Anniversary Weekend in NW Arkansas

My husband Anthony and I will celebrate our third wedding anniversary tomorrow. To celebrate, gerontologist we spent the weekend in Eureka Springs and Bentonville.

The drive up on Friday was perfect. IMG_5110We stopped in Conway for lunch at Tacos 4 Life — our first time at this delicious taco place that gives back to hungry kids. I had the shrimp taco, buy and seriously: it was so good. The chips and cheese dip were yummy too.

IMG_5113Since Prince just died the day before, youth health Anthony and I listened to the 80s station on XM Radio, then once we found out that they had a new ALL PRINCE station, we switched over to that. We sang and talked all the way up Pig Trail to Eureka Springs. Arkansas is really just breathtaking sometimes.

We stayed in a little cottage run by Eureka Zen. It IMG_5124was our second time staying at an Eureka Zen cottage, and once again, it didn’t disappoint. It even had a private courtyard out back with a hot tub! The inside was tastefully decorated (not too frilly as some B&Bs can be in that area), and it was walking distance to downtown’s shops and restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, Anthony and I ate well over the weekend. Here is a run-down of where we went:
Dinner Friday: Chelsea’s for pizza on the outside deck

Anthony on the top deck at Chelsea's Pizzeria
Anthony on the top deck at Chelsea’s Pizzeria

Dessert Friday: Farm to Table – FRESH
Breakfast Saturday: Mud Street Cafe — best. pancakes. ever.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie at Mud Street Cafe
Peanut Butter Cream Pie at Mud Street Cafe

Lunch Saturday: Pepe Tacos at Casa Colina (love their outside dining area)

Patio area at Pepe Tacos
Patio area at Pepe Tacos

Snack Saturday: The Magic Pan Creperie
Dinner late Saturday: Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking

For something different on Saturday, we visited a big cat rescue just outside Eureka Springs called Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Going at 1 p.m. wasn’t the best choice as most of the animals were napping in the shade hidden from the humans. But we did see several and learned their stories of being rescued. Bottom line: Don’t get a wild animal for a pet. It is cute and cuddly now, but will grow up and want to eat you. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Eureka Springs is a colorful little mountain town. You never know what surprise you’ll find around the next bend or down a stairway ally.Eureka Springs stair art

Sunday morning we went to Thorncrown Chapel for their 9:00 a.m. service. This church is an architectural beauty surrounded by nature. We sang out of hymnals. The sun beamed through the windows. It was truly a spiritual experience. Thorncrown Chapel

After church, we drove to Bentonville — straight to Crepes Paulette. We arrived at 10 minutes til 11:00 which is opening time. Good thing because there was already a pretty decent line. I gushed a bit over the owner and his sexy French accent. Luckily, this doesn’t phase Anthony. He refused my request to start talking with a French accent. Anyway, the wait was totally worth it. We each got a savory crepe AND a sweet crepe. OMG — best food I’ve eaten in a long while.

Crepes Paulette
Line at Crepes Paulette
Ham, cheese, spinach & egg crepe
Ham, cheese, spinach & egg crepe

Next we visited the 21c Museum Hotel (lots of funky modern art) and Crystal Bridges. There wasn’t time to see everything, so we just took in the new photography exhibit, The Open Road. Really good stuff.

It was a glorious weekend just being with my honey. I really am blessed to be married to such a sweetheart as Anthony K. Valley.

Arkansas Declaration of Learning

U.S. Department of State and Arkansas Announce Launch of Year Two
“Arkansas Declaration of Learning”
in Support of Secondary Education & Learning with Historical Objects & Art

Bentonville, rx AR – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces the launch of the second year of the “Arkansas Declaration of Learning” program, cost which works collaboratively with Arkansas teachers and school librarians teaching 7th-12th grade students in the fields of art, English language arts, and social studies to develop innovative curriculum that brings history to life and shares the importance of civic engagement with students.

Through this program, teachers have the opportunity to work with historic art, as well as objects from national and state partners, to develop innovative lessons for their classroom and school libraries that inspire student learning.  While Arkansas is the first state in the country to participate in this national program, all states are eligible to apply, and others are already in the pipeline.

Applications are now open and close at midnight on March 29, 2016. Stipends will be provided to selected participants.

This innovative public-private partnership, launched in 2015, is conducted by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, and the Arkansas Department of Education. To date, more than 1,700 Arkansas students have benefited from this initiative.

