Small towns dot the sprawling Ozark Mountains like scattered leaves across a field. Here are a few of the villages we think you should visit. These gems, each defined by its own local color, make a fun drive for those with a wandering spirit. Though they lie only about 20 minutes apart, they afford miles of memories for a perfect fall weekend.
Friday--A Day of Discovery
For a special stay, check in to Magnolia Gardens Inn, located at 500 North Main Street in Springdale. From the Roosevelt Room with a hammered copper tub to the Willows Room with twin beds (ideal choice for those with kids), each choice will cost just $80 to $100. Quaint and tucked away, this small inn pairs nicely with a slow-paced weekend; (479) 756-5744.
For lunch, head 11 miles to the Crumpet Tea Room in nearby Rogers. The restaurant, tucked inside a historic building on First and Elm Streets downtown, serves some of the best quiches, soups, and chicken salads in the area. The real treats, however, are the homemade orange rolls (85 cents).
Once finished, stop in next door at Poor Richard's Gifts & Confectionery. Visitors discover bath and home accessories plus Arkansas memorabilia. Thirsty? Refresh yourself with one of their famous cream sodas. The old-time soda fountain with a Formica counter and retro stools has customers slurping their way back in time.
Bag one last stop before dinner by heading south to Tontitown. Here autumn rolls right up to your nose at Hanna's Candle Factory Outlet (1080 West Henry de Tonti Blvd.). Cinnamon Sticky Bun and Orange Clove Torte are scented candles that will be a pleasant reminder of your weekend.
For dinner, try the River Grille Steakhouse in Bentonville. One of the newest and nicest restaurants in town, it impresses with a stylish atmosphere and sumptuous menu. House specialties include the beef tenderloin filet ($27.95) with à la carte sides.