Written by sasha1 on 01 Aug, 2012
Your first stop in Eureka Springs should be the trolley depot to purchase your all day pass which will become your best friend when you tire of the steep and uneven hills of Eureka Springs. Regardless of their inarguable charm the streets of this…Read More
Your first stop in Eureka Springs should be the trolley depot to purchase your all day pass which will become your best friend when you tire of the steep and uneven hills of Eureka Springs. Regardless of their inarguable charm the streets of this town will give hikers a workout. Prepare for very uneven curbs and sidewalks and inclines. Fair warning.Once again Arkansas took me by surprise with both its history and diversity. If you visit Crystal Bridges, Eureka Springs is a short detour and well worth the trip.The healing waters of Eureka Springs have been valued since Indians inhabited the area and a little Indian princess had her sight restored by the waters of the Basin Spring. A hotel of the same name is a lovely stop when you are downtown. When Dr. Jackson's son also was cured of sight problems he established a practice there.This town flies plenty of rainbow flag, sports a quirky sense of humor, and between the residents and the lovely Painted Ladies I wondered if Height Ashbury had time traveled. Downtown is full of shops where along with the usual tourist funk you'll find art work, unique jewelry, tempting local gourmet specialties, lots of interesting stores to browse and lots of good places to have a snack or a drink and interesting history. Take your time. The architecture is gorgeous ...and I mentioned the gingerbread painted ladies. You'll see numerous houses and B&Bs that are three and four stories tall because of the steep grades. After you've shopped and snacked downtown you might want to continue on to visit the 1886 Crescent Hotel where some guests have supposedly stayed waaay beyond their check out time and if you are lucky you might see them on a haunted tour.You can navigate (think lots of steep stairs) from the back of the Crescent to the lovely Catholic Chapel where the sun streams thru stained glass. We didn't get to see the Thorncrown Chapel as it closed early the day we were there but if you have a chance this should also be on your do list. The Basin Hotel downtown is the perfect place to stop to relax and have a drink while overlooking the bustling tourist trade or listen to live music from street musicians to porch bands. There are tons of places to stay in the area from the romantic Crescent to B&B's with overhanging porches that will leave you a little light headed and motels, cabin rentals, and camping. We camped and made reservations the day ahead at the KOA with no problem at all. Along with all the time you'll enjoy in town there's festivals, horseback riding, music, historical events, water activities and much more. You might want to visit http://www.eurekasprings.com/ for a starting place. Close
Written by Eric from Aiea on 11 Apr, 2009
One of the best things about a stay in Fort Smith is that you are near so much that the Ozarks and the Boston Mountains have to offer. There are ample places that you can go within but an hour drive for hiking and camping,…Read More
One of the best things about a stay in Fort Smith is that you are near so much that the Ozarks and the Boston Mountains have to offer. There are ample places that you can go within but an hour drive for hiking and camping, and then there are the really beautiful mountain streams. Of many choices , one of the best places to go is the free flowing Mulberry River, about a 25 minute drive from Fort Smith that has no dam impeding its flow down to the Arkansas River. The Mulberry River flows through both Johnson and Franklin Counties in northwestern Arkansas in the Ozarks. The river flows northeast-to-southwest in the mountain areas to the north of the Arkansas River and west of Big Piney Creek through the spectacular scenery of the Ozark National Forest. The river is popular for Spring and early summer and Fall canoeing, kayaking and rafting and is very popular for swimming and fishing in the Summer. The water temperatures run cool to cold through the end of Spring.The Mulberry is definitely one of the southern USA's most scenic rivers that looks today very much as it has for thousands of years. It is also unique in that it can be explored from both water and from the land. This area of the Ozarks was popular with French fur trappers and hunters long before the first American pioneers traversed the area in the early 1800s. With its thick woods and fresh water, it was a key area in northwest Arkansas from which both Confederate and Union guerillas bands and irregulars made camp and launched attacks on both the Union and Confederate Armies and their supply lines and the civilian population during the Civil War. The Confederates lost the Northwestern part of Arkansas after the battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove. For Swimming, there are few greater places to go during the hot Arkansas summers than to the area of high rock bluffs at the Bluff Hole Park on the Mulberry. Located off the Mulberry exit on I-40, it offers a great place for the whole family to go swimming in the clear and cool waters along the bluffs of the river. The area around Bluff Hole is perfect for summertime inter-tube rides as well from points up river that are accessible by road. The summertime water flow of the river is usually pretty