Hubby and I like to take little trips for our anniversary. We don’t always have a firm destination in mind. In fact, that detail is often up in the air until the last minute, in a process that he refers to as ‘spontaneous’ and what I call ‘indecisive’. Ultimately we hop in the convertible and tool away for a spot we haven’t been before. This year we had more problem than usual coming up with a destination. OK, to be truthful, he went through *nine* possibilities before I finally wrested the decision from him and came up with our spot this year–Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
I can imagine you scratching your heads. Let me explain. We like to go to the Ozarks with family, but couldn’t swing it this year with everyone’s schedules. So I merely suggested going further south to the Table Rock area. Doing an online search, I became intrigued by Eureka Springs. So knowing nothing more than what I’d read online, we headed off.
Nestled at the foot of the Ozark mountains, it was utterly charming. We stayed at The Crescent Hotel, built in 1886, and it came with a history filled with scandal, con men and the requisite ghosts. The entire downtown district is on the National Historic Registry. It’s filled with Victorian architecture (which I love) and unique little shops, restaurants and bars.
The history of the town was even more interesting. The area wasn’t a town at all until the ‘healing springs’ in the area made it a destination spot. There are twelve springs in the vicinity, some right in the center of town. Blue Springs, shown here is just a few miles away. It pumps 38 million gallons of water daily and no one knows exactly where the water comes from. It was considered a sacred place by the local Indian tribes centuries ago, and the Cherokee camped there on the infamous Trail of Tears. More about the town’s history can be found here: http://www.eurekasprings.com/historical/
The area is also filled with caverns, the likes of which I’ve rarely seen. One once hosted Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington for a jazz concert. We took a tour through one that took forty-five minutes to walk through. It’s easy for me to get lost in time in areas like these…to imagine myself hundreds of years earlier, walking the same steps as those earliest inhabitants.
The town’s motto is “Eureka Springs. Where the misfits fit.” Which gives you a clue to the varied people we ran into during our brief stay. Alas, none of them were ghosts, although every building we visited had a haunted history.
Of course, my mind turned to plots for books. The town was so historied and peopled by such distinctive characters, it cries out for a plot of its very own. But for days all I could think of were stories suitable for contemporary romance, which I don’t write. Until I saw the springs. Ah. Now the murder and mayhem possibilities arose. My muse had finally wakened. She went into over drive when we toured the cavern. She’s dark that way.
There were a few bumps in the road, to the tune of two new tires and a power steering pump for the convertible along the way :) But all in all, it was a place that had me mentally vowing to return to.
Have you ever happened upon a place that speaks to you on some level? One that delights and captivates, and makes you promise to visit it again?