Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
The adjacent park and the lake itself are private, but you don't need a property owners association membership card to stroll around this picturesque lake, the only one in the neighborhood that isn't at least partially obscured by private homes. It's a popular spot — no matter what time of day you come, you'll likely be sharing the sidewalk with babies in strollers, joggers and older folks taking their daily constitutional. Benches on Fairway Avenue provide an ideal spot to rest and enjoy the view of Lake No. 3 on the north side and the Old Mill on the south side.
North Little Rock's most famous tourist attraction is tucked into a ravine that straddles the northernmost finger of Lake No. 2, at Fairway and Lakeshore Drive. Its claim to fame may be marginal — it appeared in the opening credits of the movie "Gone with the Wind" — but it's a lovely little place in its own right. Justin Matthews, the developer who built Lakewood, commissioned the structure in the early 1930s. He wanted something that looked old and abandoned, just like the actual 19th-century water-powered gristmills that dotted the state, and that would fit into the natural contours of the land. Sculptor Dionicio Rodriguez created a number of lifelike concrete pieces for the Old Mill, including toadstools, tree stumps and a footbridge made to look like an old tree had simply fallen down over the water. It's a great place for a picnic with kids — plenty of trails and hidey-holes for the young ones to explore while the older folks relax and take in the views — and for any occasion that calls for a scenic background for pictures (about 200 couples a year get married at the Old Mill, and it's a popular spot for high school students' senior photos as well). The heavily landscaped park is especially beautiful in spring.
McCain Boulevard is the nucleus of North Little Rock's retail community, and the stretch that runs through Lakewood — between JFK Boulevard and Highway 67/167 — is the nucleus of the nucleus. Scratch your department store itch at McCain Mall, where the options include Dillard's, JCPenney, Sears and a host of other mall staples. Next door, Lakewood Village provides a more eclectic, open-air experience, with stores and restaurants built in a giant circle around a central fountain/amphitheater/playground. You can start at Panera for breakfast, have lunch at Five Guys burgers or Georgia's Gyros, and dine at Taste of India or Saddle Creek Woodfired Grill, and finish the evening with a movie or a game of pool at the Fox and Hound. In between, you can peruse dozens of shops, including Steinmart, Books-A-Million, Bedford Camera and Video, Plato's Closet and more. Lakewood Village is also home to one of the last remaining TCBY locations in Central Arkansas.