low – and that makes for the great swimming area.Extremely popular for canoe float trips, the river can usually be traveled from around October until roughly mid-June with the better water levels and weather conditions running from mid-March to mid-June. The optimal float time is when the river is at 2.5 feet. You are better off not planning a float trip during July through September due to excessively low water, though a heavy local rainfall can change that in a minute and create a day or two of very good canoeing. (The harder to get too Buffalo River National Wilderness area has better summer time floating). Summertime is better for the swimming and some really great bass fishing.Winter and spring rains, however, can make the river too dangerous to canoe or kayak, so conditions should always be checked when planning a trip. Do not try to do a float of the river when it is at flood stage – even if you are an expert in white water and self recovery. Check the site at Turner Bend for the latest conditions and for rentals. http://www.turnerbend.com/river_gauge.html Close
Written by callen60 on 07 Apr, 2006
Ending hunger,Caring for the EarthHeifer International Project is a terrific organization that focuses on helping families by providing long-term resources rather than short-term aid. Heifer helps people where they live, with livestock, animals, and training for long-term support, and asking those who’ve been helped to…Read More
Ending hunger,Caring for the EarthHeifer International Project is a terrific organization that focuses on helping families by providing long-term resources rather than short-term aid. Heifer helps people where they live, with livestock, animals, and training for long-term support, and asking those who’ve been helped to "pass on the gift" to others when their animals give birth. Over the last six decades, Heifer has changed the lives of over four million people all over the world. Our family has been a supporter for 6 years now. Their new headquarters are in a beautiful green (that is, LEED-certified) building in central Little Rock, but the Heifer Ranch near Perryville is as good a place as any to learn about how they operate (and more fun besides).It’s about a 40-mile drive from downtown Little Rock. Most of it is along Highway 10 after leaving I-430, a pretty trip through the forest near Pinnacle Mountain and Lake Maumelle. The 2-mile² ranch used to be a main center for raising and then shipping heifers overseas to raise the living standards of families in need. That idea came from the mind of Dan West, who (as I learned from quickly perusing a biography in the bookstore) was a provocative and sometimes challenging mixture of equal parts dreamer and doer. While passing out milk for Brethren World Service (an outreach effort of the church of the same name), he realized that these children needed cows, not milk. In 1944, Heifers for Relief sent its first animals to Puerto Rico. Many shipments to post-war Europe followed, and soon the Heifer Project was conducting similar efforts all over the globe.This ranch was the starting point. Until the early 1980s, animals left here for families all over the globe. At that point, Heifer realized that it was both more efficient and more effective to purchase animals closer to their final destination. The ranch lives on as a learning center, staffed by long-term volunteers who give tours, explain Heifer’s approach, and share their passion for this work. Many of the programs in place around the world are demonstrated here, from organic farming to animal husbandry to low-cost, high-quality housing construction.This is a great place for people of all ages. We started in the small home that houses the visitors center. We watched an introductory video, which showed how Beatrice Biira, a 9-year-old Ugandan girl, was able to start school in 1991 when a Heifer goat allowed her family to sell the milk and send the children to school. Beatrice is now 20, attending college in the U.S., and preparing to return to her country to continue helping her neighbors. Our host—a woman from southwestern Minnesota, who comes down with her husband twice a year to work here for 3 months—then toured us around the Ranch on a 30-minute hayride, explaining how each part of the farm exhibited Heifer’s work around the world. We saw several dozen women from all over the country there for "Lambing Weekend", helping with the new sheep and goats (our timing was great!). Our trailer full of kids (and adults) loved the animals, which range from chicken, ducks, goats, rabbits and sheep to camels and water buffalo. But the older kids and adults (in addition to enjoying the animals) found a lot to learn. The Heifer Global Village, laid out around a modest-sized pond, showed how people in Zambia, Guatemala, and other countries may live. We finished with a half-hour in the gift store, which features crafts and foods from around the world, purchased from their makers at fair trade prices. This visit was a terrific way to finish our short spring trip. My kids are dying to come back and help make a difference by working here. You can’t ask for more out of a vacation.To learn more about Heifer, visit their website. It includes directions to the Heifer Ranch, which (as their site notes) should be relied upon instead of using some on-line map services. The best advice is: look for the signs. It’s pretty easy to find (the signs are large). Close
