Arkansas history is alive in Van Buren and Fort Smith, two towns near the Oklahoma border that saw their share of Old West activity. From viewing beautiful Victorian architecture to discovering the exploits of the early settlers, there are many opportunities to connect with the past, while also making the most of their booming retail and restaurant scenes.
2801 Old Greenwood Rd., Ste. 8, 479-646-7555
The stylish ladies of Fort Smith are always up for a trip to Gallivanting, where you can find the best names in clothing and accessories, from classic separates to contemporary styles and everything in between. Finish off your new look with fun jewelry and accessories from names like Brighton.
Funky Monkeys Boutique
615-B Main St., Van Buren, 479-474-8482
This adorable children’s boutique offers girls’ and boys’ clothing from My Vintage Baby, Knuckleheads and many more. You’ll also find tons of cute gifts, and they can create custom looks for pageants and other special occasions.
1217 S. Waldron Rd., Fort Smith, 479-484-5559
There’s a lot to love at Inscriptions, including wedding and social stationery, school and sorority gifts, Vera Bradley accessories and personalized stamps and embossers. Their holiday decorations are incredibly fun and constantly changing, so visit often.
4915 S. Zero St., Fort Smith, 479-4915
You’ll be endlessly inspired by the top-of-the-line Kohler showroom at this spacious supply company, which also offers a huge lighting gallery.
John Mays Jewelers
1401 S. Waldron Rd., Ste. 103, Fort Smith, 479-452-2140
Jeweler John Mays and his sons, both of whom are GIA-graduate gemologists, recently debuted the exclusive Jay Strongwater Razorback. Along with Strongwater, this spacious store boasts lines like Hearts on Fire and Tag Heuer, plus custom designs in fine jewels and Tahitian pearls.
Keep It Gypsy
914 Garrison Ave., Fort Smith, 479-784-3333
Offering custom handbags, children’s bedding, new and vintage painted furniture, and canvas and wooden signs, this new stores combines classic and trendy styles in a creative and glamorous way.
Main Street Candy & Fudge
512 Main St., Van Buren
The homemade fudge here is not to be missed, although you’ll surely be tempted by the plethora of other sugary options, including taffy, jellybeans and more.
Main Street Connection and Marcia Cooksey Interiors
711 Main St., Van Buren, 479-474-0020
Antiques, vintage pieces and new items combine in this spacious shop, which is also a full-service interior design business.
1401 S. Waldron Rd., Ste. 102, Fort Smith, 479-478-9414
If you’ve got beauty on the brain, you’ll love Makeup Lounge, where you can explore lines like Too Faced, Cargo and Bare Escentuals. Their knowledgeable staff will ensure that you select the best makeup and skincare items, and you can stock up on scrumptious Seda France candles at the same time.
701 Garrison Ave., Fort Smith, 479-782-9123
Located in downtown Fort Smith since 1917, Newton’s Jewelers is known for their award-winning custom designs. They also offer jewelry from Roberto Coin and Simon G. and Rolex watches, as well as bridal registry and fine gifts by Juliska Tableware, Vietri and Reed and Barton.
Now & Then Shoppe
115 Lecta Ave., Fort Smith, 479-783-8022,
Located in two historic homes, the Now & Then Shoppe is a treasure trove of gifts and home décor items. Offerings include baby gifts, jewelry, luscious bath and body products and gourmet foods, along with holiday decorations and even antique furnishings.
505 Garrison Ave., Fort Smith, 479-782-2313
Chic little dresses by Karlie, Yellow Box Shoes and Seven jeans all share space in this adorable boutique. Must-have accessories and even unexpected gifts round out their selections.
Tom Bull’s Home Furnishings
2210 Towson Ave., Fort Smith, 479-782-0264
Dress your house from top to bottom with help from Tom Bull’s Home Furnishings. You’ll find furnishings by Bassett, Viking Appliances and complete design services.
5111 Rogers Ave., Ste. 144, Fort Smith 479-452-9939
Located inside Central Mall, Warren’s is known for their chic, stylish selection of shoes and bags from Hobo, Michael by Michael Kors, Steve Madden, BCBGirls and more.
The Woodsman Company
5111 Rogers Ave., Ste. 204, Fort Smith, 479-452-3559
Outfit your family for your latest adventure, whether it’s fly-fishing, kayaking, backpacking or just traveling the globe with the latest from The North Face, Patagonia and more at this family-owned emporium.
The Bread Box
7004 Fresno St., Fort Smith, 479-424-1200
Enjoy sandwiches and salads at this popular lunch spot.
Papa’s Pub & Pizzaria
508 Garrison Ave., Fort Smith, 479-783-9941
Fresh and delicious pizza, from the traditional to the creative, has kept the patrons returning to this cozy pub for years.
521 Garrison Ave., Fort Smith, 479-784-9511
This family-owned coffee house makes everything from scratch, from the tomato soup with crab to the focaccia bread for every toasted sandwich. You’ll love the sweet baked goods, gelato and fresh salads and pasta as well.
Sisters Gourmet Bistro
719 Main St., Van Buren, 479-474-4949
Whether you’re in the mood for breakfast cooked to order, a delicious pecan-crusted chicken salad or grilled salmon, Sisters is the place. Don’t miss the homemade desserts, which change daily.
Activities and Lodging
Arkansas & Missouri Railroad
Old Frisco Station, Van Buren, 479-750-7291
Ride through the beautiful Boston Mountains in style on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad’s meticulously restored turn-of-the-century passenger cars. You can travel from either Van Buren or Fort Smith to Winslow for an unforgettable sightseeing experience.
Beland Manor Inn
1320 S. Albert Pike, Fort Smith, 800-334-5052
This historic bed and breakfast inn is nestled amidst a large and picturesque garden. Many of the private rooms include whirlpool tubs, skylights and lovely antiques, and they offer in-room massage and other pampering packages. Don’t miss the “picnic in your room” package, which includes a basket of dinner for two with grilled chicken, French bread, fresh fruit and champagne.
The Park at West End
North Second St. and Garrison Ave., Fort Smith, 800-637-1477
A restored 1930s Ferris wheel, a penny arcade and a hand-painted Italian carousel center this old-fashioned amusement park is a great time for the whole family.