We move from Boston on a one year contract… and four years later we’re still here. I had never heard of Northwest Arkansas and certainly never planned to visit prior to a work opportunity. My husband and I decided to go for it, and the rest is history.
Having spent our adult lives in cities (Boston, New York, Atlanta) and enduring the commutes that accompany city life, we did not appreciate the impact moving somewhere with minimal commute would have on our lives. Instead of taking a train and two buses to work, I do a mix of remote working and a 30 minute drive. My husband generally commutes within a 3 mile radius, sprinkled with business travel. The layovers suck, but XNA is the easiest airport with affordable parking or a $30 ride share/taxi and rarely a security line. I’m proud to say we are still a one car family, because it’s easy to get around by bike.
Have I mentioned that we have two toddlers? They love hopping in the bike trailer or even going on their own bikes and scooters to the park, library, or grocery store.
Instead of shlepping around on public transit or sitting in epic traffic (I’m looking at you, Atlanta) we’ve found ourselves exercising! Prior to moving I had participated in some 5k races. Last year I ran my first marathon. The local running company Rush Running won best running store in America in 2018. They offer free speed workouts and run groups several times a week and truly welcome all.
Triathlon is a popular sport here too with opportunities to join group rides and open water swim at Beaver Lake. Want to bike but off the pavement? Mountain biking is very popular as well, with an extensive and readily accessible trail system. Want to get vertical? Climb Bentonville rock climbing gym recently opened. Want to get upside down? Get your handstand on at Yoga Story (no handstands required). The Bentonville Community Center is a new facility with a wide array of group classes, fitness equipment and pools. It is super affordable too! The Jones Center in Springdale has all of this plus an ice rink. The First Tee in Lowell has golf for kids and cost is $1 per hole, clubs included!
Town soccer fields, baseball diamond and tennis courts are always in use, and specialized gyms and training facilities keep opening (martial arts, CrossFit, Burn Bootcamp, Orange Theory, barre and spin, Pilates, pole fitness) so you’ll find your sport. Our kids are into it too. Local races often have a kids option, like the Jack Rabbit 5k and 1/2 mile bunny hop with pancakes at the end!
With all the exercising, good food is a must. Moving from a city, we were pleased to find great Indian, Thai and Vietnamese. We like tacos at Yeyos, pizza at Oven and Tap and the veggie burger at Peddlar’s Pub. Farm to Table cuisine is big here, due to the long growing season and proximity of farms. We participate in a farm share or CSA through Cobblestone Farms which also donates a lot of their produce to combat food insecurity. In the spring and summer we love going berry picking. Try the family-run Appel Farms for strawberries and Neal Family Farm for blueberries.
Do I miss Boston and city living? Of course. Am I living in a community that is great for families with plenty to do? I would have to say yes!