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Dining Vacations

Arkansas Foodie Vacations that Really "Cook"

Suggested itinerary for two-day trip to Arkansas Wine Country and Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in the Arkansas River Valley:

Dessert at the  Cliff House Inn and Restaurant

Cliff House Inn and Restaurant, Jasper

Thousands of "foodie" vacationers stop to savor Arkansas each year. Why? Because the state's award-winning wines, wine tours and Wine Country history make great foodie vacations for even the most well-traveled connoisseurs. While it is not often mentioned with the California wine countries, Arkansas was one of the first places where wine was born.

Did you know that Arkansas is the oldest and largest grape juice and wine producing state in the southern United States? If you plan on taking a food and wine-centered vacation, why not start in Arkansas? It's where foodie vacations begin!

Itineraries for Arkansas Foodie Vacations

  • Arrive in Altus and enjoy a tour at one of three wineries - Post Winery, Mount Bethel Winery, and Chateau Aux Arc - which operate in Altus. Two others are found in Wiederkehr Village: Wiederkehr Wine Cellars and Neumeier Winery. Each offers free tours and operates tasting rooms. Some offer extra amenities such as a gift shop, a restaurant, a RV park, or a bed and breakfast inn.
  • Lunch at Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. Its original hand-dug wine cellar, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the site of the Weinkeller Restaurant and features Swiss and Continental cuisine.
  • OR, have lunch at one of several restaurants on Altus's historic downtown square, such as Kelt's. The downtown square is comprised of shops containing antiques, collectibles and crafts. Enjoy the centerpiece of the square, a beautiful city park containing a coal mining memorial and a Veterans Memorial. In the late 20s and 30s, the coal mines played a very important part of the economy of Altus and a thorough recitation of the region's coal mining history can be found at the town's Heritage House Museum.
  • From Ark. 186, take Ark. 64 west, Ark. 23 south and then turn south on Ark. 309 to Paris. Preserving the viticultural past of The Natural State is the Arkansas Historic Wine Museum at Cowie Wine Cellars through winemaking artifacts and biographical histories of winemakers. It is the only wine museum in the nation dedicated to the wine history of a state and is located on Ark. 22 at Carbon City, just west of Paris.
  • Head back to the west on Ark. 22 and take Ark. 309 south to Mt. Magazine State Park, the highest point in Arkansas, rising out of the Arkansas River Valley to an elevation of 2,753 feet above mean sea level. The mountain's eight scenic overlooks have traditionally enticed visitors up the mountain. It also offers hang gliding, rappelling, camping, trails, and an extensive butterfly population. A visitor center contains exhibits and a gift shop. You can dine at the lodge's restaurant and spend the night in a lodge room or cabin.

From Mt. Magazine, take Ark. 309 south, Ark. 10 east, Ark. 27 east, and then Ark. 7 to Ark. 154 to Petit Jean Mountain and Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in the central part of The Natural State entertains and educates with food in a classroom designed specifically for culinary arts. The Saturday Chef's Series is a one-day, hands-on class for recreational cooks and is a must-see on foodie vacations in Arkansas. The classes at the Institute are very popular, as is this facility for its amenities and proximity to Petit Jean State Park.

  • Arrive at WRI, grab an apron, and start cooking if you've signed up for one of the special chef classes.
  • OR, tour the Heritage Farmstead. This demonstration garden serves as an example of a self-sufficient farm, and includes orchards and a heritage garden of indigenous plants. You can also tour the museum, browse the gift shop, or walk one of the trails.
  • Head home if you must. But if possible we strongly suggest you enjoy dinner at the Institute's River Rock Grille, and then relax at the private club (free membership) before heading to your cozy lodge room.

Suggested itinerary for a two-day trip from the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View to Winthrop Rockefeller Center on Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton:

Mountain View is home to Ozark Folk Center State Park, America's only facility that works at preserving the Ozark heritage and presenting it in an entertaining way. Here you can enjoy herbs, gardens, music, and crafts. The town is known as the "Folk Music Capital of the World," and has a thriving arts community. You can also explore the underground wonders of Blanchard Springs caverns.

  • Arrive at the Ozark Folk Center. Tour the herb garden, where you can purchase heirloom plants. There is also a village to explore and see demonstrations such as blacksmithing, and basket making. Browse the pioneer village gift shop where you can order country food gift baskets, hard to find books, and southern music. Sample country cooking at the Skillet Restaurant. Catch a music show, where you can tap your toes to traditional American mountain music. The center also offers lodge rooms. Or spend the evening on the downtown square.

From Mountain View, take Ark. 9 to Ark. 16 to U.S. 65. Follow 65 to I-40. Take the Morrilton exit, and follow Ark. 9 to Ark. 154, where you can follow the signs to WRI.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in the central part of The Natural State entertains and educates with food in a classroom designed specifically for culinary arts. The Saturday Chef's Series is a one-day, hands-on class for recreational cooks. The classes at the Institute are very popular, as is this facility for its amenities and proximity to Petit Jean State Park.

  • Arrive at WRI, grab an apron, and start cooking if you've signed up for one of the special chef classes.
  • OR, tour the Heritage Farmstead. This demonstration garden serves as an example of a self-sufficient farm, and includes orchards and a heritage garden of indigenous plants. You can also tour the museum, browse the gift shop, or walk one of the trails.
  • Head home if you must. But if possible we strongly suggest you enjoy dinner at the Institute's River Rock Grille, and then relax at the private club (free membership) before heading to your cozy lodge room.

Suggested itinerary for a two-day trip to Fayetteville and Petit Jean Mountain, where you can take cooking classes, and enjoy fine dining:

Fayetteville offers contemporary shopping and plenty of nightlife. Home to the University of Arkansas, the state's major research and flagship education institution, Fayetteville's atmosphere is friendly and diverse. It parallels the cultural diversity found on the UA campus. The Fayetteville square is known for its beautiful gardens and Farmer's Market that runs three days a week beginning in spring and ending in early autumn. Just blocks away, Dickson Street is the hip place for unique shops, dining locales, and live music venues. The Walton Arts Center brings Broadway shows, drama, and dance to the city's entertainment district. While Fayetteville is without a doubt the arts and entertainment center of Northwest Arkansas, it is also rich in Civil War history with the National and Confederate cemeteries and Headquarters House.

  • Arrive in Fayetteville and head to Nibbles Academy of Cooking for a hands-on recreational cooking class, where you can enhance your culinary skills. Each student learns hands-on preparation, and has individual working space. (You do have to sign up. See www.nibblesacademyofcooking.com for dates and details.)
  • Take your pick of fabulous restaurants for dinner. Or sample several, having a different course and beverage at each. Numerous lodging opportunities abound.

From Fayetteville head south on I-540 to I-40. Take Ark. 9 to Ark. 154 and follow the signs to Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in the central part of The Natural State entertains and educates with food in a classroom designed specifically for culinary arts. The Saturday Chef's Series is a one-day, hands-on class for recreational cooks. The classes at the Institute are very popular, as is this facility for its amenities and proximity to Petit Jean State Park.

  • Arrive at WRI, grab an apron, and start cooking if you've signed up for one of the special chef classes.
  • OR, tour the Heritage Farmstead. This demonstration garden serves as an example of a self-sufficient farm, and includes orchards and a heritage garden of indigenous plants. You can also tour the museum, browse the gift shop, or walk one of the trails.
  • Head home if you must. But if possible we strongly suggest you enjoy dinner at the Institute's River Rock Grille, and then relax at the private club (free membership) before heading to your cozy lodge room.