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A Face in the Crowd

Guest Comments

I have travelled extensively to 28 countries on four continents and have had the pleasure of staying in upscale business accommodations and 5 star hotels in some of the most spectacular locations in the world. But when it is time for family vacations, I much prefer the warmth, charm and privacy of B&B establishments like Rose Dale Farm. The historical restorations and period furniture added greatly to the ambiance and charm of our stay. Best of all, we had the entire farm house to ourselves! For family fun we enjoyed fishing in nearby rivers and state parks, antiquing, playing softball in the well-maintained community ballpark, swimming in the local community pool, and sitting on the porch watching the sunset. Our host made sure that the house was well-stocked with board games, croquet, badminton, books, and other fun activities that greatly enhanced our family time together. The warmth and hospitality of our host was wonderful and made us feel truly at home. I highly recommend Rose Dale Farm to the business traveler, those searching for a quaint weekend getaway, or families on vacation.

- Cheryl Warner Washington D.C.

Of all the Bed & Breakfast where I have stayed, Rose Dale Farm is my favorite. The house was comfortable and tastefully restored. The proprietor was very special with his kindness and taking care of our every need. I am recommending Rose Dale Farm to all my family and friends that live and travel through Arkansas.

- Dentis Crow Vancouver, Washington

In Piggott for quarterly meeting and stayed at this great little B&B Farm House outside of town. Very peaceful place. Hemingway and his friend who lived here would hunt behind the house and end up here for drinks. Rings are still on the secretary in the dining room from the bourbon glasses.

The Biggest Small Town in Arkansas

The charming town of Piggott (population 3,774) sits on the edge of Crowley’s Ridge looking eastward toward the Delta, and it’s surrounded on three sides by Missouri.  Happily for Arkansas, though, it’s all ours.
When my pal and I made off far too late one evening in an easterly direction toward Piggott for a writers’ retreat at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center last spring, we had no idea the journey would take us two hours longer than we planned (be forewarned and know before you go, dear reader) and even less of an inkling of what to expect.  Let me tell you, Piggott charmed the socks off us both.  Literally, for me: my toes happily enjoyed their freedom on what felt like the first pleasant days of spring in Arkansas.
Most surprising of all, however, was that four solid days in the tiny hamlet of Piggott (ok, sorry – couldn’t help that one), we felt as though we didn’t come close to doing everything we wanted to do despite our most enthusiastic efforts.
Near the square in downtown Piggott, Arkansas.
We stayed at the 1917 Rose Dale Farm, which sits on twenty acres surrounded by fledgling nursery specimens and orchards just on the outskirts of town, its welcoming porch facing a freshly-tilled field and Crowley’s Ridge just to the north.  Well-planned landscaping at the former Norred Farm blocked the harshest rays of sunrise to the east and sunset to the west of the porch, making it the perfect place to start and end our days. We hauled seating out onto the porch and enjoyed our morning coffee and our nightcaps there.
Rings from Hemingway’s bourbons; Rose Dale Farm and its environs.
While the traffic on the highway is not light, we never found it less than pleasant and enjoyed watching the world go by.  The landscaping offered a buffer and a miniature sanctuary for birds, and we were entertained during our stay by pairs of mourning doves, redwing blackbirds, brown thrashers, chickadees, a couple of fretting swallows nesting on the porch and a very committed mockingbird who carried on in a nearby forsythia with capable parroting of dozens of songs.
I was most fortunate to have the bedroom with a little bit of Hemingway’s ghost still visible. A charming note from the owner advised:
My grandfather and his brother-in-law would take Ernest Hemingway hunting when he came to town. After the hunt, they would have bourbons at the secretary, leaving rings from the glasses. The lady of the house would get so mad, she would make Ernest come in the back door of the house and then she would leave when he was in the room. You can still see the rings on the writing surface!

