Overrated | Underrated
Overrated | HOT SPRINGS, AR
This past weekend, January 17-20, 2020, I visited, for the first time, Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Just 55 miles from Little Rock, Hot Springs boasts a prime weekend getaway destination for families, couples, or single travelers and offers a variety of great eats, local treats, and, of course, the natural hot springs.
Hot Springs, in all the marketing flourish, has something to offer every visitor; the nature lover is said to find hours of enjoyment, as will the historian, the antique shopper, and the shopaholic.
Most of the attractions are found right on Central Avenue in the historic district. In this central area, there are hiking trails leading up the mountain, arts events like the documentary film festival, shopping, visitor information centers, and what Hot Springs is most famous for — the bathhouses on Bathhouse Row. Hot Springs National Park, nicknamed “The American Spa,” occupies the northern end of Hot Springs, Arkansas and boasts dozens of mineral-rich natural baths.
People visit Hot Springs to visit the natural baths.
During the "gangster era" of the 1920s and 30s, the spas were frequented by Al Capone, Frank Costello, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano and other infamous mobsters. Even the most notorious of the bunch knew where find a good mud mask.
In short, when most tourists think of visiting Arkansas, like the infamous gangsters once did, they usually think of Hot Springs and I do recommend it. But, if you ask me, and I am a little biased, I think it's overrated.
Yes. I visited there once.
There. Done. Check. ✅
Underrated | EUREKA SPRINGS, AR
An arts-focused community nestled in Arkansas' Ozark Mountains, Eureka Springs, the place I happen to call home (hence the bias), is also home to more than 350 working artists, performers and musicians. Our quaint town has 15+ spas and 30+ art galleries and not a single stop light.
Is this not impressive for a town just shy of seven square miles?
Eureka Springs can satisfy anyone’s appetite for everything from down home southern food to romantic, candlelit dinners. Award-winning restaurants serve savory Czech-German dishes, authentic Italian cuisine and spicy East Indian fare. You'll find Mediterranean, Chinese, Irish, Mexican, Cajun, and Thai as well. You can also dine on a dining car at Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway.
In Eureka Springs, you can stay in a hobbit cave, a castle, a Victorian B&B, a caboose or even a treehouse.
For most mountain bikers around the USA, the explosion of new, creative and innovative mountain bike trails in Arkansas may appear to be an overnight success story. However, the growth that we have experienced here in The Natural State in the construction of new trail systems over the past two years has actually been decades in the making.
Here in Eureka Springs, our very own Lake Leatherwood Gravity Trails Project (LLGTP) is a great destination. Bikers flock from all over the world to visit these trails. Read more about our exceptional trails here.
Standup paddle boarding is frequently called SUP and is an ideal sport to learn on flat bodies of water and provides the sensation of walking on water. The main difference between surfing and SUPing is that the paddler doesn’t need a wave. A standup paddler can quickly and easily travel across open waters and rivers. https://www.sup-outfitters.com/
Experience the history, beauty, and charm of our Victorian Village. With over 100 unique shops & galleries, Eureka Springs is a shopper’s paradise. Relax at one of the numerous spas around the city or visit a 500-acre wildlife refuge. Take a 2-hour zipline tour through an Ozark Mountain forest, ride a steam train, or explore an area cavern. In the evening take in music or a magic show or The Great Passion Play.
Lastly, the entire city of Eureka Springs is on the National Register of Historic Places entered into the Register as the Eureka Springs Historic District. Eureka Springs has been selected as one of America's Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
I visited there once.
I went back two more times.
On the third visit, I found a real estate agent.
I moved. I'm settled. I'm happy.
There. Done. Check. ✅ <wink>