Vidalia, LA to Little Rock, AR
Little Rock, AR - Events of Friday, June 15, 2012 to Saturday, June 16, 2012
On Friday, we left Riverview RV in Vidalia, LA and headed north. We had about a 5½-hour drive, including a stop for fuel, to Maumelle Park in Little Rock, AR. Maumelle Park is a Corps of Engineers campground located on the Arkansas River just to the northwest of the city.
The roads and pads are paved, the patios are gravel, and the widely-spaced sites have grass between them, although the grass may be a little sparse on some of the heavily-shaded sites.
The campground has water and electric hookups only. Some sites have 30-amp electric, and some have 30/50 amp. Since it was the middle of June, we wanted 50 amps. Not only is it hot in Little Rock in the summer, but the nicest sites that are along the river face southwest. That means the hot afternoon sun will beat into the front windows of the motor home. Using our sun screens and pulling the front blinds only helps a little, so running both air conditioners is a must unless you have one of the shadier sites or unless you want to pull into the site frontwards. A lot of people with motor homes pull into the riverside sites frontwards so they have a nice view of the river out the front window, but the electrical pedestal would have been right where our door was, so we backed in. Many of the riverfront sites also have shade, but we usually want a site that is at least partially open so we don't have to fuss with the tripod for our TV satellite dish.
We used the satellite view on Google Maps when we made our advance reservations to pick a site that several large trees on the door (north) side of the motor home, and an open view of the sky to the south.
One of the things we like about Maumelle Park, other than the views of the Arkansas River and the half-price camping with our America the Beautiful Senior Pass, is the fact the campground is usually nice and quiet. There is no traffic noise, there are no trains, and even when the campground is full on the weekends, it's still pretty quiet.
Our full-timing friends, Marilyn and Alan, whom we met through our blog, used to live in Little Rock. We met them at Maumelle Park in 2009, and they introduced us to several fantastic restaurants in the area.
One of the restaurants is Larry's Pizza. They have several locations around Little Rock, and one of them is only a few miles from the campground. We couldn't wait to get another taste of their pizza, so we headed there for dinner shortly after we arrived.
Larry's has a pizza buffet that is similar to CiCi's Pizza, except Larry's is more generous with their toppings, and they have a more creative menu. They have things like loaded baked potato pizza (baked potato chunks, bacon, and cheese), BLT, chicken Alfredo, Buffalo chicken pizza, and Canadian bacon with cheddar. For dessert, they have things like Boston cream, chocolate chip, cinnamon, and apple pie pizzas. The pizza was delicious, and we were stuffed when we left.
One of the joys about Maumelle Park is you can see beautiful sunrises over the river if you are up early enough. Paul, who is an early riser, caught the sunrise shown below on Saturday morning.
Little Rock has an excellent farmer's market at the downtown riverfront on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. We discovered it last year when we were in Little Rock. We were impressed by the quality and variety of the produce, so we decided to go again during this stay.
The farmer's market is part of River Market, which is a collection of about 15 permanent merchants in a large, open hall. There are foods such as breads, meats, pastries, and gourmet coffee. The market is in the Market District, which is a collection of numerous shops, boutiques and night spots. It is also adjacent to Riverfront Park with an amphitheater that hosts numerous concerts.
Last year, we went to the farmer's market on Saturday because we thought it might be easier to park downtown on the weekend, and we went on Saturday again this year. Sure enough, we got a free, on-street parking spot in almost the exact same place as last year right near one of the entrances to the market.
There is a large, open shelter with several dozen produce vendors. All the produce is very nice, and the prices are decent. We bought a couple of tomatoes, a zucchini, some cilantro and several jalepeños.
There is also a smattering of crafts as well as some new merchandise such as jewelry and T-shirts.
The weather was supposed to be hot the entire time we were scheduled to be in Little Rock, so we didn't know how much sightseeing we would do; but we were scheduled to be there for a whole week, so we knew we wouldn't just sit around the whole time. We'll tell you about the things we found to do in our next post.