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 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 Trinket on 08 Apr, 2004
While in the Eureka Springs area, do not miss the Passion Play. It is one of the most amazing productions I have ever seen. It portrays Jerusalem during the days before Christ's crucifixion. It is put on at dusk so that different areas of the…Read More
While in the Eureka Springs area, do not miss the Passion Play. It is one of the most amazing productions I have ever seen. It portrays Jerusalem during the days before Christ's crucifixion. It is put on at dusk so that different areas of the city can be lit up as the drama progresses. It is located on top of the mountain and there are several other points of interest to view while you are there, such as a Holy Land exhibit and the very lovely statue called "Christ of the Ozarks" which sits on the mountain and towers over the city. Admission is $l7.75/person and is a must-see.
We also visited Turpentine Creek, which is a preserve for exotic animals that have been rescued. We saw bears, cougars, lions, tigers, rhesus monkeys, etc. Most of these animals had been owned by private citizens all over the country who wanted them for pets and then found they could no longer care from them. Some of them were wild animals that had been injured and were taken in to be healed and then returned to the wild. The program is mostly supported by donations, and most of the people who work there and care for the animals are volunteers. The animals look content and well cared for. Admission is $6.00/person. There are programs shown at specific times and you are allowed to wander around the compound at your own pace as well.
Eureka Springs has many available activities to please everyone. Just driving around and viewing the gorgeous scenery of the Ozarks is a treat in itself. The downtown area is a mecca for those of us who like to shop, featuring antique shops and gift shops…Read More
Eureka Springs has many available activities to please everyone. Just driving around and viewing the gorgeous scenery of the Ozarks is a treat in itself. The downtown area is a mecca for those of us who like to shop, featuring antique shops and gift shops that feature natural crafts of the area. Flea markets are available along the back roads between Eureka Springs and Fayetteville.
An unusual attraction located on the same side road as the motel is called "Quigley's Castle." Many years ago, Mrs. Elise Quigley wanted her husband to build a larger house for them and their five children, but he kept putting it off. One day he left to run some errands and she tore down the shack they were living in and moved into the shed. She designed her house to bring the outdoors in. As you enter the gate and travel along the stone walkway bordered with trees, flowers, etc., the first thing you notice as you approach the door is that there is a glass wall on the left and in between that and the wall of the house there are trees and shrubs growing. Inside the house are many other interesting features such as a "butterfly wall" in the master bedroom. Elise collected the butterflies and preserved within a glass wall for a unique decor. An aquarium had been built into an alcove in the kitchen, but they had a leakage problem, and all that remains are the stones that formed the bottom of the tank. Many of the things that she collected, such as Depression glass and the quilts she fashioned, are also on display. Her granddaughter and her family still reside in the house and you are allowed to tour the public parts of the house and grounds at your leisure. Elise also collected bottles and other pieces of glass, which she fashioned into birdbaths, feeders, and other ornamental objects scattered around the property. There are paths leading to small ponds, etc., or a bench to relax on while you enjoy the flowers. Admission is $5.50 and is well worth the cost.
