by Jose Kevo
December 13, 2005
If arriving from the east, drive onward to the western turn-off for entering downtown, which is threaded by Historic 62 Business Loop. The drive itself is one of Eureka Springs' greatest highlights, the way the narrow, winding road weaves down the mountain in dramatic fashion. The first half passes through residential neighborhoods filled with historic Victorian houses of various sizes, but all with great detail, especially around gingerbread-trimmed porches.
Perhaps need for stopping will arise since the majority of homes are doubling as B&B's or small shops and gathering places. The only thing more abundant than advertisements in yards will be real estate signs. If you're in the market, it would appear half the town is For Sale thanks to a very high cost of local living that depends upon seasonal income for maintaining structures according to historic preservation codes.
The Crescent Hotel is the halfway point, where a sharp turn to the left plunges downhill through forest, bluffs, and first of the natural springs. Unfortunately, there's no place for pulling over to gain a closer look. However, as clearings begin to open, glance back uphill. It's rather astounding how all those houses, which appear single-story from the street, actually have two or more floors built below ground level, extending down the mountain slope.
Once coming to what claims to be the World's Largest Frog Museum, positioned across from a massive bluff with colorful gardens and another bubbling spring, keep eyes peeled for street parking. Otherwise, you'll need wait until reaching the valley floor, where the downtown is centered. This brief mile stretch of Spring Street is lined with specialty shops, galleries, and cafés.
I don't recall ever making purchases, but no trip has ever lacked browsing, even if only remarveling the wall-to-wall stores stacked down side of the mountain. The historic structures have been fully restored with wrought-iron balconies, stained-glass windows, and sweeping porches all but resembling a hillbilly French Quarters. Added adventure comes from taking side staircases and walkways that conceal other businesses on lower levels.
From journal Town & Country in the Ozarks' Alps