Thursday, December 7, 2023

Welcome to Wilson


Actually. Welcoming Wilson might be more accurate. 

We recently decided to visit Wilson, Arkansas, having no idea what to expect. Boy, were we impressed! It was welcoming! From the hotel, to the grocery store and everywhere in between, there was someone to greet us and offer assistance.
This tiny town, population 710, owned by Gaylon Lawrence, Jr., is chock full of southern charm and hospitality. 
Our adventure began on a Tuesday morning. We had reservations with the town’s only hotel, the beautiful Louis Hotel and a three hour road trip. On the way, my phone rang. It was the concierge at the Louis with a few questions. ‘What snacks can we leave for you in your cottage? Drinks? Would you like extra pillows? At what temperature would you like the thermostat to be set? Do you need reservations anywhere? Is there anything else we can do for you? Are you interested in any of our activities?’ Actually, we were interested in their mixology class, but sadly, it was scheduled for a different night. 

I called when we got to town to get directions to our cottage. ‘Come straight to the town center and we will be outside to greet you.’ 

At the hotel, we got a personal tour of the establishment, a list of places to visit, and an escort to our cottage.


We got settled in and then piled back in the car for a two minute drive (y’all, the town is tiny!) for lunch at The Grange. The food was delicious!

After lunch, we went shopping. First, at White’s Mercantile, owned by Holly Williams, the daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. (how’s that for an Alabama connection?), then on to Tom Beckbe, an upscale men’s store started by Radcliffe Menge, an attorney from, you guessed it, Alabama! Our final shopping destination was the Wilson Pharmacy. Did I mention that the town is tiny?
With our shopping completed for the day, we decided to check out The Delta School, a private school started by Gaylon Lawrence, Jr. Lawrence knew if he wanted to reinvent the town, he needed to start with the children, so, with the help of educator, Jenifer Fox, he envisioned a “school where the only rows are in the garden and the only back seats are in the hydra go-cart the elementary students invented”. The heart of the school is a greenhouse and garden where students, pre-K through grade 12 plant the seeds, tend the plants, and harvest the fruits and vegetables. 
Currently 85 students attend the school. Although Delta School is private, students are not turned away for financial reasons. This is a magical place!

Next we went back to our cottage to prepare for our dinner at the Wilson Cafe. But first, a phone call from the hotel. They had arranged for us to enjoy a private mixology class after our dinner. We were awed and excited!

Dinner at the Wilson Cafe was just what we had come to expect from this incredible little town, SPECTACULAR!
We had local blackened catfish, jambalaya, honey jalapeño carrots, mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables and herby homemade bread and butter. And then, our mixology class where we learned how to make two of the Wilson’s signature cocktails, Malibu Sunset and the Smoky Daisy. We had so much fun and the drinks were delicious. 

After dinner we strolled over to see the town’s 500,000+ Christmas light display and, even though it only snows on the weekends, they turned on the snow JUST FOR US! It was a fantastic light show that definitely put us in the Christmas spirit. 

We were exhausted and happy by the time we returned to our cottage. The beds were cozy and comfortable. We all slept like babies. 

The next morning we got up, had breakfast at The Grange (delicious again), stopped by the local grocery store, where we were greeted at the door like celebrities, and drove a few miles out of town to Dyess, the home of country music legend, Johnny Cash. In Dyess, we got to tour Cash’s boyhood home.


It was a perfect holiday getaway. You should definitely visit Welcoming Wilson. 

Three Friends and a Fork
Three Friends and a Fork

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  1. What a beautiful description of your visit to Wilson. Thank you for sharing with us, especially all of those great pictures. I