Southern Tour Day 8: Natchitoches, Texarkana, Hope

Day 8 of our Southern Tour was filled with lots of time in the car! After spending the night in Natchitoches, we went out to Cane River Creole National Historical Park and got to walk through the grounds of an old plantation. It was already quite hot and muggy so we didn’t spend long, but it was easy to think about what life would have been like on the plantation. I especially enjoyed the set up of the plantation store.

After that it was back in the car and on our way to the next state on our trip…or should I say states? The town of Texarkana lies right on the border of Arkansas and Texas. We ate lunch on the Arkansas side at one of our more favorite southern fast food joints, Whataburger. Then it was down the main drag to the Post Office where you can get our of your car and straddle the border. We weren’t the only crazy tourists who stopped to do that! There also is a nice plaque dedicated to John F. Kennedy who spent some time campaigning in Texarkana.

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After that we hopped back in the car and continued our trek into Arkansas. Our next stop was Hope, Arkansas: Birthplace of President Bill Clinton. We had only anticipated being able to stop in the visitor center seeing as how there had been a fire in the house earlier in the year and hadn’t been giving out tours while it was being restored, but when we walked in they asked if we would like one! We were pleased to learn that they had restarted tours just a few days before! As chance would have it, just like the tours at Abe Lincolns house in Springfield, IL and Grant’s home in St. Louis, we had the tour to ourselves. It was very interesting to learn about Bill’s life as a young boy, living with his grandparents, and having been taught the values of integration early on in his life. Clinton is the first president I really remember being in office during my lifetime but I felt like I learned so much more in this little town called Hope.

It was late afternoon by the time we left Hope, but our journey for the day was not quite complete. We had one more hour to drive to reach our destination of Hot Springs. We were eagerly anticipated our natural hot springs spa experience the next day after all our time in the car.

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