This morning we headed back to downtown Little Rock, where our first event was a ride on the River Rail Electric Streetcar operated by Central Arkansas Transit Authority. We boarded at the stop across the street from the Historic Arkansas Museum. It was a real bargain at 25 cents! It took us past the Clinton Library, Central High School (where nine black students were denied entrance fifty years ago), Heifer International global headquarters, the River Market (consisting of a Farmers' Market, Market Hall, pavilions and plazas), the Convention Center and the Peabody Hotel (known for the ducks which come down the stairs every day). Across the Arkansas River in North Little Rock we saw the historic City Hall and Alltel Arena.
Heifer International is a non-profit organization and is a global leader in fighting hunger and poverty throughout the world. Their goal is to spread ideas for sustainable solutions. For more than sixty years they have provided livestock and environmentally-sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those living in poverty. Every gift of an animal provides benefits such as milk, eggs, wool or fertilizer. The recipients must agree to "pass on the gift" of offspring of their livestock to others to widen the circle. (www.heifer.org)
After the very interesting streetcar tour, we drove to the government center to get a close-up view of the Arkansas State Capitol.
Our afternoon was filled with more interesting experiences. We drove across the Arkansas River to North Little Rock to take a 1.5-hour lunch cruise on the Arkansas Queen riverboat (www.arkansasqueen.com). It sailed from the North Shore Maritime Center. Some of the sights along the way included the Clinton Center, downtown Little Rock, the Capitol and some pretty parks. We had a table in the air-conditioned lower deck. The meal included chicken a la orange, southern style green beans, wild rice blend, Caesar salad, fruit salad, dinner roll, coffee and tea and a large oatmeal raisin cookie.
After the meal the staff removed the serving table and opened up the dance floor. A man with a guitar accompanied taped music all during the tour. When he started playing some electric slide dance music, Jan just couldn't sit still any longer; she had to get up and dance!
After the cruise we visited The Old Mill (also known as Pugh Mill), a re-creation of a water-powered gristmill. It is the spot featured in the opening credits of "Gone With the Wind" and is believed to be the only structure from the film still standing. It is in a beautiful setting and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mill was built in 1933 by Justin Matthews. Mexico City artist Dionicio Rodriguez created concrete sculptures of toadstools, tree stumps and a tree branch-entwined bridge connecting the mill to the rest of the park.
Next on the agenda was a trip back downtown to get a closer look at the Pulaski Court House. We had seen it during our streetcar tour and had admired its beauty. It was built in 1889 by Max A. Orlopp, designer of "Old Red", the famous Dallas County Courthouse. The red brick Romanesque Revival structure features a 1914 Classical Revival addition with a richly-ornamented rotunda topped by a stained-glass dome. In 1979 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From here we drove to the nine-square-mile Quapaw Quarter Historic District (www.quapaw.com) to view some of the grand old homes of the neighborhood. Many of these historic homes are being restored and renovated. All the district's buildings are private homes or businesses and are not open to the public.
Our last stop of the day was at Wild Oats, where I was able to buy some BioAllers allergy medicine. I also bought two pairs of organic cotton socks to wear with my new Finn Comfort shoes. The shoes fit better with fairly thick socks and didn't make blisters on my feet.