One Tank Travels: Greenbrier

Greenbrier is one of Arkansas’s gems that some people don’t know a whole lot about. Part of the fun of visiting this Ozark foothills town is getting there. It doesn’t matter if you’re coming from the south or the north, U.S. 65 is an antiquer’s/junker’s/flea marketer’s delight. Shops of all kinds are located along the route, ranging from antique malls to flea markets and junk stops. You know the old saying — one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and you’ll find plenty of treasures here. So get an early start, there’s a wealth of activities awaiting you.

After a morning, an afternoon or whole day of shopping, stop in at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant, a favorite which has been written about in Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood guide. The review states: “At the Wagon Wheel, freshly-baked, high-domed rolls envelop breakfast sandwiches of eggs and Petit Jean bacon; bread baskets come piled with white toast that is rich as cake; and tall meringue pies are Arkansas-excellent. Chocolate gravy with your morning biscuits!! Normal gravy is available, too, and it is excellent. This is a cozy sort of place where locals hang out and discuss things over coffee every morning. The tall (pie) meringues were Arkansas-excellent, and that is saying a lot, for Arkansas is one of this nation’s premier pie places.”   Mexican, Chinese, pizza and burgers are also available in town at various eateries.

Woolly Hollow State Park is next. Bring your bathing suit because Lake Bennett  has a great swimming and beach area. You can also rent canoes, fishing and pedal boats, and hydro-bikes or hike a trail. Check with park personnel because there may be an interpretive program being offered while you’re there.  Don’t miss the historic Woolly Cabin, the home of one of the area’s first settlers. The park has a nice-size campground so bring your tent or RV and stay for a while.

One of the most unusual destinations in The Natural State is Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary. It is the only internationally recognized facility that accepts any elephant regardless of species, gender or disposition. If you’re 18 or older, you can take part in the Elephant Experience Weekend. Riddle’s has a Visitors Day on the first Saturday of every month between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The $5 per person admission donation goes to support the sanctuary’s programs and mission. Children under age 2 are free. It is not open to the public except on Visitors Day.

File this information away for use in a couple of months. The Johnston Pumpkin Farm, open during October, is a great place for families. In addition to the pumpkin patch, there’s a country store, a play area, hay rides, farm animals and other activities. 

For more outdoor action you can float Cadron Creek. This central Arkansas stream offers gorgeous scenery as it flows through the Ozark foothills. You’ll need to bring your own canoe or kayak, because there aren’t any outfitters along the way. Also, please be aware that it flows through private property so be mindful and avoid trespassing unless you’ve received prior permission from the landowners.

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