It was time!! The day had arrived!! We were finally heading to Little Rock to explore the Children's Museum of Discovery!!
First things first, though, and that means BREAKFAST.
Someone write down that we need a selfie stick for Christmas... HA!
We drove about an hour and 15 minutes and went straight to lunch. We are big eaters, y'all. We plan our vacations around where we can find the best food, ha!! So it should come as no surprise that we planned to hit up Whole Hog Cafe, winners of the Memphis in May Barbeque Competitions several times in the past!! I'm not sure why there was a bear there by all their trophies, but the kids were big fans!!
And when we go, of course we have to try a little bit of ALL OF IT.
There were 6 different homemade barbeque sauces at each table and that was my favorite part - getting to try each one and Wadie and I critiquing them all! We are kind of barbeque sauce snobs. When Wadie makes the best bbq sauce on the planet, it's hard for others to come close, but we enjoy sampling the competition! ;))
You know the restaurant is a winner when the baby leaves with barbeque sauce up his nose..
After leaving the cafe, (which was so delicious, but Pecan Lodge is still ranked as our number one favorite bbq place!), we got back in the car and had a decision to make. I had seen on the internet that there was an old mill in North Little Rock that had been used in the opening credits of the classic movie, Gone With The Wind. That has to be on my "top three favorite movies of all time" list.. Tara's Theme Song was played at our wedding and I kind of want my grandma name to be 'Mamie,' ha!! I asked Wade what he thought about driving out of the way to see it and he punched it into the navigation system.. to find out it was FIVE MINUTES AWAY. It quickly became a no-brainer.
We. Must. Go.
After driving through a subdivision and wondering if we were in the wrong place, the road dropped out from beneath us and this was our view.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?! My heart was racing and I could not take pictures fast enough. It was stunning. Like drop dead gorgeous, stunning.
Going through the stone gate..
...and walking in to see the beautiful, fully functioning bridge that crossed the water!
A little back story:
The Old Mill, built in 1933, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a replica of an old, water-powered grist mill and was constructed as a tribute to Arkansas pioneers. It is intended to appear abandoned - absent of doors and windows due to thieves or decay, just as old mills that were in service in the early 1880s had become by the 1930s. Today, The Old Mill is recognized as the last standing structure from the film classic, Gone With The Wind.
I will try to spare you the hundreds of pictures I took here, but literally, every tiny inch of it was picture-worthy.
Walking across the amazing bridge that felt like it was really made up of stone and twisted branches..
Apparently, it is covered in crisp, white snow in the winter, full of blooms in spring and displays the most beautiful foliage in fall. Since we were there in summer, everything was so lush and so green.
Turning a 180, this was the view from the top of the bridge out towards the lake. Unbelievably, there was a memorial plaque posted that said that at 5:00 PM on March 16, 1944, 11 soldiers drowned at this site. They were participating in "river crossing and assault boat training" when their boats capsized and they were unable to shed their gear..
How very tragic.
We continued on to investigate The Old Mill..
It was so much like a castle!! We were so thrilled!!
Looking onto the working water mill from the top window!!
Such beautiful scenes everywhere we looked:
Family picture at The Old Mill!
There were so many passageways that led to different nooks and crannies, little green pockets where you could just sit and enjoy the views.
This place felt like we had jumped inside of a Thomas Kincade painting..
Until we meet again, Old Mill!
I can't begin to describe how beautiful this place was and even though I put a lot of pictures, I don't think they quite capture it, either. You simply have to go!! In a word, it was breathtaking. If this is only a taste of what heaven is like, we won't be able to take it in!! I love that we took "the road less traveled" to find this place... and it totally paid off by being one of my most favorite parts of our trip.
But now, NOW, it was time for the museum. In 10 minutes, we would arrive at the place of which kids' dreams are made of! ;)) That post, coming next!