Unless you’ve been to Bentonville, it’s hard to put into perspective the experience of visiting Arkansas’s fastest-growing metro area. Located in the foothills of the Ozarks and bustling with business and entrepreneurship, this once sleepy little town with a population of no more than 30, today still feels like a modern-day version of the movie Pleasantville, with its white picket fences and pristine neighborhoods surrounding the heart of Bentonville’s community – its historical Downtown Square. In the 1880s the square served as a watering place for livestock. In 1901 Bentonville shipped one-half million bushels of apples from it bounty of apple trees, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau at that time accounted for the largest number of bearing apple trees of any county in the United States. Eventually the city of Bentonville expanded around its Downtown Square and today more than 45,000 call this community in Northwest Arkansas home.
There’s history in Orange Beach. We could tell as soon as we drove into this surprisingly unexpected corner of the Gulf Coast. Its location is right at the point where Alabama and Florida connect. If you’re not careful you could end up crossing state lines without even noticing. We did and for a moment it felt like we were driving right back into Florida after having bid farewell to the Sunshine State just a few minutes earlier. If you have ever driven the entire length of the Sunshine State, you will appreciate why the thought of being back in Florida after having just exited the state would be more than a little nerve-wrecking. Luckily for us, we were in fact in Alabama.