America’s first national river, which flows 135 miles through the southern region of the Ozarks, is working to add another first to its list. A magnificent microculture nestled in the heart of the Ozarks gets recognized for its natural beauty. And a brewery that all people lucky enough to call the Ozarks home can be proud of!

The First

Have you heard? The Buffalo National River has applied to become Arkansas’ first International Dark Sky Park. An IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment. For the past two years, Casey Johannsen a Buffalo River Park Ranger has been working to bring the park into compliance. With this effort underway, there will be no better place in Arkansas to catch a view of the Milky Way galaxy.

“It's not about taking light completely out of the park. It's about putting the right amount of light where we need it, when we need it.”

Casey Johannsen, Buffalo River Park Ranger
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The Most

Eureka Springs has done it again. This time being named in the Architectural Digest 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America. Considered one of fifty magnificent microcultures, AD considered access to nature, the presence of historic or design districts, and topography that’s appealing in its own right to generate this list.

Historic buildings dating as far back as the late 1880s line the streets of the tiny, artsy downtown of Eureka Springs, tucked into the Ozark Mountains. The entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places.

#21 Eureka Springs, Arkansas
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The Best

When a list is published by Thrillist, eaters, drinkers, travelers, and doers everywhere take note. According to the legendary beer scribe and journalist Ale Sharpton, the Ozark Beer Company gets the nod as the Best Craft Brewery in Arkansas.

I have more Arkansas-brew sippin’ to do, especially since Arkansas' beer scene is on the rise, but Ozark still reigns supreme. Their selection is surely not as extensive as some of the other breweries listed in this feature, but every ale and lager they do provide is not only solid, but seamlessly true to the style. Collaborating with the state’s beloved roaster Onyx Coffee Labs, the Onyx Coffee Stout at a 5.3% is arguably the brewery’s most impressive year-rounder; craft heads eagerly await the return of its extraordinary imperial BDCS version as well. And they should. It’s world-class status.

Ale Sharpton
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