Decorative arts, handmade wares, and old-fashioned hospitality abound in this eastern portion of Arkansas. Join us as we explore the rich heritage and celebrated craftsmanship found in the region.
EATS & SWEETS
From Little Rock, we headed to Lake Village for an early lunch at Rhoda’s Famous Tamales. The endearing diner serves up beef and chicken tamales, along with yams and a variety of pies. Our mouths are still watering for another piece of the pecan pie! Dine here and you’ll enjoy the food as much as you’ll enjoy visiting with Mrs. Rhoda herself.
After making the rest of your stops in the region, we suggest an afternoon snack from Ray’s Dairy Maid. Located just outside of Helena, on Highway 49, Ray’s is known for their fried pies. We recommend trying the chocolate- or apple-filled Southern delicacies.
Our first stop of the day was at an Arkansas-made icon, Miller’s Mud Mill (870-382-5277, millersmudmill.com) in Dumas. Opened in the late 1980s by potter Gail Miller, the store is a must-visit on the list of anyone who lives in or travels through the area. Miller’s earth-toned pottery pieces—which take the form of everything from mugs and platters to vases and decorative wares—fill the store, beckoning to shoppers to display them in their own homes.
From Dumas, we drove on to Lake Village where you’ll find more locally made home furnishings and wares, along with plenty of decorative items, at Paul Michael Company (800-732-3722, paulmichaelcompany.com). We love the Arkansas-made cutting boards as well as the practical pieces of furniture and reclaimed-wood wall letters, all designed and made by Paul Michael. On the day we visited, the team was beginning to display the store’s huge Christmas and holiday décor offering.
Continuing our delightful trek through the Delta, our next stop was Helena, where we found two charming stores in one historic building. The first shop, Handworks (870-338-4340, handworkshelena.com) carries many items that—as implied by their name—are handmade. From Helena-produced WAX candles to Arkansas’ own Soaps of the Delta, the shop overflows with gift items that have both beauty and heritage. What’s more, they also offer bridal registry, featuring sought-after, quality lines such as Fortunata, Juliska, and Montes Doggett. Bella (870-338-4340) is the second shop housed in the space. As a women’s clothier, the shop offers a variety of colorful options for any occasion, from date night to tailgating. You’ll find lines such as Free People, Nally & Millie, and Kendra Scott jewelry, along with a great selection of basics that can be monogrammed.
Next, we headed to Something Special (870-338-7277), where we were greeted with a huge selection of all things home. From the collegiate-themed items (which include Arkansas as well as nearby Mississippi schools) to the bridal registry offerings, such as Annie Glass and Vietri, this is the place to find kitchen and entertaining wares. Plus, it’s the perfect place to pick up a card, a set of cocktail napkins, or a gourmet food item before heading to a get-together.
WHERE TO STAY
Want to spend a few days exploring the Delta? We suggest heading to The Alluvian (866-600-5201, thealluvian.com) in Greenwood, Mississippi, for an unparalleled taste of Southern culture with a heavy side of hospitality. While you’re staying at the hotel’s luxurious accommodations, be sure to visit the spa to pamper yourself, and dine in Giardina’s Restaurant, which offers steaks, seafood, and pasta. If you feel like trying your own hand at the culinary arts, take a lesson at the much-esteemed Viking Cooking School, which offers classes for all skill levels.
MAKE IT HOME
If you decide to call the Delta home, you’ll need a list of improvement and maintenance professionals to keep your house at its peak. Stop by Carrington Electric (870-534-6993, carringtonelectric.com) to learn more about how they offer area residents the best service and value for all their lighting and electrical needs, whether commercial or residential. Based in Pine Bluff, the team offers Nitetime™ Décor installation to illuminate your house when the sun sets. They also travel to surrounding areas to install turnkey holiday lighting to take the hassle out of beautiful Christmas décor.