trail of Tears

The Pea Ridge area also memorializes another painful mark in our history – The Trail of Tears.  We visited the end of February and it was pretty chilly.  To think that most of the Cherokees opted to walk those 800 some-odd miles during the winter makes me want to cry even more.

Trail of Tears

Part of my dad’s family history includes Oklahoma Cherokees, and although I don’t know all of their story, it does feel somewhat personal.

And sad.

21 West End

I am not ending this post on a sad note!  We had a wonderful trip and our DFs treated us to a fancy and delish dinner at 21 West End.  The phyllo-wrapped brie was quite a treat and beautiful to behold.

Phyllo-Wrapped Brie

Fort Smith seems to be a pretty foody little city and people like to dine out. We had lunch at an adorable brewery and stopped for a hot drink at the Fort Smith Coffee Company in a renovated bakery district. Adorable.

They have hammock swings to relax in while you’re enjoying your beverage.

Fort Smith Coffee Company

Can I just tell you everywhere we went across that great state we met with the nicest people ever.  But I’m not moving there.

Happy to be back in the sun.  With crabbier people.  Just kidding.

Blessings on your week!