Tuesday, February 9, 2021, marked the end of the 2nd year for www.iloveureka.com I can hardly believe that in two short years, the blog has nearly 250 posts and 350 subscribers from all over the world (and it continues to grow.)
What a journey this has been for me but more so, how fulfilling to tell stories that connect us to Eureka Springs - the culture, community, history and vibrancy. For this year's Bloggyversary, I invite you, the reader, subscriber, friend to take a moment and think about a compelling story in your life that makes you absolutely light up. Challenge yourself to find a way to tell the story to someone. (I'd love to hear it! If you see me out and around, stop me and tell me your story.)
A really robust story can contain a strong message, entertain the masses or ignite a fire within the audience. As a former tourism professional working in human resources and entertainment management in Luxury Hotels/Resorts and Cruise Ships, respectively, I've taught staff, time and again that to create exceptional experiences for our guests, it is imperative to interact favorably with them and help them engage in the story of the experience, better yet, treat them so well that it creates a story for them to tell about their experience staying (or sailing) with us.
Many people think that the art of storytelling is something difficult and complex, reserved only for certain skilled members of society but many of us are gifted with the ability to do so, without even realizing it.
The power of a story is that it has the ability to connect people together on an emotional level.
Today, in honor of this Bloggyversary, I'd like to share with you, the story of how my partner, Jeff and I came to find, fall in love with and subsequently reside here in Eureka Springs.
Flashback to 2017. Dallas, Texas, USA.
My partner Jeff and I were working like dogs! Early into the office, and late out. Long days!
Jeff's birthday was coming up and he decided that he wanted to go somewhere new, somewhere North. I was taken aback by this because we're self-professed hot-weather weirdos and we usually ventured South whenever we decided to escape our life in Dallas for any kind of brief getaway. This time Jeff wanted to go North?
I found a place called Eureka Springs, he says.
That's ironic, I said. Did you find it, or did it find you?
Jeff said, ha, no, I found it. I was looking for diverse destinations North of Dallas and my search came upon Eureka Springs. It looks charming.
Jeff, I sounded skeptical, I don't recall much diversity in Oklahoma, whereabouts in Oklahoma is this place exactly? Jeff laughed and said, no it's in Arkansas.
Oh cool, I've never been to that state, I said. Tell me about it...
Jeff proceeded to tell me all about Eureka Springs, Arkansas and we planned our first visit for Summer Diversity August 4 - 6, 2017. We stayed at an adorable place called Hillside Haven. (pictured below.) This little bungalow has WOW-factor and the back patio has an outside hot tub. The kitchen is adorable but please know that there is no oven, just a microwave. When you visit Eureka Springs, consider booking Hillside Haven cottage.
Well, we got back to Dallas after that first, festive visit to Eureka Springs and we were hooked. Each evening, after cleaning up from dinner, we would engage in more and more robust discussions about this adorable place. It was like we both got infected with intense joy from just visiting once.
Then really strange things started happening. It was like the Universe was conspiring to keep us connected to Eureka Springs. One evening, we went to see a film at the Texas Theatre (this theatre gained historic significance because on November 22, 1963, this was the location of Lee Harvey Oswald's arrest.) I loved seeing indie films at this cool place.
Anyhow, we were there one evening watching an indie film titled, The Love Witch and the very first frame of the film comes up with a marquis that says - EUREKA!
Gobsmacked, we both looked at each other in awe!
Another incident happened to me at the Half Price Books Flagship Store in Dallas. I visited there often, I loved that place and I would buy, read and sell back books. It's a great business model. I went over to the periodicals section and started rifling through and came upon a magazine cover that featured Christ Of The Ozarks. I'd just seen that in Eureka weeks prior when we first visited. I opened the magazine and it was a full spread article about the wonderful diversity in Eureka Springs and what they do to cultivate and maintain diversity all year round. I took time to read the whole article and I fell more in love with this place.
I bought that magazine.
More strange coincidences, like those first two I mentioned, happened as time went on. We felt this tug, this pulling feeling that Eureka wanted us there.
Shortly after, we began planning our next trip to Eureka Springs, AR. Soon, we learned that there was another Diversity Weekend coming up in the Fall. So we booked it. That second visit took place from November 3-5, 2017.
Eureka Springs is absolutely stunning in the fall. This place comes more alive but in different ways.
Being from New England originally, I tend to be a bit of an autumn-snob, I must admit, but (drumroll please) Arkansas lives up to it's State motto - The Natural State.
Nature comes alive in Autumn here in Eureka Springs and the vibrant colors are magical to experience. While we fell hard for Eureka on our Summer visit in 2017, it was this Fall visit when we really started dating.
Watching Jeff fall deeper and deeper in love with Eureka Springs was so wonderful to me. Here's a photo of him looking out over Beaver Lake, basking in the beauty and pondering the future. He had no idea I snapped this at the time, but the setting was just too perfect to miss. It's become one of my favorite pictures.
Loving Eureka came easy to us both since the very first visit and this realization was when we started entering into discussions about possibly relocating here.
On this Autumn trip 2017, we stayed at Bella Paradiso. This place is cute and conveniently located to most everything downtown. Each unit is privately owned and most are booked through VRBO or AirBnB.
Now it's April 2018, and we're back again to meet our Real Estate Agent, Henry Thornton.
On this trip, we stayed at Scandia Inn Bed & Breakfast. It was delightful. The owner/operators took such good care of us and were giving us so much information from their experience living here. The people of this place are joyful. I needed to become part of this community. I could feel it in my heart.
Henry was gracious. He took us around on a tour of the area stopping us by three homes he wanted us to see in detail. Unanimously, the third home on East Mountain was IT!
As we pulled up, in Henry's car, Jeff and I looked at each other and said - this is it! We hadn't even been inside yet. It was like a crazy intuitive moment just came over us. I kept saying "Oh My God, this is it, this is it" as I walked down the stone steps, through the yard, and inside all the nooks and crannies of the home itself.
Henry says, OK, hold on, hold on, I have news about this house - (another drumroll) it's already under contract.
WHAT!? Wait, why would you show this to us as an option if it's not available, I exclaimed.
He said, I have insider real estate knowledge that the current contract negotiations are not going very well and the deal may dissolve. If you really want this house, you'll want to put an offer forward quickly to be considered if the current contract doesn't go forward.
It was like Eureka was giving us a chance to think about it all. She was saying, take the leap but be sure and think about it.
That's just what we did. We had discussions and we decided to place an offer on the house saying, if it is meant to be, it is meant to be. That was when Eureka's magic took hold. The offer dissolved, our offer was accepted and the relocation efforts were about to begin.
It was truly meant to be.
The next few weeks were a blur. We had yard sales, donation runs to give stuff away, as well as purging parties. Even after all that, we had too much stuff. Our Dallas house was 4 BR, 2.5 BA, 2276 SQFT and 2 car garage. The house Eureka is 3 BR, 2BA, 1380 SQFT 1 car garage. Ahhhhhh, how are we going to move all this stuff from a Texas-sized home to a mountain bungalow?
Well, it happened.
We're here and we're still falling for Eureka Springs more and more every day.
In just a short ten months, this decision hit us both in similar fashion and we were also quite stunned at how we both felt the tug, the pull as if Eureka's energy was guiding us here for this next life-chapter.
This was a crazy leap of faith that changed things for the better. We met Eureka Springs on August 4, 2017 and on June 2, 2018, we owned a piece of this beautiful place.
It is the love we have for Eureka Springs and all that it offers that continues to inspire this blog - www.iloveureka.com 💗 Happy 2 year Bloggyversary!