Chuck Dovish

Host of AETN’s Exploring Arkansas

“My wife and I have several spots that are dear to us. One of them is the Tyler Bend Visitor Center, the official visitor center for the Buffalo River. We like to walk the trail that starts at the Collier Homestead and meanders to a beautiful overlook of the river. Most of the time, you can see the people floating the river from the overlook. It’s a quarter-of-a-mile walk, so it’s easy to get to. The trail goes through the woods, so each season has its own look to it. In the fall, you’ve got all the fall colors on the trees. During the winter, if you catch it during a light snowfall, it’s really pretty. In the springtime, we have all the blossoms and the wildflowers. The scene changes. We started going there when we first started dating. It’s the beauty of it that draws us back.”


Photo by Brock Dixon

Lori Sloas

Fly-fishing guide

“You know, I’m a fly-fishing guide. Even though I work on the river, I like to be—for fun—on it. My second place is water, and my third place is water, too. In the spring and summer, or whenever the weather is decent, I like to kayak Crooked Creek. A lot of times, I’ll go with my sister. One time, we were fishing together, and it was about ready to storm. I could see the lightning in the distance. I knew it was time to get out, but I then caught an 18-inch smallmouth bass, and that’s a pretty good size on Crooked Creek. We’ve always had countless adventures.”


Laura Allen

Director of the South Arkansas Arts Center

“The whole downtown scene is really cool in El Dorado—the stores, the restaurants, the Murphy Arts District. It’s so hard to pick one place. There are a lot of neat events that happen there, too. We have a really active Main Street El Dorado program. We always go, walk around and watch people. There’s this coffee shop called PJ’s. It’s great. Even though I actually just get black coffee at PJ’s, it has everything. I go there a lot. Sometimes I go with my family. I probably go there to meet somebody once a week.”


Photo by Arshia Khan

 

 

Padma Viswanathan

Writer and associate professor of English at the University of Arkansas

“It’s the little park right next to my house, which is called Mount Sequoyah Gardens. When we first moved here, it was an empty space. The city has now put in a gazebo. There are also several huge native stones. We’ve lived in this house for 12 years now, and the park has been the site of so many memories. It is very much a place that feels restorative to me. Whenever I was troubled, or whenever I needed to think about something in my writing, I’d go there. Now that we have a dog, I’ll go out there in the early morning and watch the mist rise out of the valleys. Sometimes, in the afternoon, when it’s chilly, the rocks have accumulated this heat of the sun. You can sit there and feel the warmth. It’s really magical.”

 

 

 

 


James Sullivan

Architect at AMR Architects

“For me, one of the main things I like to do when I’m not at home or at work is to walk around downtown Little Rock. Main Street mostly, I would say. I like looking at buildings and feeling the vibe of the neighborhood—all the new restaurants that have opened up and the sections of streets they’ve redone. I really like the River Market building itself, the energy of it. It’s busy, especially with the farmers’ market and all of that. On the weekends, I walk from my apartment to the River Market to pick up lunch. A few times a week, I’ll go over there to eat during my lunch break. For me, it’s really just about getting out and walking around the neighborhood that I really enjoy.”


Photo by Jeff Rose | Capture Arkansas

Dawna Parker

Manager of the Helena-West Helena Welcome Center

“My third place is kind of a big category—the Arkansas State Park trails. My favorite is the Cedar Falls Trail at Petit Jean State Park. It’s a wonderful hike down to the falls, which are, I think, one of my favorite waterfalls in Arkansas and probably the most photographed in the state. It’s beautiful down there, but it’s a steep climb back up to the top. The trailhead is really neat. It’s right behind Mather Lodge, which is a wonderful restaurant there. Of course, Petit Jean has a number of wonderful trails, but I hike Cedar Falls more than any other.”


Scotty Thurman

Assistant coach, Razorback men’s basketball

“My third place is really right on campus. It’s the Arkansas Student Union. I spend so much time during the day in the basketball facility and in meetings and different things like that. So normally, I just want to get away and go hide out for a few minutes—whether it’s to grab a bite to eat or chill and read a book or just meditate for a little while. I may listen to the students passing through. It’s nice to have a quiet moment, but also to sit back and people-watch. You know, kind of back to how it was when I was a young college student—just having those refreshing memories about being so young and so naive about life, but at the same time, looking at the things that I’ve been involved in [since].”


Photo by Wesley Hitt

Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye

Artistic director for NWA Ballet Theatre

“I spend a lot of time in the downtown Bentonville area, meeting and talking with people. But most of the time, I find that I gravitate to Pedaler’s Pub. It’s a small restaurant downtown. It’s a pretty casual place. It’s always busy, without being loud. It’s quiet enough for me to sit and think, or write, or read. People are always coming and going. I like to sit with my laptop and brainstorm ideas while people-watching. The kitchen is open, so you can see they have this big, giant wood-fired oven for their pizza. The food is fantastic, and I think it’s a pretty good representation of the eclectic community that Bentonville has.”


Photo by Sara Blancett Reeves

 

 

 

Mike Petty

Owner of The Ohio Club

“When I’m not working, when I get a chance to take a break, one of our favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to jump in one of my classic cars and cruise. We drive out to Mountain Harbor in Mount Ida and have dinner at their restaurant that overlooks the lake. It’s laid-back and quaint. They always have good food. I’ve never had a bad dish there. The staff is great, too. The restaurant is set on top of a hill, so the view is nice. It’s just a super leisurely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”

 

 

 

 


Katherine Williamson

Violinist for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

“I’ve been in Arkansas for five years, and I live [in downtown Little Rock] near the Arkansas Arts Center. Since I’ve moved downtown, I’ve probably been running there for the past four years. I run four to five times a week, and I always run the Arkansas River Trail. Sometimes, I’ll walk through the sculpture garden. It has really become kind of a nice ritual for me. I just really like the bridges. I like going across water. I always get a little sentimental when the sun is coming up or going down over the bridge. I’ll usually post something dumb on Instagram about the sun and the run. I have kind of a #ViewFromARun trend going on my feed right now.”


