Eureka Springs and Table Rock Lake Vacation Part 1

We decided this year that maybe we would take a couple of extended weekend vacations instead of a big one.  We wanted to go to Table Rock Lake and stay in Shawn's Aunt and Uncle's lake house. We used to stay there all the time when we were younger, but when you have multiple small children, and a growing extended family, it gets more and more difficult to all stay there for a few days.  We haven't been in a couple of years.  I didn't want to make this the only vacation for my kids.  I want them to see things and do stuff they normally don't get to do or see at home.  We decided that Eureka Springs Arkansas is about 20-30 miles from where we go to the lake, and it would be a beautiful place to visit.  Shawn wasn't too excited about Eureka Springs as he was just anxious to get to the lake.

We left Wednesday evening when Shawn got home from work.  I had packed little bags for the kids with things I had from the dollar section at Target, a few books that the kids had not yet read, and some color wonder markers and coloring books.  Color wonder markers are great because they only write on certain papers and not on the car or their skin.




We did stop for dinner at our favorite BBQ restaurant, Oklahoma Joe's.  The have the best food, and I am constantly craving their Z-man sandwich.



Because of our many stops, between dinner, bathroom stops and one gas stop, we finally made it to the hotel by 12 or 12:30.

Right in the middle of downtown with shops on one side and a huge park on the other is the Basin Park Magnuson Grand.  It's supposedly haunted and I wasn't worried about it until we checked into our room.





Our room was quite small and a little creepy with the closet above the closet and the sink in our room not in the bathroom.  Over time the room was comfy and cozy but being 12:30 at night, in a creepy old hotel that was built in 1905, and is supposedly haunted, I was ready to run down the creepy Shining-esque hallway and stay at the Best Western.


Thank goodness we didn't go to the Best Western.  By the light of day, this place had transformed for me to a gorgeous place of mystery and many stories for me to learn.  It really was something special and I will stay here again.  If you are planning on going to Eureka Springs, you should definitely stay here.  It's right in the middle of all the downtown action (shops, restaurants, parks, bars, tattoo parlors, etc.) and I didn't see the car from the time we checked in Wednesday night, until we left Eureka Springs on Friday afternoon.  No two rooms are alike either due to the age, size, and shape of the building.




We got up Thursday morning and went to a local diner for breakfast.  My husband makes a great traveler.  I guess he gets that from traveling for work so much but he pulls locals everywhere we go on the best place to eat.  This way we don't fall into the tourist trap or get mediocre food.  We get to try everybody's favorites.  The diner was just alright, but it was recommended by the gentleman working the front desk at the hotel and we were short on time.  I believe it was the Main Street Cafe but I'm not 100% sure.  After breakfast we went on a walking tour called Hellraisers, Hoodlums, and Heated History.  We got to see a lot of downtown and learn about the speakeasies, and brothels that used to occupy much of the town, as well as the healing springs that brought people there in the first place.  I should also say that if you stay at the Basin Park hotel, you get two tickets for one of the tours free and many other discounts at places and activities around town.

Parts of our tour included things in our hotel we never would have known were there.

This is a room they used to call "The Elbow Room" and it was lined with slot machines during prohibition.  It was in the back, behind the lobby of our hotel.


This was a couple ton safe that they sold and then couldn't move at our hotel.  It's no longer in use, obviously.


The original spring is still accessible in the middle of Basin Park, right next to our hotel.  Our hotel room actually looked over the park.


This fountain is using water from the spring.


They even have water fountains to drink from using their delicious spring water.


According to many legends, the water from the spring has healing powers.  During the Civil War, a doctor set up a hospital in a small 40x40 foot cave and healed soldier from both sides.



After the tour, we went back to the hotel for a little nap.  We were exhausted from the late night, and the big walking tour.  When we woke up from our nap we went back to the park where they had hooked up a sprinkler to the spring for the kids to play in and someone was playing live music. It was so neat.  I've never seen anything like this before.







After the afternoon of cooling off in the sprinklers, we were ready to go out on our next walking tour, The downtown and underground tour.




The spring originally (before it was plumbed) came out from here and ran down the rocks in to the park.


This tour just really let us see this beautiful town, and some places that we wouldn't get to see outside of the tour.




This door leads to underground.  You can't get far since they have closed off most passage ways.


This symbol is all over buildings downtown and were used as a sign that there was a brothel there. Luckily my kids didn't know what this was.




Can you spot Humpty Dumpty on the wall?



About to see a little more of the underground city.  We were actually in the bath house where Bill Doolin from the infamous Dalton Gang was captured by police.



When the tour was over, we went back to the park and met with Shawn's parents who had come down.  Shawn helped them with their car and bags and the kids and I stayed in the park.




When they got all settled, we went to eat at Local Flavor, which is very well known for fine cuisine in Eureka Springs.  High prices, but worth every penny.  We ate outside on the patio and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of this amazing town.



Instead of Birthday cake for me, I enjoyed Birthday creme brulee.


After dinner, we went back up to the hotel and saw my in-laws bedroom before heading to bed ourselves.





The next morning we got up, packed and checked out of the hotel.




I didn't want to leave!

For breakfast we ate at Mud Street Cafe.  It was so delicious and the atmosphere was fun and cool.



After breakfast we did a little shopping and watched the storms roll in.




Alright, hate to leave you here, but I have to go cook dinner for my family.  Maybe I'll be back this evening, maybe tomorrow.

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