An Artistic Gem in the Ozarks

Tucked away in the northwest corner of Arkansas lies the gorgeous little town of Eureka Springs. The village seems to be stitched onto a mountainside, with dozens of natural springs scattered about. Unlike the more well known Hot Springs in the southern part of the state, these water features were initially thought to be healing springs by the native peoples of the area.

Basin Spring Park (pictured at left) is near the center of the historic downtown area. From here the roads start to climb upward in a twisty, curvy route. It seems that are not two flat roads that meet at right angles anywhere in the city. The streets are lined with shops and artist galleries. The community has been an artist's haven, almost since its founding in 1879. A short walk around the heart of the village will reveal a stairway painted like a rainbow tree, metal versions of Humpty Dumpty and a mariachi band, and variety of sculptures. Not to mention the many fountains and enclosures surrounding the over 60 natural springs.

Outdoor recreation is also big here. A short drive from downtown, but still technically inside the city limits, lies Lake Leatherwood. This 1,600 acre city park has over 25 miles of hiking and biking trails. There is a four mile foot trail around the lake that includes a walk over the dam pictured above. Depending on the amount of recent rain there could be six additional water crossings, some that may require you to get your feet wet. If you want to get your whole body wet there's a swimming beach near the campground.

A nice stop on the way from downtown to the lake trails is Thorncrown Chapel. Built from local timber and glass, the style is reminiscent of the Prarie School of architecture popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright. Other interesting buildings in town include the 1905 Basin Park Hotel and the Crescent Hotel atop the highest point in the city. Both are supposedly haunted and offer ghost tours.

Unique place to stay: Eureka Springs Treehouses

Individual, very private treehouses and hobbit holes

Good places to eat:

Aquarius Taqueria, outdoor dining next to Calif Spring

Mud Street Cafe, below street level breakfast spot

Local Flavor, a bit more high end for dinner

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