The arrival of the railroad in 1883 made the spa more accessible, and the sick and weary came from great distances to be healed. Of course, all these people needed a place to stay, and this photo shows the historic 1905 Basin Park Hotel, that was built to accommodate the growing number of visitors to Eureka Springs. I remember the first time to go inside this property was with my young son, when we were participating in an annual holiday tour, sponsored by the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce. We learned that one of the unique features of the multi-story hotel, was that there was a "ground level" exit from each floor. At the time, I was just learning to operate my new 35 mm SLR camera, so I persuaded my son to let me take his photo on the top floor, where the multi-colored stained glass windows that enclose the entire level, provided colorful portrait lighting. The Basin Park Hotel ( www.basinpark.com ) continues to attract visitors, in part because of it being adjacent to its namesake, Basin Park. I have fond memories of sitting in Basin Park, listening to live Blues music concerts, during the annual Eureka Springs Blues Festival.
One of present-day medical benefits of visiting Eureka Springs, is the physical workout you will receive from traversing its numerous stairways! I took this photo when I was with a local chapter of the American Volkssport Association ( www.ava.org ), as we followed a designated route that took us on a three-mile walking/stair climbing loop around the town.
Many visitors to Eureka Springs, never venture out beyond the Main Street (Old Highway 62) that passes through the historic downtown. However, if one has enough time, they can take a scenic drive on a road above the downtown, along the east side of the town. There you will find an overlook, where you can get a good view of the famous 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, as it sits atop the opposite mountain.
I had the privilege of spending a couple of nights at the Crescent ( www.crescent-hotel.com ) while attending a tourism event recently. A benefit of being a guest in their hotel, is the opportunity to enjoy the many amenities they offer, including the regular early morning "power walks", led by the Activities Director, Mary Howze, shown in this photo. It was fun to talk to her about growing up locally in Carroll County, Arkansas, and her passion for encouraging folks to get outdoors. In fact, she is part of an endeavor called "Outdoor Adventures for Women" ( www.OutdoorAdventuresforWomen.com ) that sponsors outdoor activities for both local, and out-of-state adventurers.
Another free amenity the hotel offers takes guests throughout the hotel and grounds, to tell them the highlights of its historic past. This photo shows our tour guide, and two of the other tour participants, on the expansive front porch of the Crescent.
Our tour guide told us that the stone-covered walk shown in the photo, would have been the route taken by hotel guests of the 1880's, as they emerged from their horse-drawn carriages, and faced the impressive east facade of the Crescent Hotel.
Of course, this was long before the days of air conditioning, so a comfortable and breezy porch would have been a must.
This photo shows me at one of tourist-type telescopes, located on an upper balcony. Another one of my memories from Eureka Springs from decades ago, is coming to this balcony floor of the Crescent Hotel, to hear Eureka Springs infamous "Singing Sheriff" perform. His unusual antics had been featured on nationally broadcast talk shows of the time, so I was delighted to get to hear and see his performance in person!
From the upper balconies, one has a nice view of the manicured grounds that contribute to the beauty of the property. I was compelled to take this photo, because, although the C and H stand for Crescent Hotel, it is also the initials of my sister-in-law!
The ornate fireplace in the lobby is special to me, because of memories it brings back of taking my grandsons to visit Eureka Springs, when they were in college, at nearby Fayetteville, Arkansas. Grandson Ryan took photos of the fireplace, which he posted on Instagram. This required a quick "tutoring session" for his Grandma, who had no idea how to use the then new, photosharing social media site. (He went on to finish college, and is now working as a professional photographer---so it turns out Instagram has been an appropriate platform, for him to hone his visual imaging techniques!)
Adjacent to the Crescent Hotel is the St. Elizabeth Church ( www.stelizabethar.org ). You can read its complete history on their website, but it is noteworthy that its location next to the hotel, goes back to the fact that it was the spot where the hotel owner of the time, last saw his mother standing, as he embarked on a trip away from Eureka Springs. The church is unusual in that it is entered through the bell tower. Along the walkway are the Stations of the Cross. A prayer garden at the side of the church provides a good view of the "Christ of the Ozarks" statue across the valley.
A somewhat new feature of the Crescent Hotel campus, is that it serves as the trail head, for recently completed trails through the woods, that will eventually traverse the entire downtown area. When I visited, the trails were well maintained and well marked.
If you prefer paved sidewalks to hiking trails, there is access from the parking lot of the St. Elizabeth church, to a route that will eventually get you to the downtown area at the base of the mountain.
If you want the COMPLETE passion play experience, you can arrange for a backstage tour, which will give you the opportunity to see the back side of the stage set, as well as the barn area, where the live animals used in the performance are housed.
These youngsters, dressed in appropriate costumes for the evening, were assisting as ushers before the performance. They were very obliging when I asked for a photograph. When I was posting on Facebook the evening that I attended the outdoor drama, one of my friends commented that she had been a part of the play when she was a child, and she said it was an experience she will never forget. Considering how many years The Great Passion Play has been in operation, I can imagine there are hundreds of folks who have felt its impact because they were a part of the cast.
www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verse that says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37. Such divine assurance gives me "Miles of Smiles"! Tricia