Destination: Eureka Springs
Massages, ziplines, ghost tours, food, music and more – Eureka Springs is a blend of life’s wide-ranging pleasures!
By Robby Edwards
Photos courtesy of Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotions
We are featuring stories on the downtown areas of our region’s major cities. We did this in 2015, but we’re back to let you know what’s still there and what’s new. We hope this provides some insight, history, highlights and things to do and see in each area. Remember, we won’t always be advised to stay home and practice social distancing. So, when it’s safe to get out and about again, consider a day trip and let this be an insider’s guide for you.
Looking for an eclectic mix of art, culture and architecture? Eureka Springs is a mountain village acknowledging its own history as “twisted, fun and fascinating.”
It has no stoplights, and no two streets run parallel to each other. Plus, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
“People love Eureka Springs because it’s not like any other city they’ve ever visited,” said Gina Rambo, Eureka Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission publicist. “If you’re looking for the perfect family vacation, it’s filled with something for everyone and will send you back home relaxed and refreshed.”
If you combine urban, rural, cosmopolitan and laidback lifestyles, this is what you get.
Of 70-plus eateries, only three are chain franchises.
Favorites include Grand Tavern, an upscale restaurant in an historic Victorian hotel; Café Amore for Italian in a romantic setting; Le Stick Nouveau for French cuisine; and Bubba’s BBQ, smoked Memphis-style pork and baby back ribs.
Also consider Eureka Grill for casual dining and people-watching, Main Street Café for omelets and burgers, Nibbles for salads and sandwiches, Sparky’s Roadhouse Café for bar food and Local Flavor Café for a diverse dining experience.
Downtown is a great place to stroll and snack, with stops at Eureka Springs Coffee House for pastries, Eureka Nut House for roasted nuts and seeds, Funnel Cake Factory for fried sweets and Sweet’s Fudge Kitchen and Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory for fudge and chocolate.
For drinks, there’s Basin Park Balcony Bar & Grill, Cat House & Pied Piper, The Stone House, Legends Saloon and Rogue’s Manor.
Hit the streets for merchandise at the Razorback Gift Shop for yard and garden décor, colored glass, jewelry and other items, and check out the observation tower for a panoramic view of the Ozark Mountains.
Ladybug Emporium, The Jewelry Show, Magee Jewelry, All That Glitters, Fusion Squared and Crescent Moon Beads all offer jewelry and more.
Fresh Harvest Tasting Room sells premium olive oils, Sleepy’s Cabin Décor specializes in log furniture, Tummy Ticklers features kitchen items, Granny’s Place has clothing and gifts, C’est La Vie is a women’s boutique, Fain’s Herbacy specializes in health and beauty naturopathy, For Bare Feet offers novelty socks, Planet Leather sells motorcycle accessories, Kaleidokites has kites and kaleidoscopes, and Hobbies & Homestead includes antiques and collectibles.
ART & CULTURE
For art pieces, visit Iris at the Basin Park, Quicksilver Gallery, Studio 34, The Jewel Box, J.A. Nelson Gallery, Zark’s, Studio 62 and J. Foster Photography. To see art in action, check out Experience Anna, an interactive theater performance.
For an idea of life in Eureka Springs, here’s a sampling of upcoming events (check schedules for any changes due to the coronavirus): May Festival of the Arts, Just So Ozarks and MCA National Eureka Springs Mustang Week in May; Blues Weekend, Crossfire Fun in the Ozarks and Opera in the Ozarks in June; Opera in the Ozarks, Spaceberry Music Festival and The Eurekan multisport festival in July; 28th Annual Volkswagen Weekend and Dirt Church Mountain Bike Festival in August; and Banjo Rally International, 49th Annual Antique Auto Festival and 13th Annual Scooting the Ozarks in September.
Visit the 1886 Crescent Hotel, America’s “Most Haunted Hotel,” or 1905 Basin Park Hotel for spooky experiences with ghost tours.
For slower-paced activities, see the Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church. Listed in Ripley’s Believe it or Not, it’s the only church entered through the bell tower. Complete a mission with friends at Escape Room 13, or visit Carol Brown Massage Therapy, Time-less-ly Massage or Eureka Massage Center for more relaxing experiences.
The toughest decision may be deciding where to stay. Eureka Matterhorn Towers and Bavarian Inn & Restaurant are Bavarian-inspired hotels; Country Mountain Inn, Stonegate Lodge and Alpine Lodge are family friendly; and the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, New Orleans Hotel and 1886 Crescent Hotel are other popular choices.
Cottage Inn, Kettle Campground, Eureka Sunset Lodge & Cabins, 5 Ojo Inn Bed and Breakfast and Sparky’s Guesthouse are also options to consider. For the “pet friendliest” resort, try Retreat at Sky Ridge an Ozarks Cabin Resort.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Ozark Mountain Ziplines offers a canopy tour up to 200 feet high with cable lengths up to 1,800 feet; canoeing and float trips happen on the nearby Kings River. Hiking, biking, fishing and picnicking are options at Black Bass Lake.
The Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge — home to exotic and native animals — is considered a big cat sanctuary. Aviation Cadet Museum is an interactive experience with actual aircraft and artifacts.
Holiday Island Golf is an 18-hole course with Ozark Mountain scenery, a nine-hole executive course and a unique scenic elevated driving range.
Eureka Springs is also home to “America’s No. 1 Attended Outdoor Drama,” The Great Passion Play.
“There are plenty of towns in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks, but none have the character and charm of Eureka Springs,” said Rambo. “The beauty of its scenic setting provides a range of outdoor fun. Other family activities and attractions come from its history and artsy side.”
You can spend a day or more having fun downtown, but Lake Leatherwood City Park is for nature lovers. The park covers 1,610 acres, including an 85-acre spring-fed lake, and offers hiking, biking, camping, boating, fishing and playgrounds.
There are 20-plus miles of trails for hikers and bikers; a paved boat ramp for fishing and boating; kayaks, canoes and boats for rent; more than 120 species of birds for birdwatching; and cabins and sites available to rent for camping.
Visit www.eurekasprings.org for more information.