We drove down from Missouri on a beautiful spring afternoon. From Little Rock, you can take I-30 to US 70, which pleasantly winds through the moderately hilly pine-covered countryside. The city of Hot Springs is centered around the narrow gap between Hot Springs and West…Read More
We drove down from Missouri on a beautiful spring afternoon. From Little Rock, you can take I-30 to US 70, which pleasantly winds through the moderately hilly pine-covered countryside. The city of Hot Springs is centered around the narrow gap between Hot Springs and West Mountains and spills out to the north and south. That narrow band of city actually splits the National Park, giving it the shape of a long, thin 'C' opening to the south. Due to a premature exit, we actually circled all the way around through the eastern portion of the park on Highway 7, and approached central Hot Springs from the north.This was one of America’s first resort towns. It began as a site for pilgrims in search of better health, despite its exceedingly remote location in the western wilderness of the early 19th century. Before the railroad, just the trip from Little Rock was 10 hours. When the steel rails improved its accessibility, bathhouses sprang up like mushrooms along the edge of Hot Springs Mountain, and the town enjoyed a wild-west-like reputation.Little is left of that period. The Hot Springs of today largely dates from the first half of the 20th century, the second generation of buildings constructed by a new ethos: to make this central Arkansas town the equivalent of the European resort spas of Baden-Baden and its like. An incongruity, perhaps, but the feeling is that they nearly succeeded. At least in downtown Hot Springs. Along Central Avenue and Bathhouse Row, you can see the landmarks of that era. The bathhouses themselves, the Arlington Hotel, the Majestic: these places point back to an era of opulence and extravagance. The racetrack (Oaklawn) came in 1904 but came back to life in 1934, another peg in constructing a spa lifestyle around the springs themselves: nightlife, golfing, horseback riding and racing. In their post-WWII heyday, the bathhouses gave 1,000,000 baths per year. But by the 1970s, when the therapeutic effects of bathing were less evident—and as other resort options burgeoned around the country—most bathhouses had closed.The central part of Hot Springs really reminded me of Florida’s older resort towns. The architecture dates from the same period, built when the town was one of the first places the nation came purely for relaxation: sort of a pre-Las Vegas or Atlantic City. The northern part of the city is clearly poorer, which also reminded me of the contrast between the strip in Atlantic City and the neighborhoods behind it.Much of the new development is south. Oaklawn race track is on Central Avenue, 3 miles past the bathhouses, and the major hotel and restaurant chains have built even further south, near the exit off of 270. That’s where we spent the night, at the Hampton Inn. This area feels just like any other similar cluster of development off any other freeway in America.That’s certainly not true for the city itself. And although Hot Springs’ construction shows its age, that could work to its advantage. The bathhouses, at least externally, are still in great shape, and walking down Central Avenue in front of and then behind them (along the Grand Promenade) is a wonderful trip. The Arlington and Majestic Hotels certainly appear to be solid and attractive enough for a comeback (although reviews on their current state is mixed). With interest in spas on the rise, there’s no reason Hot Springs can’t return. Although only one bathhouse currently operates (the Buckstaff, at the southern end of the Row), another is scheduled to open soon. Central Avenue is already a pleasant mix of interesting shops and typical tourist stuff, and the area appears to have a number of good restaurants. My wife and I both thought we might come back for a getaway sans children. When we do, we’ll look to stay downtown. Close
Written by btwood2 on 27 Feb, 2005
The sun was almost penetrating the autumn Ozark mist as we looped around yet another turn on exceedingly curvy old Prospect Road on the Historic Loop around Eureka Springs. Suddenly, high on West (or Crescent) Mountain, we found ourselves at the entrance of imposing…Read More
The sun was almost penetrating the autumn Ozark mist as we looped around yet another turn on exceedingly curvy old Prospect Road on the Historic Loop around Eureka Springs. Suddenly, high on West (or Crescent) Mountain, we found ourselves at the entrance of imposing Crescent Hotel gardens and grounds. A surge of expectation and excitement went through me, as I’d read the hotel was supposed to be haunted. Bob does not believe in ghosts but badly needed to use the bathroom, so we quickly parked, and as he strode purposefully into the lobby, I meandered around the perimeter of the Crescent, taking it in slowly. The large Victorian hotel, completed in 1886, has been renovated but still holds an aura of the elegance of days gone by. A large metal crescent moon stands on an ivied trickling fountain in front of the entrance. A plaque near the entrance informs that the hotel was constructed of limestone quarried from nearby White River. Irish masons fitted the Crescent’s 18-inch thick walls without mortar. Towers, balconies, and chimneys abound in a busy architectural style of some question, but undoubtedly Victorian, combining Gothic and Chateauesque elements.
