Thursday, June 30, 2011


Thursday, June 30 – After a pleasant 60 mile drive, we pulled into Maumelle State Park. I think we picked a winner for the forth of July weekend! We have a huge site with 50 amp electric and water.



Looking on both sides of us.


There is a dump station in the park if needed. We are in site FO1 which is a paved site 65 feet long and 25 feet wide, partial shade. WIFI, Verizon phone and Direct TV work great. There are no close neighbors. The only draw back is there is a boat house behind us with huge house boats and yachts inside (although that may prove exciting and interesting). The Arkansas River flows along this Corps of Engineering Park, just before reaching Little Rock. All this for $91/week. Arkansas state parks honor the Golden Age Pass with a 50% discount.....YES! We even got free firewood. They're doing some tree trimming in the park and have stacked firewood near the road with a sign offering it for “free.”  We will post more pictures of this lovely place in the next blog.

Now this is how to welcome visitors! To think that we didn't do the upper northwest because we thought gas prices were going up.

We ventured back downtown to the famous Mountain Spring Valley Water Company, where we met a wonderful young man, Bob Ridley, who told us all about the water company and this historic building.


This structure, nearly a century old, is home to the company's headquarters, visitor's center, and museum. They offer samples (not free) of their famous spring water and merchandise with the company logo.

When entering the lobby, Speed Steed meets you. The "statue" celebrates the beauty of Mountain Valley glass while also recognizing the company's unique place in horse racing history. It is made of all recycled materials.


Constructed in 1910, this white brick classic revival building was originally built as the home of DeSoto Mineral Springs. The second floor is now an art gallery.

Bob even took us to the third floor which is corporate headquarters and not normally open to the public. The offices are housed in what was once the Japanese Ballroom in the historic building. A very ornate ceiling and lighting fixtures cap off this beautiful room.



It was a fun and informative visit that Bob made more enjoyable by his friendly personality. Located right among the shops on Bathhouses Row makes it an easy stop for visitors.

We stopped in a little shop, Savory Pantry, down the street.


Marsha loves these shops that have different dips, salsa, and spreads. Paul enjoys the tasting stations. We did make a couple purchases. A tasty Bloody Mary Mix and a delightful Blue Cheese Herb Mustard mix for making a cheese ball.

As we strolled though the shops, we came across Snazzies Funky Boutique. Here is were we saw the meanest guard dog ever!


Who would do that to a dog or for that matter any animal?

We have lots more to share about our day in Hot Springs. We will get to that in another blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Tuesday, June 28 – After our wonderful lunch, we were close by the Elks so decided to stop at the MH and check to see if the thunderstorm scared one of the lives out of Bella, our cat. She was asleep on the dashboard but the blinking microwave clock let us know the power was out for awhile. She's doing a good job watching over things, so we headed to The Winery.



The Winery sells local wines made right here in Hot Springs Area.


They advertise tours but only have a small museum of several wine making instruments. They do serve small tastes of nine different wines they have available.

Paul was having such a good time tasting the wines that Marsha had to say, "It is all gone, Paul. Put the glass down!"


We purchased two bottles. An Arkansas White, a delightful Muscadine wine that “made Arkansas famous”, and a Texas Delight, “a popular white wine made from a special blend of grapes.” The winery also has a gift shop with a wide variety of specialty items associated with wines.

There bottles holders cracked us up!



Marsha's favorite. She asked if she could just buy the cork but she was told she had to buy the entire thing….DARN!


This evening we went over to the Elks Lodge to collect our free “out of towner” drink and to say “hello” to several of our fellow Elks. As visiting out of townees, we always found the Elks members a very friendly group. We spent most of the evening chatting with our new neighbors, Deryl and Polly. What a nice couple. They have been full-timing for eight years. This summer they will add their last state to their map…North Dakota.

Another full day in Hot Springs. We still have some more exciting plans for tomorrow our last day.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!



Tuesday, June 28 - We started our sightseeing day at the Garvan Woodlands Gardens, and it's good we did, because we eventually had to cut short our visit because of a thunderstorm. The gardens is a 210 acre botanical garden and is associated with the University of Arkansas.


Its mission is to be a resource center for people desiring to improve their aesthetic, cultural, and scientific knowledge of plants, gardening, architecture, and landscaping within a woodland environment. Paul took some time to look at the Koi in one of the many ponds.

