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Day. In the event the byway overlooks left you wanting more, the quick 1.3-mile loop trail out to Lover’s Leap and back rewards the hiker with another sprawling view of the rolling Ouachitas. Don’t miss one of the guided tours of the “Wonder House,” an architectural oddity constructed in 1931 that houses nine levels in what appears, from the outside, to be a modest two-story rock domicile. MANGIA IN MENA If the lodge restaurant doesn’t trip your trigger for dinner, there are a couple of places open in the evening in downtown Mena: Branding Iron BBQ & Steak House (623 Sherwood Ave., Mena, Ark., 479-437-3240) serves up fried green tomatoes and potato-and-brisket soup with aged Black Angus steaks and whole racks of ribs. Or, if you’ve landed in Mena on a weekday, duck into Suzy Q’s Sweet Creams & Coffee (601 Mena St., Mena, Ark., 479-216-6770), a charming boutique storefront in the historic downtown district that pairs after-dinner delights like affogato, hand pies and old-fashioned banana splits with vintage tabletop board games.

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70 MAY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

PAY HOMAGE TO ARKANSAS’S COMEDY PIONEERS On your drive down winding Rich Mountain (and out of the clouds), you’ll pass through the rolling farmland in the towns of Ink and Yocana into Pine Ridge, home of the Lum and Abner Jot ’Em Down Store (4562 State Highway 88 W., Pine Ridge, Ark., 870362-4442). Inside the walls of the 1909 building — which doubles as the community’s official post office — you can get lost in a trove of artifacts detailing the careers of Chester Lauck and Norris Goff, the comedy duo who broadcast over 5,000 radio shows under their adopted hillbilly monikers, Columbus “Lum” Edwards and Abner Peabody. The real gem here, though, is Kathryn Moore Stucker, the museum owner/curator and Pine Ridge historian who stewards the shop, who unquestionably knows more about Lum and Abner history than anyone else on Earth. Should you need sustenance before that eastward stretch, stop in to the Skyline Cafe (618 Mena St., Mena, Ark., 479-394-5152) and grab some eggs with kielbasa at one of Arkansas’s oldest diners. Bring cash; Skyline does not accept credit/debit cards. DINE AT THE DAIRYETTE Business hours at the Dairyette (717 U.S. Highway 270, Mount Ida, Ark., 870-867-2312) often mean the square footage of the dairy bar equals less than the square footage taken up by the cars and trucks huddled around it. A limeade or a milkshake should be at the top of your to-do list, and the cheeseburger is quintessential drive-in fare. CRUISE CRYSTAL COUNTRY This slice of Montgomery County is situated atop massive quartz deposits, and amateur miners can pay a daily or hourly fee to hack away at exposed hillsides in search of geological treasure at a handful of crystal

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