In the great state of Arkansas, rivers and wine flow through the Ozark Mountains, greeting visitors day in and day out. A state filled with plenty of fishing, floating and other opportunities for recreational fun, the Natural State isn’t one to miss. Being the first place diamonds were discovered back in 1906, the state also has caverns and caves worth exploring. You can even mine for your own diamonds! Charming mountain towns dot the area and offer uncommon shopping and dining experiences.
We all know how everybody loves a good cheese dog, but does anybody know where they originated from? Arkansas! In 1956 at the Finkbeiner Meat Packing Company, somebody had the bright idea to insert cheese into the center of a hot dog. And just like that, Cheese Dogs were born. Created under the mentorship of the meat maestro himself, Oscar Mayer, the Finkbeiner family quickly became Arkansas’s largest meatpackers.
Did you know that Arkansas is famous for its diamonds? Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only active diamond mine in America. In 1906, John Huddlestone found 2 odd crystals at his farm near Murfreesboro. He then took them to a jeweler and found that they were diamonds. Huddlestone sold an option on the farm to a group of investors. Soon after that there was a diamond rush as people came searching for their fortunes. It became a tourist attraction and over the years the diamond mine passed through a few hands before Crater of Diamonds was sold to the State of Arkansas. The diamonds of Arkansas are special for being the first outside of South Africa found outside of their volcanic source. Today, Crater of Diamonds functions primarily as a tourist attraction where visitors can dig for their own jewels. In fact, some of the world’s largest diamonds have been found there. In 1990, the world’s first perfect diamond was found by Shirley Strawn. The park purchased it and the Strawn-Wagner diamond is on display there.
Another thing we’re all very familiar with, Wal-Mart, a chain of superstores that can be found all over the United States and 27 other countries. The first store of 11,000 opened their doors for the first time in Rogers, AK back in 1962. Opened by Sam Walton after he successfully ran a small dime store, Wal-Mart quickly took the nation by storm. The company went public in 1970, and the proceeds financed a steady expansion of the business.
47 hot springs flow from Hot Springs Mountain, at an average temperature of 143 degrees. Because the Hot Spring water is said to be therapeutic for ailments, many famous faces have visited Hot Springs over the years, including Franklin. D Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and Al Capone. The beloved Hot Springs National Park has been drawing in visitors for over hundreds of years and boasts not only numerous spots to sit and soak, but great hiking and camping as well.
In the small town of Dover, near the Ozark mountains a strange phenomenon occurs known as the Dover Lights. As far back as the 1800s, people have reported seeing strange colored lights in the mountains and they have become a local legend. There are many stories about where the lights come from. One is that the valley is haunted by coal miners who met a tragic end. Another is that they are from Spanish Conquistadors protecting buried treasure. Then there are the stories of them from being Native American hauntings. No matter where they come from, the people there have passed the legends on and others flock there for a chance to see them.