The Crescent has a mysterious and varied past. For its first 20 years, it flourished, easily attracting and filled by tourists and health seekers. No wonder, for besides its imposing exterior and luxurious rooms, it enjoyed all the modern conveniences of its time, such as electric lights and indoor bathrooms and plumbing. Business started to slide somewhat, though, and in 1908, the Crescent underwent a yearly transformation at summer’s end, becoming the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women during the school year. High tuition charged to these wealthy young ladies was not enough to pay for running, heating, and keeping the Crescent in tip-top shape, and she continued her decline. The college closed for good during the Depression but was occasionally leased as a summer resort.
Enter "Dr." Baker. In 1937, the Crescent was bought by a dubious character named Norman Baker, who’d been run out of Iowa for practicing medicine without a license. He had no medical training but claimed to have a surefire cure for cancer: his own home remedies augmented by Eureka Springs spring water. At best, his "cures" did no harm, and the pure water and mountain air could have been healthful for his cancer patients. At worst, the tales whispered about this man paint him as an insane killer. There are rumors about surgical experiments on his patients that killed them, after which he would either incinerate their bodies or "bury" them within the walls of the Crescent. It’s said that human skeletons have been found inside the walls during remodeling over the years. Others whose death was impending were transferred to an asylum, with an admitting diagnosis of "insanity" rather than cancer to hide the fact that he wasn’t curing anyone. Whether there’s any truth to these tales isn’t known, but these two facts are true: 1.) Norman Baker was charged and convicted of mail fraud and false medical claims in 1940 and served 4 years in Leavenworth Prison. 2.) Norman Baker had terrible taste in interior decorating and fashion. During his residence in the Crescent, he tore out wooden hand rails and balconies; painted the woodwork bright red, orange, yellow and black; and decorated his penthouse and himself in shades of purple and lavender.
Crescent Reborn: The Crescent was closed until 1946, when efforts were made by investors to reestablish the venerable old building as a hotel. I wasn’t able to find much documentation of the goings-on at the Crescent for the next 50 years, but somehow it remained standing, a credit to its sturdy construction. In 1997, Marty and Elise Roenigk, a most interesting couple from Ohio in "semi-retirement" purchased both the Crescent and downtown Basin Park Hotel. Marty is chairman and CEO of highly successful CompuDyne security systems and collects and deals in mechanical musical instruments. The Roenigks apparently have the resources, capital, and vision to return both hotels to their full original glory. New Moon Spa on the ground floor of the Crescent provides a wide range of treatments, including two types of water massage, Hydrotone Therapy Tub ($60) and Vichy Shower ($55), and even a heated bubbling volcanic ash mud treatment ($30). The 68 guest rooms have been renovated with new wiring, plumbing, beds, and carpeting, done using traditional Victorian features and color schemes. The skyline of the hotel, which had been damaged by fire in the 1960s, has been restored to its original appearance, including a crescent moon weather vane and lightning rod.
