Upper Delta Itinerary A:
Lighting Up for the Holidays
We’re lighting up for the season in northeast Arkansas! Plan a weekend trip this holiday season to the northern tip of the Arkansas Delta region.
- This weekend trip starts in Blytheville, home of the 22nd annual Lights of the Delta. Get there earlier in the day and hungry…Blytheville is also home to six (yes, SIX!) great barbecue joints – the Dixie Pig, the Kreme Kastle, Penn’s, Benny Bob’s, Johnny’s and Yank’s. Check out the great Meet the Locals video on our YouTube page here.
- As the sun sets, make your way to Lights of the Delta, one of the Mid-South’s largest holiday lighting festival. Drive your way along a lighted path featuring over 6 million lights and over 45 motion displays on 40 acres. Lights of the Delta is open every night beginning at 5:30 from Nov. 21-Dec. 27. You can check out their website at www.LightsoftheDelta.com.
- After overnighting in Blytheville, take the second day of the trip to explore Arkansas’s northeastern area. Start the day off by making your way to Dyess and one of The Natural State’s newest attractions, Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash. J.R. Cash was three years old when he moved with his family to Dyess. He grew up there. He went to church there. He suffered his first major loss there, when his beloved brother Jack died following a sawmill accident in 1944. He would later say that many of his early songs, like “Five Feet High and Rising,” were inspired by his time in Dyess.
In 1950, Johnny left Dyess to join the Air Force. Within a matter of years, he would eventually become one of the most influential musicians in the world. Arkansas State University purchased the home and began work on restoring the house as it would’ve been the day the Cash family first saw it. The administration building was the centerpiece for one of the nation’s agricultural resettlement colonies under the New Deal. The Cash home is furnished as it appeared when the Cash family lived there, while the Administration Building include exhibits about the colony and the impact of Dyess on Cash and his music. The project is a joint effort between the City of Dyess and Arkansas State University. Other buildings will be restored or recreated in the future.
- Before heading home, you’ll need a great lunch. Make your way to Wilson and the Wilson Café. Chef Joe Cartwright and his staff offer a variety of Southern favorites with a twist. After lunch, why not take a short trip to San Souci Landing for an unforgettable view of the Mighty Mississippi River? It’s just a short drive northeast on Arkansas’s section of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway. You’ll be glad you did! Or, if you’re a history buff, stop in at Hampson Archeological Museum State Park in Wilson. The park exhibits a nationally renowned collection from the Nodena site, a 15-acre palisaded village that once thrived along the Mississippi River.