Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Razorbacks, was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the top college sports towns in America. Coming in at #7, Fayetteville ranked just ahead of Lexington, Kentucky, with those two cities being the only SEC towns in the Top Ten.
Fayetteville is a wonderful place to visit and an equally great place to live. I spent five years there in the '60's for undergraduate and graduate school, and we lived there for three years in the mid-'70's when LBeau was working on a master's degree.
For most of those three years, we lived in a small stone house on Mount Sequoyah. From the large picture window in our living room, we had a clear view of Old Main, the oldest and most prominent building on the University of Arkansas campus. Almost as soon as he learned to talk, Hunter would point to Old Main, calling it "Daddy's Big House."
Although Hunter envisioned his daddy hanging out in Old Main for much of the day, LBeau actually spent most of his time in the Engineering Building, which was adjacent to the Old Main lawn.
Fayetteville is certainly a fun place to be on football weekends in the fall, but I enjoy visiting there any time of the year, and I'm already looking forward to an upcoming trip in April. Until early 1999, the only way to get to Fayetteville was via U.S. Highway 71 from Alma, a winding road through the mountains, or by taking Highway 23, an equally winding road, off of I-40 at Ozark.
Fondly known as The Pig Trail, Highway 23 meanders through the Ozark National Forest. It's known for its hairpin curves and canopy of trees that threaten to take it back to nature. LBeau was prone to carsickness, so we always made sure he was driving when we took The Pig Trail.
Today I-540 from Alma has replaced Highway 71 and The Pig Trail as the most traveled route to Fayetteville. It crosses a number of spectacular bridges and tunnels through a mountain before finally topping a hill where you get your first glimpse of the University of Arkansas campus spread out in front of you. I get chills every time.
If you get a chance, you really should check out my favorite college town. And if you want to see if your favorite college town made the Top 10, you can read the Forbes article HERE.