Written by VanessaK on 17 Nov, 2008
I had been to Eureka Springs once before, when I was a teenager. I remember it as a picturesque Victorian town with a quaint downtown for shopping and walking along so I wanted my husband to experience the same. We first planned our weekend trip…Read More
I had been to Eureka Springs once before, when I was a teenager. I remember it as a picturesque Victorian town with a quaint downtown for shopping and walking along so I wanted my husband to experience the same. We first planned our weekend trip in October but had to postpone it one month because of unforeseen problems. So we landed on the second weekend of the month and planned our romantic weekend accordingly. The trip to this Victorian town from Tulsa, Oklahoma is about 2 ½ hours and is a lovely drive on winding and steep roads through small farm towns and wooded terrain. Friday started out cool and overcast and we knew that Saturday would be the same. We hoped, of course, the weatherman would be incorrect. He wasn’t. Saturday was cold and windy and miserable to say the least. We didn’t get to spend much of our time walking or touring the quaint town. This was such a disappointment for me not to be able to do the shopping we had wanted to do. We did however get to tour the town and surrounding areas by car. We found this was just as relaxing and enabled us to spend quality time together. If the weather is good or if you are someone who enjoys cold, crisp weather Eureka Springs would be a wonderful weekend getaway. There are so many Victorian B&Bs and hotels to choose from that whatever you are looking for you should be able to find, from the cheap to the luxury room. You will not be bored if you are looking for something to do because Eureka Springs has many activities to choose from, including: trolley tours, passion play, shopping, hoedowns, train rides, and ghost tours.We will plan another trip sometime next year when the weather is good. My husband wants to take the train ride with dinner service through the Ozark Mountains. We also would like to spend more time visiting the downtown area. Close
Written by jodellebobelle on 22 Feb, 2005
Eureka Springs is always available for the taking, but there are different times to go for different reasons. For the budget-minded, go in early winter, like January and February. That's basically the off-season, when lodging prices are a steal. You can even bargain…Read More
Eureka Springs is always available for the taking, but there are different times to go for different reasons. For the budget-minded, go in early winter, like January and February. That's basically the off-season, when lodging prices are a steal. You can even bargain with some lodging places, as they need the business. For those looking for the most fun time to go, July or August is your best bet. There are always local events and lots more to do in the summer. For Corvette lovers with a need for speed, the annual Corvette show is usually in September and the Corvette Run is not to be missed. Motorcycle lovers will enjoy the great Ride Rally Ride week in March. For whatever reason, Eureka Springs will be a getaway you won't soon forget. Close
There are many great places to dine in Eureka Springs. Here are a couple that we enjoyed:
The Ozark Village Restaurant is located on the corner of Main Street and serves an excellent breakfast at reasonable prices. A great buffet is available on weekends. Price was…Read More
There are many great places to dine in Eureka Springs. Here are a couple that we enjoyed:
The Ozark Village Restaurant is located on the corner of Main Street and serves an excellent breakfast at reasonable prices. A great buffet is available on weekends. Price was $5.00/person.
Mrs. Yoder's, located on Main Street near the entrance to the Passion Play, serves a wonderful buffet with all the trimmings for $8.95/person.
Written by bobjon on 11 Dec, 2008
We stayed 7 nights at a condo rental on Holiday Island, 5 miles north of Eureka Springs. The weather was cool, but delightful for us Northern climate people. The grass was still green and the people were delightful. The accommodations were at…Read More
We stayed 7 nights at a condo rental on Holiday Island, 5 miles north of Eureka Springs. The weather was cool, but delightful for us Northern climate people. The grass was still green and the people were delightful. The accommodations were at a bargain price of $50 per day, and the gasoline was under $1.50 per gal. The only drawback was that many shops and restaurants were closed for the off peak season, but that helped to limit our shopping and touring. We highly recommend Eureka Springs in December. Close
Written by John from OK on 30 Jun, 2007
Part of the appeal of Eureka Springs is the many places to get a massage. We have been to a few places in the town, and have yet to be disappointed.This time we chose Health Works at 75 Mountain Street, (479) 253-7977.…Read More
Part of the appeal of Eureka Springs is the many places to get a massage. We have been to a few places in the town, and have yet to be disappointed.This time we chose Health Works at 75 Mountain Street, (479) 253-7977. Close
Written by travelover on 26 Oct, 2006
The Passion Play in Eureka Springs is definitely an experience that everyone who has not been to an outdoor Passion Play should check out. I have been to it twice, the second time I went I had forgotten how long the play was. Don't take…Read More
The Passion Play in Eureka Springs is definitely an experience that everyone who has not been to an outdoor Passion Play should check out. I have been to it twice, the second time I went I had forgotten how long the play was. Don't take small children or anyone with a short attention span, unless you bring pillows and blankets or something to entertain them. The play is 3.5 hours long, if my memory serves me correctly. It can get chilly at night, as well, so bring a blanket and a coat or jacket to make sure you don't get cold and something warm to sit on. The production is very well-done. It is definitely worth having seen it. It is a beautiful portrayal of the life of Christ. Close