A look at Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith is where the new south meets the west. Years ago this was the Wild West. Today, it translates into rides, entertainment attractions, events, shopping, dining, and music that reflect this early frontier heritage.

By day, Fort Smith has year-round attractions to fill a week with fascinating sights, tours, and a close-up look at the Old West. Start your tour of this town at Miss Laura’s and then head to the National Historic Site, it’s only a few blocks away, and it’s filled with exhibits that bring to life America’s colorful and sometimes rowdy frontier heritage. To be honest, it takes a day to see it all. Across the street is the Fort Smith Museum of History. Besides its imaginative exhibits with a self-guided recorded tour, the museum has an old-time soda fountain right out of the 1920s.

Then one stop away on the streetcar line is the Trolley Museum and car barn. If you are interested in railroad nostalgia, they have a steam locomotive and several antique railroad cars there. Take a stroll through the 22 square blocks Belle Grove historic district. Most days you can tour the majestic old Clayton House, the Fort Smith Art Center, and the Darby Museum – the childhood home of World War two hero, General William O. Darby who started the Army Rangers.

Looking for both nostalgia and breathtaking scenery, take a train trip into the Ozarks aboard the antique coaches of the ANM railroad. It’s a spectacular ride through tunnels and over tall trestles. It’s one of the longest railroad excursion trips available. Nearby are wineries, living history museums, casinos, and a host of unique live entertainment venues. There is several Civil War battlefield national parks close by and the unbelievable beauty of the nearby Ozark, Boston, Washington, and Kiamichi mountains will take your breath away.

By night, Fort Smith has music to meet every taste, from Blue’s to Bach and from Hard Rock to bluegrass. Outdoor music happens almost every night from April to October and for a hearty laugh and some surprisingly good singing, Miss Laura’s players will stage a performance of the Medicine Show on hanging day. Be sure to stay for a weekend, the calendar is always filled with festivals, crash shows, special events, and concerts to make your trip to Fort Smith a time to remember.

Getting to Fort Smith is really a pleasure for most people. If you want to drive, the city is within a day’s drive of every major city from Amarillo to Nashville and from New Orleans to Omaha. And if you want to fly, the Fort Smith Regional Airport is one of the most beautiful terminals in the nation.

From Miss Laura’s, it’s only eight blocks to the new convention center and the largest of Portsmouth’s downtown hotels. You will find 400 newly redecorated hotel rooms in downtown Fort Smith. Within 12 minutes of the Convention Center, you will find more than 1400 new or newly redecorated hotel rooms. Fort Smith is where the new south meets the Old West and you will love what happens when they both come together.

Cordoba, Spain Travel Guide

A building is enough reason to place Córdoba at the top of your itinerary: the fascinating multi-colored Mezquita. The Mezquita is one of the largest Islamic buildings in the world and is a symbol of the secular and refined culture that thrived here many years ago when the capital of Islamic Spain was Cordoba and the largest and most sophisticated city in Western Europe. But the Córdoba of today is way more than the Mezquita.

With plenty to see and do, charming accommodation, and excellent bars and restaurants, it deserves much more than the ephemeral visit many travelers make. Cordoba’s true charm unfolds when you explore the winding cobblestone streets of the medieval city of the colorful tourist area immediately around the Mezquita. Some colleagues of mine who run an Edmonton wedding DJ business told me about this hidden gem after they had visited a couple years back so I decided to do some more research on this place. Golden stone buildings and green courtyards appear every few minutes in another picturesque little hidden square. Here are the top must-see attractions in Cordoba, Spain.

Palacio de Viana
The Viana Palace is an impressive Renaissance palace with 12 beautiful courtyards full of plants. It is especially a pleasure in spring. The large building, which was inhabited by the noble Marqués de Viana, is full of antiques and arts. You can simply stroll through the charming courtyards and gardens with a self-guided brochure or take a tour of the rooms. It is located 800 meters northeast of the Plaza de las Tendillas.

Medina Azhara
8km west of Cordoba lies what remains of Medina Azahara, the magnificent palace city constructed in the 10th century by Caliph Abdul ar-Rahman. The complex encompasses a slope and the Caliph’s Palace on the highest level overlooking the open fields and gardens. Residential areas not yet excavated have been removed on both sides. A magnificent museum has been established below the site.

Centro Flamenco Fosforito
Perhaps Andalusia’s best flamenco museum, the Fosforito Center offers exhibitions, films, and information boards in English and Spanish that tell you the guitar history and all the great names in flamenco. The touchscreen videos show the important techniques of flamenco percussion, dance, guitar, and song. Free flamenco shows are also organized, often on Sundays at noon.

Caballerizas Reales
These graceful stables were built in 1570 by order of King Felipe II, as a development center for the great Spanish thoroughbred warhorse. The center still breeds these beautiful horses and trains jockeys and horses in equestrian disciplines. You can follow the training during daily opening hours, Tuesday through Sunday (11 a.m.), or take part in the hour-long show, which remarkably combines the skills of horses and jockeys with dance and music of flamenco.