And that’s not all… Before digressing along historical lines, I left myself standing by the entrance marveling and trying to pick up ghostly vibes. Far from being a ghost hunter or avid believer, I’m open to all possibilities and just try to stay attuned to them. Indoors, I walked up to the lobby desk and asked about nightly rates (from $159 to $279 for a Jacuzzi suite) and casually inquired about ghostly presences. The young desk clerk answered she hadn’t noticed anything even though she’d spent the night here several times. As I looked around, my gaze was caught by the lovely furnishings, elegant velvety chairs, rich burnished glossy wood antiques, and intricately cast black iron gas heaters against wall. The color scheme in the large lobby consisted of rose, maroon, and an indefinable almost-teal blue. Playful, friendly live cats added the perfect accent. Too bad it wasn’t time for us to eat. The Crystal Dining Room looked so inviting. I perused the menus for lunch and dinner. Lunch examples: artichoke and cheese quesadilla, $4.95; Ozark trout cakes, $7.95. Dinner was very gourmet-sounding. My pick would have been quail stuffed with caramelized leeks and wild mushrooms, $19. But I was getting too hungry too fast, so I tore myself away from there and continued on through the lobby out back.
Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church: Imagine my surprise after stepping outside, walking down the steps across the lawn, to find I was practically standing on top of a church. Saint Elizabeth’s, just down slope east of the Crescent, has made Ripley’s Believe It or Not fame because the entrance is in the bell tower. The red-tiled roof, round dome with cross, many archways, and beautiful stained-glass windows make this a very soothing and pleasant church to visit. Entering through the bell tower, you walk down an outdoor ramp with statuettes of the Stations of the Cross to your right. In the gardens around the church are many more statues looking very natural among ferns, flowers, bushes, and trees.
Ghostly presences had not yet been felt, but ascending the hill from Saint Elizabeth’s, I came to a gazebo below the Crescent’s back balconies. Next to the gazebo was an unusual sight: a brightly colored bathrobe sash tied in a knot and loop from a tree limb at eye-level. On the stone bench next to the gazebo, someone had left a full bag of Bugler tobacco. My attention kept being drawn up to the Crescent, to the windows in the annex next to the balconies. I began to feel almost like I was being watched. There were very few others around on this cool, misty afternoon. I stood there wondering why the sash, why the tobacco, in an otherwise immaculately kept garden. No idea… ghost or trickster, I’ll never know.
Who are these ghosts? Eureka Springs Ghost Tours, with an office in suite no. 212 of the Crescent, will eagerly provide you with the tools to make your own conclusions about the hauntings and paranormal events that apparently have taken place with great regularity at the Crescent. Their Crescent Hotel Tour ($15, adults; $7, children) will even take you down to the basement room that served as a morgue in Doctor Baker’s Cancer Cure Hospital and tell you about the veritable army of ghosts that make appearances here. One is a stonecutter who fell to his death while working on building the hotel where room no. 218 is now. He makes the most appearances, and room 218 is the most requested room in the hotel. A middle-aged man with a mustache and beard, dressed in formal clothing, is often seen sitting quietly in the lobby and bar areas, suddenly disappearing. Sometimes a nurse is seen wheeling a gurney down the hallways. Guests have given countless reports of strong feelings of being watched, unexplainable footsteps when no one was there, doors opening and closing, flashing and fluttering lights, and objects being moved, even broken. Ghost guides explain that ghosts return to places they liked best, or to places where they need to resolve something that happened while they were alive. We could certainly have stayed longer to continue exploring this fascinating hotel and surroundings, and it was with some regret that we got back in our car to continue on the Historic Loop.
Written by Ben the Grate on 05 Mar, 2002
The first settlers in the Buffalo River country came primarily from the southern Appalachians and early records show they were establishing homes here as early as 1825. They were a rugged, self-sufficient group. They had to be. Those who find driving the winding mountain roads…Read More
The first settlers in the Buffalo River country came primarily from the southern Appalachians and early records show they were establishing homes here as early as 1825. They were a rugged, self-sufficient group. They had to be. Those who find driving the winding mountain roads tortuous today might attempt to visualize what it was like to cross them with all you owned in the world loaded on a wagon pulled by a team of oxen and only vague trails to follow through the forest.
Towns sprang up early. Records show Jasper was an established town by 1840. One of the first residents was John M. Ross, a Choctaw, who became postmaster in 1843, when Jasper was made the first post office in Newton County. His salary for the year of 1845 was $7.09.
Despite their isolation, the early settlers were not untouched by the Civil War. The Confederacy mined bat guano from the big cave on Cave Mountain in the Boxley Valley, which they used to make gunpowder. In fact, it was estimated that half the gunpowder the Confederacy used during the war came from this cave on the Buffalo River.
