The Sweet State of Arkansas

A Heartfelt Introduction To The Sweet State Of Arkansas, As Depicted By A California Native

City kids can have fun tipping cows too.


"Did you know eighty percent of people in Arkansas don't have a college degree?"

My AP Physics 2 teacher happens to be the ACT Prep, testing and advanced track teacher as well — he is in charge of getting the juniors rounded up, seeing who's performing and who isn't, and making sure they do what they're supposed to. Our physics classes, oft as not, start with some sort of pro-tip, lecture or Q&A; about college and our futures.

I've learned to expect these little factoids as gateways into a lecture, and I settle into my seat, prop my feet up and start chewing some gum. After twenty minutes of lecture, we dive into physics for the remaining eighty minutes of class. At 12:08, the bell promptly goes off, I spit out my gum, and I'm free.

Darby Haskel

I grab a bite to eat in the lunchroom, sit down with friends long enough to eat a banana and then stand up again to go. Parking spot 370 is pretty far from the side of school I'm on — my high school is built like an L, and I'm at the crux and having to walk to the end of the long part. The parking lot is full of two types of people: those that drive smaller, brighter-colored cars, and those that drive trucks. My black Chevy Silverado dwarfs the Honda parked next to it. I turn the key, and the engine growls with delight. I wait, finishing a protein bar as my phone connects to my car's Bluetooth.



The drive home is twenty-five percent suburb, seventy-five percent cow pasture. Bentonville West High School is the largest building in Centerton (or pretty close), and you can almost see it from the water towers. With Wolverine Stadium lit up at night, it's the town's very own supernova.

Darby Haskel

I turn into my neighborhood, take the winding road past the bridge, past the pond, and down my driveway. Coming through the porte-cochère, I can see a herd of cows barely a wire fence away. It's baby season, and most of the calves are in a pile sleeping in the afternoon sun. I say a quick hello to Stella, the only Portuguese water dog in Centerton, and Otto, the only black cat that I've seen almost anywhere. I give them treats, then I'm out the door, starting my truck and off to work.

I'm at the Mercy Physical Therapy Outpatient Clinic within fifteen minutes — I had to stop at a Neighborhood Market and grab myself and one of the PTs an Arizona RX Energy, the evolution of sweet tea.

The song stops.


Maybe not quite what you expected living in Arkansas was like. Believe me, this wasn't what I expected either, moving from Denver, and being from Southern California. I've lived in cities right up until junior year of high school. In Denver, there are five freeways you have to worry about. In Northwest Arkansas, you don' even take I-49 unless you're going out of state.

Northwest Arkansas is known as the home of Walmart to most anyone familiar with the region. The very first Walmart is still operational (and now doubles as a museum and the ice-cream-filled Spark Café) on the Bentonville Square. There's a Walmart for every person, dog, cat, bee, and cicada in a fifty-mile radius.

But. This place is so much more than a corporation.

Darby Haskel

It's the magnificent art museum tucked away in the hills, called Crystal Bridges and built like tortoise shells to blend into the landscape. It's Devil's Den down by Fayetteville. It's small town living with a modern twist, with cow pastures and coffee labs called Onyx snuggled up against each other. It's the Razorbacks and GO HOGS! and WOO PIG SOOIE! stickers under every Arkansas flag.

It's the Louise Thaden Field, which houses the restaurant Louise, OZ1 Flying Club, Summit Aviation FBO and flight school, and a rotating museum hangar. It's the Friday night lights, Bentonville versus Bentonville West for the conference championship. It's the hundreds of miles of mountain biking, river kayaking, lake boating and running trails that zigzag everywhere where there's nature. In the Natural State, that's a lot of places.

Darby Haskel

There's one thing Arkansans has in abundance that even Coloradans lacked: genuine pride for where they live and genuine humility about themselves. The bless-your-hearts and let-me-help-you-with-that never get old, the little comments about how lovely your outfit looks or just the small ways hospitality is displayed — that's what Arkansas is about. Sure, not everyone in the state has a college degree, but we have some of the best plumbers, electricians, stage techs and constructions workers you can find.

Small town? Yes. Rural? Yes. Hipster? Oh yeah. No, Arkansas can't be quantified, and Arkansans don't try to. Here, you live life in the moment, whether that means cow showing, track races or airplane aerobatics.

Darby Haskel

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11 Things To Do In Buckfield, Maine

They say there's not a lot to do in small town, but I can prove you wrong!

What's Buckfield? Where is it? This small town is one you've probably never heard of, but it is still a great place to visit! This small town is where former "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsy grew up. Like any other small town, it's claimed there's nothing to do there. After living in a town for so many years, you forget about all the great things it really has to offer. Here are just a few of Buckfield's most attributable places and activities.

1. Visit the tavern.

A small town favorite! Stop by Captain Bly's Tavern for drinks, delicious food, live music, karaoke nights and an all around fun environment.

2. See the garden.

Visit the community garden located behind Buckfield High School. A cool project originally started by Annette Caldwell, Gretchen Kimball and other teachers and community members, this garden gives students hands on working experience and a fun chance to learn to play, grow, build things and spend time outdoors (even in the summer time). Buckfield's community garden is one of the biggest community gardens in the state of Maine.

3. Swim at the Bennett Quarry and Orchard Pit.

With permission, you can visit these lovely and fun adventure spots. The Bennet Quarries (first picture) are known for having some great gem finds, and the Orchard Pit (second picture) is, as well, but it is more known as a great swim spot!

4. Go to the biggest mall in town.

Well, the only mall in town! Much to your surprise (I'm sure), it's not the mall where you can buy all your clothes, shoes and perfumes! Though you can buy a few "Maine" shirts and hats, you can also fill up your gas tank and get a wonderful Italian or pizza at the Buckfield Mall.

5. Travel the Railroad Bed.

Nearly a five-mile stretch going from Hebron to Sumner (with Buckfield in the middle), this is the perfect place to go four-wheeling, biking, walking, running, horseback riding and in the winter, snowmobiling!

6. Hike the Packard Trail.

A two-mile-long, five-foot-wide loop trail located off of the railroad bed. This trail is rated to be a moderately difficult hike, but it's well worth the views you see along the way.

7. Play at the "Rec field."

A small park between two baseball fields, this is the perfect kid place with slides, swings, merry-go-round and more. You can also watch a local baseball or softball game during the summer!

8. Travel the Nezinscot.

Take a canoe or kayak down the Nezinscot River for a peaceful, scenic river, stretching through several small Maine towns.

9. See the Zadoc Long Free Library.

Located in the heart of Buckfield is the public library. The Zadoc Long Library has several rows of books for all ages. It also holds weekly book clubs, children's books readings and other fun groups. Also, in front of the library is a memorial to honor veterans.

10. Visit Basin Falls

A trip to Basin falls is a great idea in the summer (probably not so child friendly) and leads to a shady, rocky falls and small pools of water for a dip on hot days!

11. Visit Roundabout Farm.

Visit the Roundabout Farm and take a mini horse carriage ride down one of their travels, or visit the various farm animals.

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.


Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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