A visit to Bentonville blew away all my expectations on and off the trail. The six different professional trail crews building 1.5 miles of new trail to an already expansive trail network was hard to comprehend given my experience with trail building conditions in Northern California. The crews and planners were always innovating, thinking bigger as each trail project benefited from the knowledge and building techniques gained from the previous projects.
I was blown away as well with the available food options. There were so many chefs eager to show off local ingredients, blending traditional styles with modern creativity. One can feel the pride and satisfaction of the locals at all levels of the food and service industry. The appreciation for art was apparent with the art and light display embedded in the forest in the Northern Forest Lights exhibit of the Crystal Bridges Museum. Art is unpretentious and approachable in this town as they expose folks to art that is meaningful to them.
And I feel that I've merely scratched the surface of the Bentonville community that has built a lifestyle and economy around mountain biking and other healthy categories. They've accomplished so much in the past five years so one can only imagine the possibilities for this community in the next five years. They're grooming a generation of mountain bikers who appreciate food, art and life. And they're building a blueprint that many communities around the world will follow.