The rugged terrain kept Ozarks settlers isolated and it was an isolation that endured almost up to the beginning of World War I. Before the advent of tourists and television, there were speech patterns, songs, and traditions carried into the hills that gradually evolved into their own unique colloquial culture, much of it influenced by the highly superstitious slave culture. Thus "Ozark voodoo" came into being, and the obscure concept of "woodswomen" (practicers of nature-based magic, sometimes evil) was introduced to modern mythology.
Today in Jasper you still run across people who embody this unique isolated culture with its bizarre words and affinity for home-made everything. But it is only when you get out in the "hills" on the backroads and trails that you catch any glimpse of the "Ozark voodoo." It will likely vanish entirely within a decade.
Electricity did not reach the area until the 1930s and one of the greatest changes it brought was the radio (many residents in these hills still have no television, but radios are plentiful). The outside world had found the Ozarks at last.
Written by Arlys on 16 Aug, 2008
Los Lagos at Hot Springs Village is a great timeshare resort for a relaxing vacation...the 2 bedroom, end unit villa we had was really great! Very spacious....and an atrium at its entrance, added to its appeal a lot! The rear deck was very…Read More
Los Lagos at Hot Springs Village is a great timeshare resort for a relaxing vacation...the 2 bedroom, end unit villa we had was really great! Very spacious....and an atrium at its entrance, added to its appeal a lot! The rear deck was very enjoyable, too, with a table and chairs....a nice place to sip your morning coffee! And the view from the deck was one of the resort's swimming pools...about 150 yards away!The Unit was very spacious, with the master bedroom and bath on one end, and the second bedroom and bath on the other end. The master bath has a large jacuzzi tub, and a "standing room only" shower.The living room is large, with very comfy couches and a big fireplace...which we didn't use in the middle of July, of course!The dining room table sits 6, and the dining room is just off the full - and very adequate - kitchen! You can get to the long rear deck from either the sliding dining room door or the kitchen door. The deck has a lattice railing ~ all the way across its width ~ except where there are a couple of steps that take you out onto the grounds...and over to that swimming pool!We were at our area pool several times during our week, met some very friendly folks...and the water was pleasantly warm to the touch!The resort is gated around the clock, and there's good dining right in Hot Springs Village, including a great Italian place! The Chinese restaurant - the Great Wall Buffet - is really good too!The resort holds a continental breakfast at the Los Lagos Resort Clubhouse - which consists of donuts and rolls - for one hour on Monday mornings. The gal heading up the "informational talk" to the guests, is very good, very thorough - and very likeable! You can sign up for some of the activities for the week during this hour.We had two very good dining experiences at a high caliber place near the De Soto golf course. Golf is big at HSV ~ there are several courses! There is a big tennis club too. And the lakes are many ~ nine, I think, total! Our pontoon boat ride on Lake De Soto was an hour very well spent! The trails are many, too.......I enjoyed the trail along the shore of Lake De Soto very much......what views!On Friday afternoons, there's a pie and ice cream social held at the Los Lagos Clubhouse! Don't want to miss that! This was a superb timeshare exchange for us, and - given the opportunity - we'll return to Hot Springs Village some day! The city of Hot Springs, 20 miles to the south, is a very historic one. It has a very vibrant downtown ~ expect to have lots of fun here ~ i.e., viewing the row of bath houses, ONE is open to the public...it's for your use...and pleasure! Just walk in, and see what it's all about! There's a short film that's shown inside, telling the history of Hot Springs...and its bath houses! And you can buy a souvenir mug of Hot Springs for only $1.95!There are many unique shops and boutiques to browse, and the entrance to Hot Springs National Park - which you don't want to miss - is "just up the way"...a winding road takes you up to the top, where there's a lovely gift shop...AND a tower to go up to ~ and get great views from!Obviously, this was a week we will always remember with great affection! Close
Written by callen60 on 06 Apr, 2006
Arkansas clearly remembers and celebrates native son Bill Clinton. Hot Springs notes its role as "President Bill Clinton’s boyhood home," but that’s nothing compared to Little Rock. Clinton served six 2-year terms as governor here, starting at the young age of 32, and honed his…Read More
