Every local we asked, “Where should we eat lunch?” had the same answer – the Flying Fish.
All the walls in this downtown Little Rock diner look like this photo. It’s a little weird until you know the story.
Turns out, if you bring in a mounted fish (like Big Mouth Billy Bass) for the wall of this Little Rock eatery, you get a fish dinner for free. ( Plus your name (and fish) on the wall for posterity. )
We didn’t know, so we had to pay for our catfish dinners. Worth it. I had the baked, and Mark had the cornmeal-crusted fried version. Both delicious, but I liked my accompaniments better, especially the thinly sliced, highly seasoned squash.
There are only 13 presidential libraries in the country, and we visited one (the first of 13 if I get my way!) in Little Rock.
At the Clinton Presidential Library, there is an apartment for the Clinton family perched on the roof. Grass and gardens and trees cover the roof and help keep the LEEDS building insulated. Floors inside the library are made from bamboo or recycled tires.
Two White House rooms are replicated inside the Library. For the Cabinet Room, the same craftsman who constructed the cabinet members chairs built the chairs for the recreated room. I tried to sit in the president’s chair but was beat out by an elderly woman. I will be working out now to improve my museum walking speed. You can tell which chair is the President’s because the back is two inches higher than the rest. I ended up in the Secretary of Defense chair. The chairs closest to the president are the oldest cabinet offices.
In the Oval Office, Clinton’s collection of military minted coins and many of his other personal belongings were on display. You can see the coin collection in the photo behind the chair, as well as the replica of the Resolute desk.The desk, made from wood of the British ship, the HMS Resolute, was a gift from Queen Victoria in 1880.
A huge room with floor to ceiling cases houses Clinton’s correspondence. If you ever sent a note to President Clinton, it is somewhere in that room.
The campground we planned to stay at on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock was full, but the sympathetic host let us stay in “overflow.” Translated, that’s a parking spot, with a garden hose for water and a giant extension cord for power! We didn’t mind – she only charged us half price ($15 a night).
The campground is at the base of a former railroad trestle that has been converted into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, complete with flower boxes.
It leads to the Clinton Presidential Library, green space and a 17- mile bike path. Before the library was built, the area was a run down mess of abandoned warehouses.
With apologies to the architect, I must say, from our side of the river, the Library looks like a railroad car.
I was especially impressed that the Clinton Library (built with private donations, not tax money) includes exhibit space for rotating displays. Currently, it’s installation art by world famous glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Several displays, all staggeringly beautiful.