The University of Missouri vs. Ole Miss football game provided reason enough for an extended cultural road trip with good friends. Our circuitous route to Oxford, Mississippi went by way of Bentonville, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee
The Wednesday leg of our trip brought us to Bentonville, Ark. – the birthplace of Walmart and, most recently, Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum.
Right off the Bentonville Town Square (left) was the super cool 21C Museum Hotel (right)
21C Museum Hotel. After mid-afternoon refreshments at the hotel bar, it was off to Crystal Bridges
On the nature trail to the museum, we had a close encounter with a James Turrell installation (left) and Robert Indiana’s “Love” (right)
The museum’s American collection was expansive and significant. The works of Thiebaud, Penny, Parish, Rockwell and Dine were some of my favorites
The museum’s design was equally impressive
Thursday morning, we set off for Memphis through an epic rain storm. We arrived in Memphis just in time for the 5 p.m. March of the Ducks at the historic Peabody Hotel. TV’s Nashville heartthrob and hotel guest, Chip Esten, couldn’t “duck” my wife’s advances
Evening activities included a feast of BBQ and catfish at The Blues City Cafe followed up with some honkey tonkin’ at the Blues Hall Juke Joint. (We were definitely in the South)
We arrived at our final destination Friday afternoon. Oxford is a beautiful small southern town reminiscent of a John Grissom movie set. Home to William Faulkner, Oxford has a well known literary pedigree
Saturday was game day. As important as the game is the social spectacle of The Grove. For those of you not steeped in college football tradition, The Grove is a 10 acre park-like setting next to the Ole Miss stadium. On game days, it turns into a tent city filled with fine dining, candelabras, big screens and bourbon. The coeds are dressed to the nines, the atmosphere – genteel.
Following the Ole Miss loss to the Tigers in unseasonably frigid temperatures and another night of merriment, we awoke Sunday to the inevitable – the 8 hour drive back to KC.
We said our goodbyes to our daughter, Ali, an Ole Miss junior (right). We all realized we’re not 22 after all