The owner was an absolute delight, catering to our every need and fully stocking the little farmhouse with perfect snacks and drinks.  The two bedroom (plus a sleeping option in the living room) home with its kitchen, dining room and back porch suited us perfectly, and the owner is doing a lovely job of restoring and improving it – highly recommend! The aforementioned note asked us to pardon their progress (“As you can tell, we are still working on the old gal…”).  Rose Dale Farm approx. $135 per night, 1577 East Main Street, 870-634-7100).
An alternative option is The Inn at Piggott (formerly The Downtown Inn) on the square in the 1925 Bank of Piggott ($80 – $105, 193 West Main Street, 870.598.8888).
Our main purpose in visiting Piggott was to attend a Spring Writers’ Retreat at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center, an Arkansas Heritage Site operated by Arkansas State University. The retreat (read more about it in this post) was excellent and the HPMEC runs many other worthy events, but there is plenty to explore in and around Piggott without such an excuse for visiting.
There were several places to eat – a Mexican restaurant (Los Compadres) and a pizza place (Front Street Pizza) just off Main Street suited our needs), and the downtown square has several quaint shops (be sure to check out Feather Your Nest) and interesting buildings worth soaking in if you’re so inclined.
Hemingway’s tie to this Arkansas town was his 1927 marriage (and prior visits) to second wife Pauline Pfeiffer, whose family moved from St. Louis to Piggott in 1910. The Museum & Educational Center weaves the story of their life together, as well as the (possibly more riveting) history of the Paul & Mary (Downey) Pfeiffer Family.
Clockwise: Paul Pfeiffer's desk, the Paul & Mary Pfeiffer home, the barn where Hemingway wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms, Matilda & Karl Pfeiffer home.
Clockwise: Paul Pfeiffer’s desk, the Paul & Mary Pfeiffer home, the barn where Hemingway wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms, Matilda & Karl Pfeiffer home.
Hemingway wrote much of A Farewell to Arms (published 1929) in the barn on the Pfeiffer property. The HPMEC employs a wonderful, passionate team of docents and a dedicated director in Adam Long, and it is well worth taking the time to enjoy a thorough tour of the Pfeiffer home, barn and other highlights of the property.
Just adjacent is the Matilda & Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center in a beautiful 1930s Tudor home, which houses an extensive collection of minerals, geodes and Native American specimens. The museum, library and beautiful grounds are well worth a visit, and the property was featured in the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd starring Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal. Additional information on the area is available from the Piggott Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Delta Bywaysregional tourism organization.

Mr. Brame's Blog

Here's how we ended up in Piggott, Arkansas.
                                                             - Aaron Brame  23 March 2013

If you had asked me where Ernest Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms, my first guess would have been Paris.  Then Key West.  Then maybe Cuba, or Pamplona, or Oak Park.  The last place I ever would have guessed is Piggott, Arkansas, but it tuns out that that's where he was in for part of 1928, when he was working on the novel.

Ernest Hemingway and Pauline Pfieffer
Hemingway's second wife was named Pauline Pfieffer.  She was a journalist who was writing for Vogue Magazine in the mid 1920s in Paris, which is where she met Ernest Hemingway.  By the time they were married in early 1926, her family was living in Piggott, Arkansas.  

In the summer of 1928, Hemingway and Pfieffer, who was pregnant with their first child, visited Piggott.  Hemingway had written 200 pages ofA Farewell to Arms and worked on the novel in the horse stables behind the house.  The two of them traveled back and forth to Kansas City, where Pfieffer eventually gave birth after a difficult labor.  The experience inspired the fictional miscarriage of Catherine at the end of the novel. (Spoiler!)

Renee and I traveled to Piggott on a dull, dark, and soundless day this weekend, to have a look at the house and spend the night at the Rose Dale Farms bed and breakfast.  We had to check out Hemingway's studio from the outside, as we arrived too late to take a tour from the Hemingway-Pfieffer Museum.  (Renee and I were once locked out of William Faulkner's home once, too, which you can read about here.) We then returned to the bed and breakfast, where, we learned, Hemingway used to visit after going on hunting excursions.  He would drink bourbon there with the owner, and apparently displeased the lady of the house so much that she made him come in the back door and would not stay in the same room as him. (The house is pictured at the top of this post.)

It was a relaxing weekend, and I felt we were sharing a scene with one of my favorite writers and favorite books. 

(Here's a picture of Renee outside of Hemingway's converted writing studio where he worked on A Farewell to Arms. She once wrote a guest blog explaining her frustration with the character Catherine Barkley in the book.)

Hemingway's studio

The Pfieffer house
Scenic Piggott, Arkansas

Kujawa Hileman Kudo

Brandy, Dale & kids Kudo

4 Star Guests !

Hester Kudo

Burgoyne & Miller Kudo

Donaldson Kudo

Rose Dale Farm Stationery

Pam and Bob Kudos

Bob Kudos

BW & Robin !

Swaim !

The Meddaughs !

Bushee !

Spencer Group !

Reis Group Kudos !

Gail & Lynn Combs !

Merghart Kudos - "Wonderful 5 Star Guests!"

Family Kudos

Grote Family ! 15 Oct 2013

Marc Meier Family from Switzerland ! - 4 Oct 2013

18 September 2013 Kudos !

Making Hay Summer 2013

31 May Kudos

18 May 2013 Kudos !

Family Get-Together

Dear Rose Dale Farm Staff,

We want to thank you for the use of the home.  We loved our stay.  We will post our positive exprerience on your blog.  We have a big family that lives in Kennett, Senath and Dexter.  They were all impressed with the property and will be referring other travelers from our family to you.

Thanks again for your generosity.  We loved our visit.

Loretta Parsons Mayer


Aunt Altha

Altha Frances Constant
1880 - 1966


Leona Estelle Gaddis at the Wheel

Leona Estelle Gaddis Norred
1891 - 1966

4 Norred Generations at 2nd and Orr Streets

Large Comfy Bathroom

Dining Room

Queen Anne Table shipped from Famous-Barr in St. Louis and picked up by horse drawn wagon at the Piggott train station in 1917.