Arkansas clearly remembers and celebrates native son Bill Clinton. Hot Springs notes its role as "President Bill Clinton’s boyhood home," but that’s nothing compared to Little Rock. Clinton served six 2-year terms as governor here, starting at the young age of 32, and honed his considerable political skills throughout this small state.The Old State House (scene of the memorable 1992 election night celebration) and other Little Rock places contain exhibits, videos, banners, posters or other acknowledgements of the 42nd president. But the centerpiece of all this remembrance is the recently finished Clinton Presidential Center, in the River Market district just east of central downtown and right off I-30. Located on a large, riverside property cleared of abandoned warehouses, the complex contains the Museum itself, the archives of Clinton’s presidential papers, and (in a restored 1899 brick-red train station), the Clinton School of Public Service of the University of Arkansas. All these are centered in a large park, with green expanse to either side of the museum, filled with newly planted trees that will in time make this a great place to walk.The Museum is a three-story, modern metal and glass rectangle. The northern end is cantilevered out towards the Arkansas River, a suggestion of the "Bridge to the 21st Century" theme of the second campaign and presidency. The building won the Honor Award of the American Institute of Architects, and it is indeed impressive. A green building with LEED Silver certification, reused, recycled and low-impact materials are used throughout (including bamboo and rubber for the floors, aluminum in the wall coverings).We arrived after lunch. Despite the gray, drizzly weather, there was a sizable crowd. Entering on the first floor, we passed through the now ubiquitous metal detectors and purchased our tickets at the first floor desk. This level is mostly devoted to entry; the only exhibit is the Presidential Fleetwood Limousine with a small display on the history of presidential cars and the Secret Service. In the basement is Café 42, which closed by 3pm the day we were there.The exhibits are on the second and third floors. Echoing the construction of the White House, each floor contains an oval room directly under (or over) the one on the neighboring level. On floor two, that space is a small auditorium where a short film on Clinton’s life and presidency—narrated by Clinton—shows all day. It’s introduced by one of the docents, who said, in his mild Arkansas drawl, "I guarantee, you’re gonna like it." We did.We then spent the rest of our time in the exhibits. Just north of the theatre is a re-creation of the Cabinet Room. At the seat of each Cabinet member is an interactive video screen (used repeatedly, and to good effect, throughout the museum) that allows you to read about issues in each policy area and the process through which they were addressed. Running down the remainder of this floor is a long center display that moves linearly through the 8 years of Clinton’s presidency. On one side are events, issues and accomplishments for the year, augmented by more interactive displays. Filed in a series of notebooks at each station are the Presidential schedules for each day of that year, which are really interesting to page through. On the reverse of this display are interactive screens that access the same schedules, along with copies of letters from or to celebrities, heads of state, and others from the 8-year Presidency. Detailed exhibits on issues such as the economy, the Middle East, education, the environment and others flank this central row on both sides.The third floor is more about the pomp and circumstance of the presidency and the stories of the Clintons themselves. The third floor oval is (like the Cabinet Room) an exact re-creation of the Clinton Oval Office. You can only look in from several openings, but screens at each one allow you to examine the history and origin of the objects within (or to take a guided tour of any White House room with Bill or Hillary). An exhibit on Clinton and music opened recently, highlighting music at the White House, music throughout his life, instruments given to him, etc., making it feel a little like a Hard Rock Café.There’s too much here to take in during one visit. As interested as I was in this president, and in my first visit to a presidential library, I felt a little overwhelmed. If you’re coming for the first time, try to think of a time period or an issue that you’d like to learn more about. That would keep you from wandering aimlessly and feeling like you were never going to get the most out of your trip. Or maybe that’s just a risk for ‘completists’ like me.The Museum is at 1200 President Clinton Avenue, just east of I-30, and is open 9-5 everyday but Sunday (1 pm to 5 pm). Parking is free; admission is $7 ($3 for kids). From I-30, take exit 141A (Markham St.). The Museum store is a few blocks west at 610 President Clinton Avenue; it’s just a short walk, but there's also a free shuttle. The store opens one hour after the Museum, and closes at 5:30 each day. Close
Written by turf2 on 11 Feb, 2005
The Heifer Ranch is an international oasis tucked away in tiny Perryville (pronounced prvl by locals, population 4,700) about 50 miles west of Little Rock on Highway 10.
