Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs

Today was a wonderful day. I set out with my two daughters. Their kiddos stayed behind with the boys to enjoy the resort pool. It’s a rarity when I can get alone-time with my (original) girls to shop and have lunch without the typical interruptions caused by little ones. I suggested to my daughters that we go shopping there, and they went along with the idea even though in the back of their minds (and they both admitted later) they couldn’t imagine how great it was going to be shopping in Arkansas. Like the sign said in one of the stores, “After all these years, I guess my mom was right about a few things.” They were shocked at what a great little town this was and it turned into a fabulous day!

The streets in Eureka Springs are quite steep and narrow. Parking will cost you about a dollar an hour. We were fortunate to get a great spot so we could cover all of the upper shops and then feed the meter again before we headed down to the lower elevations. After three visits to this cool town, there was always one reason or another why I didn’t feel satisfied by the amount of time I spent here. First time was torrential rain and tornado warnings. Second time my husband was on crutches, so needless to say it wasn’t easy for him to get around (plus it was steaming hot). Third time it was pretty hot again and we were to meet my nephew and his wife at the 1905 Basin Park Hotel for lunch and a cocktail – which turned into a great visit and SEVERAL cocktails – which cut our shopping short. We ate at the Balcony Bar and Restaurant, up on the covered balcony. I forget what we ordered, but the Bloody Marys were yummmmy. The 1905 Basin Park Hotel has offered lodging, dining, wedding and spa experiences to visitors for more than a century.

This trip was the best yet. I visited some of the same shops that caught my eye the first time. We chatted a lot with the shop owners, some of who were from Wisconsin or had just been here and also had some Wisconsin-made treasures in their shops. We had a great relaxing time, taking as much time as we needed without having to rush home, which was by far the best way to experience this fabulous town. On top of all that, the weather was PERFECT. We got an early start, which helped, too. It’s difficult to walk those streets, especially up, when it’s nearly 100 degrees with high humidity!

After exploring some of the shops, we asked one shop owner what her favorite restaurant was in town. Among others, she suggested Nibbles Eatery, which was tiny with only about 6 tables but it was a delightful little restaurant with great chicken salad and mint iced tea. I had seafood quiche with a side salad that was just great. And then we were back to exploring. What a great little town!

On a previous trip, I took these pictures above of Grotto Spring. It was a fascinating stop, filled with gorgeous flowers both planted and spilling from the pots and planters all over the area. It was spectacular. In doing a little research, I found a YouTube video that might interest you. Although it’s pretty poorly done, the woman is fascinated with the Green Man planter that is on display at the Grotto. Her story is very interesting and gives new meaning to my picture that I took several years ago. Check out the Green Man YouTube video HERE. For more information on Green Men click HERE.

“The words “Esto Perpetua” emblazoned upon a stone above the entrance to Grotto Spring declare the prevailing belief that these healing waters would flow forth forever.” – READ MORE ABOUT GROTTO SPRING.

It was there we realized there is actually a trolley that will take you around Eureka Springs, with the Grotto as one of its stops. That is on the docket for the next time I’m back with hubby. For more information on transportation while in Eureka Springs click HERE.

The 1886 Crescent Hotel is perched high above the Victorian village of Eureka Springs. Known as America’s Most Haunted Hotel, there are nightly ghost tours. It is recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, known widely as the “symbol of hospitality” for the State of Arkansas and Ozark Mountain region. We did not tour the hotel, but that is also on the docket for next time. Their website has more history and some great pictures, since I have none.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church was really quite beautiful, even though my picture did not show it off as well as this one from the church’s website. Hopefully, I’ll be forgiven for stealing this image from the site, because I am doing good with it, right? Behind and to the left of the church is the gazebo where the statue of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary stands (pictured) and high atop the hill to the left is the Crescent Hotel. There is some great history of the church on their website.

Last stop was Thorncrown Chapel. I have stopped here on two of my trips and have enjoyed the quiet contemplation that this beautiful place offers while nestled in the trees. I can imagine what it must be like to be here during services. “Sunday services are held at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM April through October. November through the third week in December we have one Sunday service at 11:00 AM. Our services last approximately one hour and include inspiring music and biblically based preaching. All people are welcome.”

“Nestled in a woodland setting, Thorncrown Chapel rises forty-eight feet into the Ozark sky. This magnificent wooden structure contains 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass. It sits atop over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone, making it blend perfectly with its setting. The chapel’s simple design and majestic beauty combine to make it what critics have called “one of the finest religious spaces of modern times.” – READ MORE about Thorncrown Chapel HERE.

“Thorncrown Chapel was designed by world renowned architect E. Fay Jones. Fay was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1921. He studied at the University of Arkansas, Rice University, the University of Oklahoma, and finally under his mentor Frank Lloyd Wright at the Taliesin Fellowship.” – READ MORE about Thorncrown Chapel’s architecture HERE.

Time to head back to reality.

Next stop: Dogwood Canyon

Happy trails,
Barb

Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson

2 Comments

  • Laurie

    That rooftop deck at the hotel looks like the perfect place for coffee in the morning and a cocktail later in the day. You’ve really peaked my interest in Eureka Springs even more!

    July 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm
    • Barbara Olson
      Barbara Olson

      If only it weren’t an 11 hour drive!

      July 11, 2015 at 12:26 am

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