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City Guide: What to Do in Bentonville

Welcome to Airship's community.

by Missie Rodgers | February 11, 2021

Airship’s mission revolves around making a place where authentic community thrives. With so many folks coming to Bentonville for our trails, art, and culinary scene, we’re happy to be known as the local hangout, because those are the places we seek out when we travel. As more people become attracted to this area, we’re looking forward to serving them in a way that feels comfortable and true to who we are.

We’ve become a launching pad of sorts for local entrepreneurs by cultivating community around new ideas and making space for outside businesses inside the walls of our own. Although we love all things coffee, we love people the most. Bentonville continues to show up for us in ways that seem unreal at times. Here’s our attempt to pay it forward and offer a sneak peek into some of our favorite local spots.

Two Friends Books

234 SW 7th Street, Suite 106

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 am

This bookshop started as a pop-up in our 5th Street location and they’ve since spread their literary wings into the cutest, coziest brick and mortar. They have the best curated selection of books in our region, hands down.

When Monica and Rachel (two friends, get it?) had their tiny shop inside our coffee bar, I got to make their cappuccinos and now when I visit their brick and mortar location, they make them for me — a full circle kind of feeling.

In addition to a solid menu of books, they also offer a great selection of natural wines, local beer, and some delicious sammies. What more could you want? I’m anxiously awaiting warm weather so I can read a good book and have a glass of wine on their parklet patio.

@twofriendsbooks

Olly Makes Bakery

220 North Main Street

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open Wednesday to Saturday 8:00 am

Blending in with the old, beautiful homes off the square is Olly Makes. They converted an old Victorian home into a bakery. Walking into what feels like someone’s living room, I’m always met with warm service. (I’m a sucker for some quality customer service.)

They have a huge glass pastry case that’s always full of fresh, unique pastries — all of which are made gluten free or vegan (or both!). Keeping with the theme of the space, each room holds cozy corners fit with antique sofas, gold framed paintings, and colorful rugs. It’s hard to feel anything but laid back with all the homey vibes. Always looking forward to a weekend that I can walk over and stay a while.

@ollymakesbakery

Hillfolk Textile Studio + Shop

801 SE 8th Street, Suite 49

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 am; Open Sunday 12:00 pm

Hillfolk is the place I go when I’m looking to find a gift for pretty much anyone. You can find candles, oils, comfy socks, honestly anything. This place makes you want to learn all the creative trades and sets you up with all the tools to do it.

With the exception of 2020 (of course), Hillfolk held workshops for creatives to learn more skills together. Workshops including indigo dying, clothes mending, embroidery, and so many other neat things that I’m looking forward to joining, once workshops are a thing again.

Hillfolk uses their space to highlight local artists and I imagine that during a time where tradeshows are almost non-existent, offering that spotlight is more valuable than it's ever been. Did I mention they’re pretty much in Airship’s backyard? #winning.

@hillfolkshop

Compton Gardens and Conference Center

312 North Main Street

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open Monday to Friday 9:00 am

A great place to take a walk and clear your head when you’re having one of those days. When I was a kid, some of my classes were at Compton Gardens, sitting at the base of the native trees.

The gardens were named after the late Dr. Neil Compton. Among other conservation work, he helped protect the beloved Buffalo National River (America’s first designated “National River”) from being dammed. The fact that it winds through the middle of town makes it extremely accessible for anyone needing to escape to the trees.

I consider it the “scenic route” when I’m on a walk from Airship to the square. I think it has become something even better than Dr. Compton could have hoped for.

@comptongardensnwa

Oven & Tap

215 South Main Street #3

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 am

My go-to spot for dinner and drinks with friends. I’ve never seen a dish come out of their custom built wood-burning oven that looked less than incredible. There’s a lot to love at Oven & Tap, but my favorite (and apparently the rest of the city's, too) would have to be the Spicy Joe — their classic Sweet Joe with fontina cheese, Pepperoni, Joe’s Honey, but I like to add a little heat with jalapenos.

Few people are as good at highlighting simple, fresh ingredients. Who knew I could be so obsessed with a beet salad? Don’t get me started on their brussel sprouts. Even their fried chicken has a cult following and if you ever get the chance to try it, you’ll understand why. Their staff frequents our coffee bar and it’s been fun to be able to serve each other. O&T is definitely a Bentonville staple.

@ovenandtap

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

600 Museum Way

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am; Monday, Wednesday to Friday 11:00 am

In addition to the incredible trail systems and hospitality, Bentonville’s art scene leads the region in variety and accessibility. This is a place our friends want to see when they’re in town, but also the place where it’s easy to spend hours in alone.

Crystal Bridges was opened in 2005 as a charitable organization for all to enjoy by philanthropist, Alice Walton. Sometimes I forget how special it is that this museum as well as its satellite contemporary art space, The Momentary, is free to everyone. That’s huge!

The building was designed by world renowned architect, Moshe Safdie, in a way that would highlight the 120 acre park that houses it. Beauty abounds there.

@crystalbridgesmuseum

5th Street Studio

1000 Southeast 5th Street, Suite H

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday 10:00 am

This ceramic studio is adjacent to our coffee bar and we love the close proximity. Not only because there’s a door leading to the studio from our coffee bar (convenient, right?), but because 5th Street’s owner, Rainy Hopwood, was formerly Airship’s barista trainer. It’s fun to move from working the bar together to throwing clay together in the same day.

She decided to follow her creative passion and make a place for ceramic artists to use the kiln, wheels, and all the other tools she provides for new and seasoned artists. Rainy recently made a new ceramic set for our cafe and we can’t stop taking pictures of the baby cappuccinos in the perfect handmade mugs.

@fifthstreetstudio

Coler Mountain Bike Preserve

11852-11898 Peach Orchard Road

Bentonville, Arkansas 72712

Open 24 hours

Coler is a 300-acre park with mountain bike trails, our open-air café, camping, and a general community hangout in the woods. Arkansas has pretty mild seasons, so even in January you can find people hanging out in the middle of the park. This is where Airship’s second location is hidden, in an area called The Homestead.

What makes it feel special is that it’s only accessible by trail. Everyone who’s at The Homestead has walked or ridden a mile to be there. That’s pretty cool. It has everything you would need for a fun day trip or a whole weekend spent in the park. Start your day with morning coffee on our swings or finish it with a beer on the rooftop. I find myself there often after a shift.

@colermountainbikepreserve