Day 79: Stopover at Walnut Ridge


time of year

Tishomingo State Park, Tishomingo, MS. ($2/person). We did the Outcroppings Trail (2 mile loop, 121 elevation). A great walk for a rainy day. This trail begins at the Swinging Bridge, goes up along a ridge of huge rock outcroppings with views of the valley below and comes back along that Bear Creek. The outcroppings are said to be popular with rock climbing enthusiasts. The Chickasaw Indians once lived in the caves among these rocks.


difficulty: 2.5

W.M. Browning Cretaceous Fossil Park, Baldwyn, MS. This spot was donated by Willie and Lula Browning, Lifetime lovers of knowledge and education. Excavations at this site in 1990 uncovered abundant shark teeth and other fossils of the Cretaceous age, a time when dinosaurs roamed the continent and large reptiles swam the ocean. These fossils are evidence that the area was covered by the sea 75 million years ago. Fossils are present in the boulder-sized concretions in Twenty-mile Creek, but the greatest concentration was found below an oyster bed 40 feet higher. This unique micro Park encourages you to find your own fossils and shark yet. People have left digging utensils along the rails. The water was quite deep and it was still raining the day we passed through so we didn’t spend much time looking. Seems like a very cool spot though.

I’m a huge Beatles fan so when I learned we’d be near this park I knew we had to see it in person. Beatles Park in Walnut Ridge, AR is really a street with a tiny park inspired by an accidental visit of the Beatles to Walnut Ridge. After performing in Dallas on a Friday evening in 1964, the Beatles were headed to a weekend vacation a dude ranch near Alton, Mo. Walnut Ridge had the closest airport that could accommodate such a large plane, so plans were for the group to land there secretly and then depart the following Sunday, also secretly. But the secret didn’t last. Word spread quickly around the town, especially among teens who, like the rest of the country, were in the throes of Beatle-mania. A crowd of several hundred was gathered at the airport by Sunday morning, Sept. 20th, to greet the Beatles. Hands were shaken and autographs given as the Fab Four walked through the Walnut Ridge crowd, and then the Beatles settled into their seats for the flight to New York City, where they would conclude their first American tour.

The stopover at Walnut Ridge was but a footnote in the history of the legendary band, but it was much more than that for the community that had a surprise encounter with the one and only Beatles. Lasting memories were made in that brief visit. Photographs, treasured stories, and this sculpture are among the ways we remember a very exciting day, and pay tribute to a truly great band.

2 short blocks away is Cavenaugh Guitar Park which pays tribute to a number of rockabilly musicians that used to play along Hwy 67.


There is a historic hotel in Walnut Ridge on an art alleyway, but it’s right next to a very loud and active railroad. So, we drove back to Jonesboro, AR sleep at posh La Quinta.

Price: $86/night

We got dinner from Lost Pizza, a mid-sized chain here, and Jonesboro is a quite a big, cool town. Right next to Lost Pizza is a great vegetarian market called The Truck Patch where we stopped to get snacks.


You May Also Find Interesting:

Have a question or comment?