Background: Heifer International is a non-profit organization headquartered in Little Rock with over 400 projects in more…Read More
The Heifer Ranch is an international oasis tucked away in tiny Perryville (pronounced prvl by locals, population 4,700) about 50 miles west of Little Rock on Highway 10.
Background: Heifer International is a non-profit organization headquartered in Little Rock with over 400 projects in more than 50 countries. It is dedicated to fighting world hunger and poverty by using livestock and sustainable agriculture to help people help themselves. Participants receive animals to improve family health and income and make the gift last by passing on offspring to other families in the community.
The ranch: The 1,200 acre ranch was purchased in the 1970s and used as a distribution center to raise and ship livestock. Recently, however, Heifer has begun purchasing animals near project sites, which makes for healthier animals and stimulates local economies. The ranch has been converted into a dynamic educational facility.
Activities: The ranch is home to a wide variety of livestock, including llamas, camels, and water buffalo, and the more pedestrian cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs. A Global Village offers a glimpse into what life is like in different regions of the world, while Cottage Industries demonstrates how families can use value-added products like cheese and candles to increase income. Short tours are available for drop-in visitors (a small donation is requested), or call ahead (501/889-5124).
Schools, churches, and other community groups can schedule half-day field trips that include a chance to milk goats and make bricks. Groups may also opt to learn about sustainable agriculture in EARTH class, work on team-building on the ropes course, spend a day in someone else's shoes learning about world resource distribution by staying overnight in the global village, or spend 2 or 3 nights in the brand-new Global Village Two.
The ranch is staffed largely by volunteers who range in age from 18 to 80 and live on site in volunteer housing. A variety of volunteer opportunities are available for anyone over 18 years old, and as someone who volunteered at the ranch for 8 months, I highly recommend it.
Written by mdnjs on 21 Jan, 2006
When preparing for this trip, I had read somewhere that going to Hot Springs without going to the bathhouse is like going to Egypt without seeing the pyramids. So, we decided it was worth a visit. We both like history, and what better way to…Read More
When preparing for this trip, I had read somewhere that going to Hot Springs without going to the bathhouse is like going to Egypt without seeing the pyramids. So, we decided it was worth a visit. We both like history, and what better way to learn about it than to experience it?
After registering for our treatments, I was whisked away up an old elevator to the second story and my fiancé was taken to the men’s rooms. Therefore, I will only be able to tell about the women’s facilities. Upon arriving at the second floor, I was shown to my locker and was told to completely undress and that she would be back with a bathing sheet. This was the point were I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Going into this, I really had no idea what to expect. However, I did as I was told. The attendant came back and wrapped me in a sheet that looked similar to a toga when she had was finished.
The wait for the bath was 20 to 30 minutes, so in the meantime I sat by the windows and just looked at the sights. In about 25 minutes the bathing attendant called my name and I went back to the bathing area. Each tub is in a separate “closet” with a sheet that covers the opening so no one else can see you. After getting over the initial shock of someone else seeing me without my clothes, I sat back and relaxed and enjoyed the whirlpool. In about 20 minutes, the bathing attendant came back and scrubbed me with the loofah sponge. I was then escorted to the sitz tubs, where I sat down in a small tub of very warm water. It is supposed to help with lower back pain. This time, there wasn’t a sheet to cover the door, but they do place a towel over you so others can’t see you. After 10 minutes in the sitz tub, I was moved to the vapor/steam closet. This was the hottest part of the entire process. Thankfully, I only had to stay in there for a few minutes. Then I was able to lay down on a padded table, and they asked me where I would like the hot towels (hot packs) to be placed. I chose one for ,y back. They also put a cool towel around your face, so it has a very neat effect. The last step was the needle shower, which lasted about 2 minutes. It was basically a shower surrounded by pipes that have holes in them to squirt the water out. It was really relaxing.
We chose not to do the massages due to time constraints, but if we had, this would have been the appropriate time for them. I was then able to go back and get dressed. Buckstaff provides hair dryers for you to fix your hair if you need to. Overall, I enjoyed the experience at Buckstaff. A few things that I would have done differently is 1) put up my hair before bathing and 2) not bothered with any makeup that morning. I would recommend this to anyone who visits Hot Springs, as it really does help you to feel more relaxed.