Bella Vista has long been known as an affluent retirement community, primarily filled with men and women with the free time to tee off on hole after hole of golf. In many respects it still is, evident from recently ranking as one of the 25 Best Places To Retire in 2017 by Forbes.
But, today’s Bella Vista is influenced by a change of demographics, new culinary offerings, and the growing activity that comes with being home to world-class mountain biking trails.
Established in 1965, the member-based, recreational community is now governed by a mayor and city council by incorporation in 2007, but the Bella Vista Village Property Owners Association continues to manage the wide array of natural and man-made amenities.
With a population of about 30,000 and growing, Bella Vista boasts 36,000 acres offering a picturesque, activity-based lifestyle. It has more than $35 million in recreational amenities, including six golf courses, seven stocked lakes, swimming pools, lighted tennis courts, pump track, trails, parks, pavilions, recreation centers, a gun range, a dog park, an RV Park, a Veterans Wall of Honor, and more.
While the six championship-quality golf courses still garner a lot of attention, the influx and emergence of mountain biking culture is indisputable.
It is located in Benton County, a robust area with a thriving job and housing market. Recent growth has diversified the city with young professionals, couples, and families. It is an increasingly attractive place to live. Area employers include Walmart and Mercy Health. The world-class Crystal Bridges of American Art is minutes away and outdoor activities abound at lakes, trails, and golf courses.
As the make up of the city changes other elements follow suit. The POA operated dining venues of the past have given way to modern offerings. Well-known regional restaurants such as Gusano’s Chicago-Style Pizzeria and JJ’s Grill and even a few food trucks have come to town. Plus, you can find Mexican, Chinese, Barbecue, and American fare as well as fine dining with a fabulous view at Lakepoint Restaurant, a newly created concept by the POA.
The city has experienced a dynamic shift in demographics, and has embraced what its hilly topography can offer. While the six championship-quality golf courses still garner a lot of attention, the influx and emergence of a mountain biking culture is indisputable.
No longer are golf carts carrying clubs the main wheels in town. Today it’s almost as common to see vehicles with bicycles mounted to the back or rooftop and an occasional kayak sighting or two. Work then play is a daily routine.
Bella Vista is full of rolling hills and hardwood forest that are perfect for fast and flowy, or technical and rocky mountain bike trails. The Back 40 and Blowing Springs are two of the prime mountain biking trails attracting cyclists to the Northwest Arkansas region. Even more trails are currently in the works. This is world-class riding right out the back door.
The quality and quantity of trails have people flocking to the area from great distances to ride in Bella Vista as well at the other 200 miles of hard and soft-surface trails throughout Northwest Arkansas. Many of these trails connect to each other for more mileage. Some even connect to the Razorback Regional Greenway, a 36-mile paved route that connects the entire region that now begins in Fayetteville and ends in Bella Vista at Blowing Springs Park, also linking it to the Back 40 bike trails.
You don’t have to be on two wheels to experience these trails, however. All the trails are multi-use and the city welcomes hikers, trail runners, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts of any kind.
This new vibe is definitely changing the face of the city. Now it’s your grandparent’s Bella Vista and so much more.