Joelle Storet

Artist, gallery manager and curator for Art Ventures

“I’ll have to go with First Thursdays on the Square. We still celebrate our opening receptions, but it’s also a time when the public, the gallery and other businesses get together. There’s also the farmers’ market on the Square, and in the mornings, we meet farmers and artisans from all over the area. The Fayetteville Square is the heart of the city. You meet a lot of people from all walks of life. I had my first art tent there. I think I was 21 years old, and I got to sell my art and meet people. It was the first time I got to see a community that was really invested in the arts.”


Photo by Rett Peek

 

 

 

Bijoux Pighee

Singer

“I’m a creature of habit. When people ask me, Hey, what have you been up to?, I say, ‘Work. Gym. Sleep. Repeat.’ I’m at the gym a lot, but when I’m not at the gym—and it’s no secret—I love going to South on Main. It’s fancy, but it’s still country and Southern. It’s still bacon and biscuits. I’ve been going there since it opened. I go there with friends. If it’s not with friends, it’s with family. It’s also one of the few places where I’ll eat by myself because the food is so good. They serve this double cheeseburger with bacon jam. It’s everything.”

 

 

 

 


Carolina Cruz-Neira

Director of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Emerging Analytics Center

“My job is very stressful. It’s fast-paced. I’m here, I’m there. One minute I’m talking to students and professors; the next I’m catching an airplane to go give a presentation. I have a really complicated schedule. So for me, it’s important to find a place that’s peaceful, quiet and not crowded. A place that has water. I’m originally from southern Spain, so I grew up around the ocean. For me, peaceful means water. I love going to Lake Ouachita with my family. We rent a pontoon boat and spend the day by the water, floating by the islands. We find an island where there’s nobody else and use it as our base camp. We sit down and have a picnic. We’re there from the morning until sunset.”


Photo by Ben Matthews | Capture Arkansas

Gov. Asa Hutchinson

46th governor of Arkansas

“I would have to say Mount Magazine. I could’ve mentioned a number of our state parks. I could’ve been more generic and said, My third place would be our state parks, but I’ve got a longer history with Mount Magazine. I first went there when I was a senior in high school. We went there for a leadership retreat. That was before the old lodge burned, so I’ve got a 40-year history with the place. It’s somewhere I took my boys camping when they were growing up. It’s about getting out, exploring and enjoying the hills, the trees and the beautiful vistas. But, you know, it’s also about the campfire and cooking a good breakfast and enjoying living outdoors.”


Photo by John David Pittman

 

 

Jessica DeLoach Sabin

Political analyst and strategist

“I’ve been going on walks at Two Rivers Park for years now. My now-husband, who was then my boyfriend, and I started going out there long before the bridge was even built. For the longest time, we’d take the same path over and over, and I remember when we changed our route a little bit, we said, Why didn’t we do this sooner? This place is so great. Every time you turn around, you find something new. Sometimes, when we’re walking, especially on a really clear, sunny day, if you look at the landscape, it looks like—I don’t really know how to say this without sounding like a dork—but if you’ve ever been to Italy, it looks similar to Italy! For people who go out there, the park really gives them the opportunity to experience the best of our city—and the best of our state.”

 

 

 


The Rev. Susan Sims Smith

Executive director of the Interfaith Center

“I love to go to the Arkansas House of Prayer, which is open to the public. It’s a meditation center for people of all the world’s religions, as well as people who are not involved in religion at all. It’s set aside in nature on 5 acres of woods behind St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock. The architecture of the building is very unusual and stunningly beautiful. You walk into a pre-meditation room, and the red is the color of being inside a pomegranate. You walk into the next room, and it’s a round meditation room with wood walls, a beautiful ceiling and a focal point of a round circle of earth in the middle. There are three little meditation rooms and a deck with a fountain and rocking chairs. It’s a place that I love to go to for prayer, for meditation, quiet reading or a walk. It’s a place of beauty, of stillness, of hope and silence.”


Photo by Beth Hall

Kyle Kellams

Host of KUAF’s Ozarks at Large

“It’s a part of the Razorback Greenway, the trail that goes from Walker Park to south Fayetteville. It’s very close to town, but you have to go about an eighth of a mile on this stretch of trail till you’re nowhere near the downtown. Until the trail was built, no one ever saw these parts of town, and it’s amazing because it takes you under a major highway. It takes you past meadows. It takes you past trees, past this little pocket neighborhood park. It’s almost like you’re getting an insider’s secret tour of south Fayetteville. This sounds goofy, but it’s very relaxing.”


Photo by Arshia Khan

 

 

Kayce Johnson

Co-owner of the Arkansas Yoga Collective

“I love Allsopp Park. I used to live in Hillcrest, and I would go hiking there every day. Even now, I will drive from West Little Rock to go to Allsopp quite a lot. I love that it’s in the middle of town, but you feel like you’re away from everything. In 2016, my sister passed away suddenly. The night I found out, I was walking around Hillcrest. It was late, and I saw some fireflies on the edge of Allsopp Park. I thought, Oh, that’s so beautiful. I went to check it out, and there were, seriously, thousands and thousands of fireflies. It was like [the lights] of an amusement park. I’m an outdoor enthusiast—I camp a lot. I used to go out on night hikes a lot, and I’ve never seen anything like that. That park will always have a special place in my heart.”