Monday, August 29, 2011

Want to walk to work with me?

I thought you, my friends and family, might like to take a virtual walk to work with me. A mere .8 miles from door to door, I've been walking to the office most every day, as it's not much longer than driving and far more economical in both gas and exercise domains.

I've divided the walk into five segments, for no real reason other than it lets me gauge how far I am from my destination.

Segment One is short but potentially treacherous. It involves leaving the house, walking up the driveway, and making my way over to the trail. No doubt we will post more about the trails at some point, but Fayetteville has an extensive trail system that runs right through the town. The one closest to us is the Frisco Trail. Here is the view from our street looking down towards the trail (you can't see the trail itself due to the curve in the path):

Don't let this picture mislead you, either, this hill is STEEP. Which is why Segment One is a bitch and a half on the way back (when it is Segment Five).

Segment Two begins at the bottom of the hill, on the trail itself. I head north, past a quaint little tea shop, with a nice tree-lined walk:

Segment Two ends at a wine bar called The Wine Cellar, which (surprisingly enough) Doug and I have not gone to yet. I know enough about positive emotion that I know anticipation and uncertainty prolong positive feelings longer than simply going out and getting what you want. So, I look longingly at the wine bar most every day (note: not because I want to drink wine at 8am) and head on my merry way.

Segment Three is the most unpleasant looking of the segments, as it is basically a parking lot:

Why the city would run a trail THROUGH the parking lot is beyond me. At 8am it's not really a problem, but in the afternoon it is sometimes feels little more dangerous. Anyway, the trail heads through the parking lot and then curves up and to the right (behind those trees), toward the infamous Dickson Street. At the base of that tall building "Underwood Plaza" there is a coffee shop that I occasionally frequent (Oooh! "Occasionally frequent" makes me sound like I've lived here long enough to do something only on occasion!).

Segment Four begins when the trail crosses Dickson, at which point I take a left and head up (in this case, West) Dickson street toward campus. According to a random website, Dickson Street is the "epicenter of Northwest Arkansas." It is otherwise known as the "entertainment district" of town. The branch that I walk up has me pass George's Majestic Lounge, the most popular small music venue in town (another place we haven't been yet), a Waffle House, a frozen yogurt shop, a few boutique-y stores, and that theatre-like place where we saw the atrociously named "Phunbags". I say theatre-like because it has a marquee and there is a stage, but the room looks more like a convention center at a hotel than an actual theatre, and the seating is round tables with folding chairs, not actual theatre seats.

But I digress. At the top of Dickson Street, which isn't really the top of the street, but the start of the retail portion, my final segment begins when I cross Arkansas Avenue and step onto hallowed University grounds:

Segment Five is the hardest segment of the walk to work, because it's mostly uphill and at that point I've already walked half a mile. Plus, right now, it's ridiculously hot outside.

On the plus side, Segment Five is the prettiest. At the top of the hill is the oldest building at the University of Arkansas, the aptly named Old Main (which also reminds me of the Old Main at my alma mater, Macalester College).

The University of Arkansas has a neat tradition of imprinting all the names of graduates into the sidewalks around campus. This dates back to the very first graduating class in 1876, when there were few graduates and the names were right near Old Main:

Now, the names are in a smaller font and are on sidewalks further away from the central quad, but the tradition lives on. No doubt there are countless pictures of graduates sitting on the sidewalk or crouched down next to their names. In any case, I enjoy seeing the names of all the people who've been educated at this institution, and I look forward to a few years from now when I'll be able to see my students' names somewhere on campus.

Segment Five ends when I walk into the back entrance of my building, Memorial Hall:

I will describe Memorial Hall in more detail on a later day, because it actually has a fairly interesting history (as far as buildings go), but the walk has made me tired at this point, what with all the tour-guiding, and it's time for me to get to work. Thanks for taking this little stroll with me!

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