I became an adult in Little Rock. I had just graduated from college and got my very first apartment that I shared with a Jazzercise instructor I knew from school. We lived in a beautiful but run down historic district called the Quapaw Quarter. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
I'm back and Colby joins me tonight. I have been walking around and reminiscing the follies of youth: ecstatic crushes on str8 southern proto-hipsters, getting consoled by southern glamazon drag queens as I cried in the first of many gay bars that didn't meet my expectations, and remembering why there is nothing better than Southern brunch.
So for any would be travelers to the city of "Travelers," here's my top ten list for what to do, where to be seen and what to eat in Petit Rouche (that's Little Rock in French).
1. Count the syllables in basic sentences like, "oh my gawd, y'all." There are more than any diction coach could imagine.
2. Appreciate the architecture. Famous as the facade of the Sugarbaker design firm in Designing Women, Villa Marie is one of many brilliantly maintained homes in the city's Quapaw Quarter.
3. Eat brunch at a local farm to table where the 20 something employees have more tattoos than graduate degrees and whisper to friends behind your back to "check out that aging hipster." I recommend The Root.
4. See the Governor's Mansion. It's not a manufactured home anymore.
5. Go to a drag show. Before RuPaul's Drag Race, there was only one affordable place to see an entertaining drag queen outside of Puerto Rico and it was called The South.
6. Little Rock is like the 90s. Drinks are still cheap and budgets are still balanced. Reminisce at the bars on the River Market as you head to the Clinton Library.
7. The accessible and expanded trolley offers the nostalgia of the South without the nostalgia of Jim Crow laws.
8. Central High has a visitors center so you can bone up on the history of race relations in America.
9. Get outside. Arkansas is known as the Natural State for 1,001 reasons. There's more natural beauty here than I can mention.
10. The Clinton School of Public Service, like Bill himself, is pretty impressive. You're bound to overhear informed and impassioned debates on international development even if you don't attend a free lecture at the school's Kumpuris Lecture Series.