Create My Escape: Scott and Keo

The Arkansas Escape I created takes you to what is probably my favorite place in visit in Central Arkansas: the small neighboring communities of Scott and Keo.

Take off for a day of shopping and “parking” by traveling southeast via I-40, I-440 and U.S. 165 toward the small farming community of Scott where the feel of “Old South” prevails. Detour off U.S. 165 onto Alexander Road (by Scott School) where the Scott Plantation Settlement is located. Quite a selection of historic buildings from the surrounding area has been assembled here to depict a typical Arkansas plantation. It is open to the public from the third Saturday in March through the third Sunday in November for self-guided, outdoor walking tours. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday. Large group tours through the inside of the various buildings can be arranged by reservation only; 501-351-5737. Turn right onto Walkers Corner Road which takes you back to U.S. 165. Make a right and you’ll see Hardin Farms and Market Too! Here you can buy freshly grown produce grown on the Hardin family farm, meat and cheeses, jams jellies and gifts.

Turn left out of the shop’s parking lot and you’ll soon see the Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park (Ark. 161), housed in the old Dortch Plantation General Store. Exhibits and programs interpret the history of cotton agriculture from 1836 through World War II when agricultural practices quickly became mechanized. They depict how cotton was grown, picked and processed. The restored 1920s gin shows the ginning and bailing process, including full-sized mules and wagon on the scales. Also on the property are Seed Warehouse #5 and new exhibits which tell the story of the Robert L. Dortch’s seed business.

Leave the museum and go south on Ark. 161 for a short distance until you encounter an Arkansas Legend – Cotham’s Country Store and Restaurant – “Where the Elite Meet to Eat.” An old general store known for its famous “hubcap burger,” it also serves Southern fried catfish, onion rings, fried green tomatoes, fried pies, and daily plate lunch specials. There’s also a double hubcap burger if you’re REALLY hungry.

After lunch continue south on U.S. 165 where you’ll see Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. This National Historic Landmark preserves and interprets the state’s tallest Native American mounds and includes a visitor center with exhibits, audio visual theater and archeological research lab. Park interpreters lead site tours along two trails: the ¾-mile barrier-free trail and the 1.6 mile turf trail.

If you’re a serious shopper, head straight to the booming metropolis of Keo (population 256). The “downtown” commercial district is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find Morris Antiques, one of the South’s largest dealers with eight large buildings covering 60,000-square feet. You’ll find everything from massive pieces of furniture and paintings to glassware and china. You’ll also see some very unusual pieces. In addition to Morris’, other shops include the Old Gin Antiques, Goodbar’s Antique Lamps, The Nut House, and Lisa’s of Keo. After all the shopping, drop in at Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets, housed in an old apothecary shop, before heading back to Little Rock. Decadent homemade desserts are the star attraction here, whether it’s a piece of pie or cake, or a wonderful ice cream concoction. Other selections on the menu are excellent as well. Charlotte’s pies are so well-known, Southern Living Magazine named hers the best coconut pie in the South.

Take a look at a map of my escape  then create your own.



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