In 2015, a group of 28 Arkansas teachers and school librarians were selected to create dynamic teaching tools using historic objects, works of art, and primary sources from the collections of the founding partners:  the U.S. Department of State, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.

Objects selected for the program were used to tell national and state-based stories that vibrantly illustrate the many ways our nation valued civic engagement during our country’s formative years, and the importance of this continued focus today.

This program is part of a national Inter-Agency Educational Initiative that began when representatives from 13 national partnering organizations signed the “Declaration of Learning” in 2012.

This document pledged that the U.S. Department of State, the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, and 11 other national organizations would work with state and local partners to co-create learning tools for educators and students in middle and secondary education using historic art and objects from their respective collections and best practices in education.

The Diplomatic Reception Rooms are the site for many of our nation’s diplomatic meetings and events including summits, treaty negotiations, official State Luncheons, and important Presidential speeches.

Located on the top two floors of the U.S. Department of State, these 42 rooms are modeled after 18th century historic rooms and spaces in our country’s history.  The rooms house a historic museum-quality collection of more than 5,000 fine and decorative art objects valued at $150 million that tell the story of our country’s founding and formative years (1730-1840).

The rooms and their historic collections were created and are sustained through generous gifts from American donors, corporations, and foundations.

To apply to participate in the program, please visit:

For more information about the application process, please contact Zev Slurzberg at

For more information about the “Declaration of Learning” or the “Arkansas Declaration of Learning,” please contact Anne Menotti at or 202-647-1990.

Follow @StateDept using the hashtag #ShareHistoryAR.


About Crystal Bridges
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. We explore the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving outstanding works that illuminate our heritage and artistic possibilities.

Opened to the public on 11-11-11, Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation as a nonprofit charitable organization for all to enjoy. Philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton chairs the Museum’s board of directors. Since its opening, the Museum has welcomed more than two million visitors, and garnered 9,000+ membership households. Some 110,000 school children have participated in the Museum’s Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost to the schools. More than 250,000 visitors a year utilize the Museum’s 3.5 miles of walking trails.

Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Guest amenities include a restaurant on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds, Museum Store designed by architect Marlon Blackwell, and a library featuring more than 50,000 volumes of art reference material. Sculpture and walking trails link the Museum’s 120-acre park to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.

Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits, Norman Rockwell’s  Rosie the Riveter, and Andy Warhol’s Coca-Cola [3]— each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution—as well as major works by modern and contemporary American artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe, John Baldessari, and James Turrell. The permanent collection, which continues to grow through a strategic acquisition plan, is on view year-round and is enhanced by an array of temporary exhibitions.

Crystal Bridges provides year-round programming for all ages. including lectures, performances, classes, and continuing education for K-12 teachers. An award-winning app, available free for both Apple and Android devices, features audio tours of current and past exhibitions, and many of the Museum’s lectures and gallery talks are available in Crystal Bridges’ iTunes U site. A new initiative to develop high-quality distance-learning opportunities for students and teachers is underway.

Crystal Bridges also offers two research fellowship programs. The Tyson Scholars in American Art program supports full-time scholarship in the history of American art. The Reese Teacher Fellowship provides for research into the development of interdisciplinary connections between American art and core curriculum subjects of language arts, history, social studies, and the sciences. Additional information about Crystal Bridges is available online at

# # #

 Save 40% Off Your First Love With Food Box

State of the Art

I recently was invited to tour the new exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art entitled STATE OF THE ART, viagra 100mg a snapshot into what’s happening in American art today. It was beautiful and fascinating and weird, esophagitis and I loved every minute of it. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day, visit this but you really must see it for yourself to fully appreciate the breadth and depth of the work. The exhibit is open until mid January 2015.

2014-10-26 14.36.41 2014-10-26 14.35.50 2014-10-26 14.25.27 2014-10-26 14.03.24-1 2014-10-26 14.03.15 2014-10-26 14.01.10 2014-10-26 13.58.33-2 2014-10-26 13.55.08-1 2014-10-26 13.53.31 2014-10-26 13.52.43 2014-10-26 13.51.46 2014-10-26 13.47.38-2

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is located at 600 Museum Way in Bentonville, Arkansas. The exhibit is free and reservations are not required. For more information, go to their website: