Travel is our passion. You say -  Lets go! We say - when? It doesn't matter where. We have already been to some remote places in the world and we always say we are coming back, no doubt. But there are so many more places to visit that we haven't been able to return a second time, except Alaska-six times. And now we are planning to return a 7th time in 2016.

Periodically on this page you will find special features for your pleasure.


Published in the Wilson County News on July, 18, 2012

By: Harry and Linda Kaye Perez

Something spectacular happened on November 11, 2011, in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art officially opened in Bentonville, Arkansas, a town of 35,000 people. If you are thinking, “Just another art museum,” think again. 


Crystal Bridges acquired its catchy name from Crystal Springs that supplies the water for the three large ponds designed into the complex and for the two glass-enclosed and copper-roofed bridges that traverse the ponds. One of those bridges is home for the Museum’s dining facility, appropriately named “Eleven” (11-11-2011). The second bridge houses several of the fabulous galleries within this complex.

Crystal Bridges beckons the spirit to enter a new world of nature and art, beautifully blended and woven together, as you step onto the paved walking path just beyond the Bentonville Town Square. A short 10-minute walk brings you to the South Entrance. The landscape along the way will take your breath away.

Bentonville was the hometown of Sam and Helen Walton. It was here that Sam and his brother, Bud, opened the Walton Five & Dime Store on the Square in the heart of Bentonville in the mid 1940s. And, the rest, as they say, is Walmart history. Alice Walton, their youngest daughter and a long-time collector of American art, was the driving force in the creation of Crystal Bridges.

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The Museum facility, encompassing over 201,000 square feet, was built in a wooded ravine on 120 acres of land, long owned by the Walton Family. Architect Moshe Safdie spent eleven years between the initial concept, reportedly drawn on a table napkin, and the completion of this multi-million dollar facility.

Nothing was overlooked in creating a people-friendly environment. There are over three miles of trails open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.  Certain paths are designated for pedestrians only, while others allow bicycles.

Within the galleries of Crystal Bridges are five centuries of exquisite art, each an American masterpiece, including “Kindred Spirits” by Asher Brown Durand (1849), purchased from the New York Public Library for $35 million; a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, purchased for $8 million; and “Rosie the Riveter” created by Norman Rockwell as a cover of the May 29, 1943 edition of the Saturday Evening Post. There are over 440 works of art on display and another 800 are still in storage. Many of the paintings will be on public display for the first time, as they were purchased from private collections.

In addition to the galleries, there is also the Great Hall for receptions, concerts and private catered events. Crystal Bridges Restaurant, Eleven, has everything from gourmet coffee and pastries to five-star dishes created by Executive Chef Jacob Harr, all at very reasonable “Walmart” prices.  As a bonus, the view from Eleven is breathtaking.

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Admission is free now, and will always be, thanks to a $20 million grant provided by the Walmart Corporation. Arkansas tourism officials expect Crystal Bridges to become a more popular landmark than the Clinton Presidential Center in downtown Little Rock. In August 2012, Crystal Bridges will launch a school visit program to introduce children of all ages to the world of art.

Even if you are not an art lover, you will be entranced by this vibrant and beautiful complex. After spending a day at Crystal Bridges walking the trails, relaxing or enjoying a picnic at one of the many areas provided, and perhaps visiting the galleries, you too, will become a fan.

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   © Harry Perez 2012