The last stop on our Arkansas tour has been the unique town of Hot Springs. Our home for the last 12 days has been Catherine's Landing, a new and quite comfortable park on the southeastern edge of town.
Catherine's Landing is the second RVC Outdoor Destination park we've stayed in. (The other is Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which was recently purchased by RVC.) Everything about this park was top notch. We'll definitely be back!
Our site backed up to Lake Catherine, which looks more like a creek right here. Our spot was beautiful, quiet and peaceful.
The autumn colors are just arriving at Lake Catherine. They look particularly stunning at sunset.
One of the highlights of our stay was meeting up with friends Cathy, Steve and Dottie. We had a great time with these three, as always. We look forward to seeing them again in Kansas City.
The primary reason we chose to visit Hot Springs was to check another National Park off our list. Unlike most National Parks, where you drive miles and miles to cover everything the park has to offer, Hot Springs National Park is located in the center of town.
For years, the thing that brought visitors to these parts were the namesake springs. They are hot, indeed! The thermal water coming from this spigot averages a temperature of 143 degrees. It was definitely hot to touch. (Yes, of course we did!) We saw folks filling jugs from this spigot and others like it around the park.
Our tour of the park was actually a stroll. The Grand Promenade is a beautiful tree-lined walking path that sits above and behind Bathhouse Row. Once upon a time, the hot springs were accessible from this path. But, they have since been sealed.
Walking along Bathhouse Row, we felt a bit like we'd stepped back into the 1920s. These eclectic buildings are in various states of renovation and repair. But, they reflect a bygone eara when the rich and famous came here to enjoy "America's Spa."
Buckstaff Bathhouse is the only facility that still offers the traditional Hot Springs bathing experience. The park Visitors Center features a video that explains how the process works. We decided we didn't need a personal assistant to scrub us down, so we opted for a less traditional way to take in the "healing" waters.
We decided to enjoy the Quapaw Baths. The Quapaw Bathhouse closed in 1984. A renovation in 2007 included the creation of four "public" thermal pools, several private bathing rooms and a full service spa.
We donned our swimsuits and headed for the thermal pools, which ranged from 93 degrees to 104 degrees. Upon the attendant's advice, we started with the hottest pool and worked our way down to the "cool pool". (It's amazing how cool 93 degrees can feel!) The pools featured jets and waterfalls. The stained glass dome cast a soothing light as soft instrumental music played in the background. A row of teak lounging chairs provided a perfect spot to cool off with a glass of icy water (It's important to stay hydrated!) between soaks. Ahhhhhhhh!
This is what a couple of hours at Quapaw will do to you! While Steve was with us enjoying to pools, Cathy had a full body massage. Don't they look relaxed? We all did! The Quapaw portico offered us the perfect spot to transition from the spa to the real world.
The Anthony Chapel brings the outside in as it soars to a height of six stories. The 160-seat chapel is reportedly the most popular wedding destination in Arkansas. More than 175 weddings are performed here each year. (We were lucky to find the place empty during our visit!)
According to Google maps, we had reached the end of the road. But, in search of the not-to-be-missed view, we kept driving. It looked like Rocky was in the water. But, we were high and dry.
This is the view Dave was talking about! The top of the dam offered a panorama that we are certainly glad we did not miss.
We're always on the lookout for tasty local breakfast spots. And, we found one in Hot Springs. The English Muffin, located on the shore of Lake Hamilton, is one of our favorites.
here's how they looked when we met them in Gunnison a few months ago.) We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in their Tour that featured good food, good wine, great conversation and wonderful company, including Carrie and Bill's kitty Tractor.
We said so long to Carrie and Bill and their cute menagerie last night. We were up bright and early to make the long trek to Kansas City. The 435 miles across three states made for a lengthy travel day. It was nearly 4 pm before we reached our destination exit. We've never been so glad to see that familiar sign! Tonight we're all tucked in at our "home" park, ready to enjoy a month with family and friends in our old hometown.