• John-Michael Scurio

"Eureka!" | I have found my Autumn Escape!

Welcome to Eureka Springs | History and tourism

Eureka Springs flourished in the 1800s when visitors flocked to drink from the town's mineral springs.

Today, Gingerbread-trimmed houses dot the hills like wildflowers from the Ozark bluffs, and hotels accommodate the crowds. Eureka Springs has emerged as an artists' colony and wedding destination -- and, when the summer heat mellows, we're a lovely end to a fall drive. Come see us here in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Here you'll find a maze of impossibly steep streets here lined with quaint homes and inns.

Spring Street packs galleries, gift shops and restaurants. Tiny parks protect natural springs, and spas echo our town's history as a haven for healing. Even the old-timey photo studio and saltwater taffy sold downtown have an air of legitimacy here.

A visitor aims for fall foliage in downtown Eureka Springs.

We Do What We Love

The Stone House pairs wine with beautiful cheese plates

Like many of the artists who live in Eureka Springs, Edwige Denyszyn moved here after a visit. She and her husband planted a vineyard and opened Keels Creek Winery and Art Gallery.

Eureka Springs is like a university town but without the students. Everybody's very passionate about what they're doing here, and most of us are not originally from here.

All around Eureka Springs, visitors will encounter many "settlers" making a go of it doing what they absolutely love to do, often to the benefit of the 800,000 visitors who visit this town of 2,200 each year.

Potters and artists show elegant white vases and cozy pine cone coffee mugs at Zarks Gallery.

The rehabbed a 19th-century building is now The Stone House, a chic yet cozy wine bar.

And at Cottage Inn Restaurant, guests savor slabs of chef Linda Hager's caramel-soaked coconut cake. This must be experienced.

Thrilling Color

Winding roads make driving in the Ozark hills a thrill.

Spring is gorgeous. Summer you tolerate. But fall is our favorite time as it offer us some thrilling color. Petunias still bloom on the porch, but the leaves have begun to turn. Fall is familiar.

For years, Mom's and Dad brought their kids here for apple and sorghum harvests. They've come back to Eureka Springs at every stage of their lives. While the shopping is exceptional, maybe, more than shopping is what brings them and so many back. Here in Eureka there is the sense that in this funny little town in the mountains, you can stop the clock for a few days and just be.


Time to rest your weary feet. If you planned way ahead, you snagged a cabin on stilts at Treehouse Cottages (pictured above). (479) 253-8667; treehousecottages.com

Your Two-Day Fall Fling: Day one

Eureka Springs unfolds along Spring Street. Ride the trolley to the top of the hill and shop your way down, (479) 253-7333; eurekasprings.org. The mother-daughter team at Wilson and Wilson Folk Art Company paints colorful collectibles, (479) 253-5105; wilsonandwilsonfolkart.com. You'll find more local art at Zarks Gallery, (877) 540-9805; zarksgallery.com.

For lunch, try the Oasis, an "Ark-Mex" fusion cafe, (479) 253-0886. Later, relax on a tram tour, (479) 253-9572; eurekatrolley.org. Jovial guides dish local lore, and you'll get a great view of the Christ of the Ozarks statue rising above the trees, (800) 882-7529; www.greatpassionplay.com.

Enjoy a glass of wine on the patio at The Stone House, (479) 363-6411; The Stone House on Facebook, or sample a few varieties at Keels Creek Winery and Art Gallery, (479) 253-9463; keelscreek.com.

Italian food at Ermilio's is a must, (479) 253-8806; ermilios.com. Also try sesame encrusted goat cheese salad at Local Flavor, (479) 253-9522; localflavorcafe.net.

Heartstone Inn Bed and Breakfast is also a gem. Buy their cookbook to make the recipes at home. (800) 494-4921; heartstoneinn.com

Soak in Eureka Springs' history (literally!) at the Palace Hotel Bath House, (866) 946-0572; palacehotelbathhouse.com. Visitors love The Works, a sort of living history spa treatment including a soak in a claw-foot bath.

Your Two-Day Fall Fling: Day two

Mornings are absolutely peaceful at Thorncrown Chapel, (479) 253-7401; thorncrown.com. Commissioned by a retired local teacher in the 1970s, the glass-walled church sits in the woods a couple of miles west of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As you walk to the door, you can see right through to the trees beyond. Soaring gray beams evoke a Gothic cathedral; it's a modern riff on the medieval notion of columns leading eyes up to God. The architecture seems to melt away, leaving you in a gold-dappled glade with the tingly sense that heaven and earth merge when a breeze flutters the foliage.

A pretty 28-mile drive from town, the War Eagle Mill sells stone-ground baking mixes in cute calico bags. (479) 789-5343; wareaglemill.com

In neighboring Hobbs State Park, the paved Van Winkle Trail loops past an old sawmill, (479) 789-5000; arkansasstateparks.com. On the way back to town, stop in at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for rescued big cats, (479) 253-5841; turpentinecreek.org.

For dinner, the Cottage Inn Restaurant serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as Filet Dijonnaise-thin slices of beef filet, sautéed & topped with a tarragon mushroom & Dijon mustard cream sauce, served with mashed potatoes. It'll leave you craving one more day in Eureka Springs. (479) 253-5282; www.cottageinneurekaspgs.com

Basin Spring Park, Downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Come Visit Eureka Springs This Fall!


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