We went to visit Eureka Springs, Arkansas this past weekend, what a hoot! Eureka Springs is located in the Ozark Mountains, and it's very touristy, but a lot of fun as well.
The town is best known historically for it's healing springs. There are legends and lore dating from way back when. One local legend has it that a Sioux Princess suffered from an eye affliction that had robbed her of her sight. The young girl bathed her eys in the waters of Basin Spring, and within a short time, her eyesight was completely restored. Her people were overjoyed, and they told the story far and wde until it reached the ears of the first white people entering the area. We visited Basin Springs, and one other healing spring, though I can't remember the name of it. Each of the healing springs seems to be located in picturesque little parks, with bronze plaques detailing the history and lore of each spring.
Eureka Springs has lots and lots of bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels, cabins and inns. I was most enchanted by the darling cottage style bed and breakfasts, and I can never resist a log style cabin. Seeing all the different style choices to rest your head made me wish we were staying over night, rather than making just a day visit.
We had an excellent lunch in the smallest restaurant I've ever been in. Honestly, it was barely one and a half rooms, and only had ten tables. I have to reccommend, if you ever find yourself in Eureka Springs, and you're hungry for lunch, you just have to stop at the Oasis. The decor is definitely 'eclectic'. The food is nothing short of fantastic. They describe their menu as Ark Mex, and whether you're a vegetarian or not, it's as varied as it is excellent. I had the best Frito pie I've ever had, and my mate had the Mexican pizza. It seems everything on the menu comes with a salad and their own house dressing, which is fine with me. All the ingredients were fresh, and the only complaint I can think of was the service was a bit slow. The food is definitely worth the wait. You gotta try this place to believe it. Just don't go expecting fast food.
We also visited Pivot Rock and Natural Bridge, made famous by Ripley's Believe It or Not. From what I understand, Eureka Springs is also a great place to go ghost hunting at, via the Crescent Hotel. And for other top rated things to do, there's The Great Passion Play, rivers to paddle in kayaks and canoes (one of my favorite activities!), hiking and biking and horse back riding trails. There are lakes to swim, fish and ski in, gardens galore, and for the truely brave, you can climb a bluff or an observation tower.
The houses and town were all 'cute', the scenery beautiful. I want to go back and take a trail ride, which they have in plentitude, also. As you can probably guess, I'm planning on visiting Eureka Springs again. This time, I'm taking my camera with me!