Paul with Koi

The Blue Hydrangeas were just about done blooming.

Last of the blue hydrangeas.

This garden is truly amazing.....even Paul loved it! The Gardens are more like a park with hiking trails than a backyard garden.

One of many waterfalls.

Miles of paved and unimproved trails guide you through the various parts of the gardens. There are streams and waterfalls at every turn. Large rocks, forest of oak trees, bridges, and meandering pathways leading you to the many beautifully landscaped areas of the garden. There is even an area for the kids. The bridge that leads to the area is beautiful.

Super neat bidge.

It's equipped with rocks to climb on, bridges to run across, felled trees made to look like dragons to crawl on, and live peacocks to amazing them.


Children's section.

 A humorous sign warned them about playing in a certain section filled with poison ivy. Can you imagine the parents screaming when their babies come home scratching like crazy.....ha! ha! One of the most fascinating architectural elements of the gardens is the $5.8 million Anthony Chapel.

Anthony Chapel

Gorgeous doors.

Beautiful Chapel doors

The six-story, wood and glass chapel seems to melt into the forest. You feel like your sitting among the trees when sitting in the chapel.


Girls must dream about getting married in the chapel. And weddings certainly are held here.....365 weddings in 2010 according to the gal at the information desk. Before you reach the Chapel is  a Carillon.


The bells rang every 15 minutes. The sound was fantastic. It was such a pure sound; we heard it all though the Garden.

We were overwhelmed with this garden and highly recommend it to people traveling in the area. With 130,000 visitors annually, the gardens have become one of Arkansas' largest tourist attractions. We will definitely be returning to this awesome display in the future!

Us again

If you would like to see more of this wonderful Garden, click HERE.

As showers continued to fall in the area (a welcome relief to us drought and heat stricken travelers) we drove toward Wright's Rock Shop so Marsha could get some interesting agates for her pine baskets. On the way, we passed, and turned around to return to McClard's BBQ.


The place was small, cozy and packed! (Only half the restaurant shown below.)


This is President Bill Clinton's favorite restaurant in the world. His pictures, as well as other famous people, were displayed on all the walls. Boy, was this the BEST BBQ we have ever tasted! We shared a huge BBQ sandwich and an order of homemade French fries. It was sooooo good, we are considering returning tomorrow evening for dinner. We bought a bottle of their sauce…YUMMMM! Paul asked about the ribs, and was told they're to die for....EGAD!

More on our travels in the next blog. We did too much in one day to put up all at one time.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Monday, June 27 - Hot Springs National Park is essentially America's first national park. The beauty of this unique city is matched by a colorful history featuring some of the most iconic figures the country has ever known. The naturally thermal spring waters that flowed into the bathhouses were believed to have healing properties which is why presidents, outlaws, athletes and other celebrities visited the Spa City.

The Public Health Service operated a venereal disease clinic in the Government Free Bathhouse (1922-1948) in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. It was one of the first facilities in the United States to use penicillin. In 1948, the clinic transferred to the nearby Camp Garraday Transient Camp.

We wondered if the hot springs were really that hot.



Guess we got our answer.

After walking through many of the small tourist shops downtown, we jumped in the car to drive the one-way road up the mountain in Hot Springs National Park. This is a magnificent drive. You climb to the top of the mountain on a paved serpentine road with multiple pull-outs for viewing.



At the top of the mountain, is a viewing tower if you wish to pay for a different view of the surrounding area. We passed on this one.


This area is also criss-crossed with many hiking paths. We're considering hiking one of these very hilly trails but may renege due to the over-powering heat (near 100 degrees).


Look what we came across on the drive down the mountain. Soooo cute


Did You Know? The hot spring water at Hot Springs National Park becomes heated at a depth of approximately one mile before beginning the journey back to the surface through a fault.

It was a wonderful first day in Hot Springs.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!


Monday, June 27, 2011


Monday, June 27 – We drove 58 miles this morning to Hot Springs, AR. A beautiful drive through tree covered rolling hills (guess they call these mountains).

As we entered Hot Springs, look at what greeted us.


And right down the road it got even better. With our Kroger card we get an additional 10¢ off! We think we are going to like this place.


We are staying at the Hot Springs Elks Lodge # 380. Very nice Lodge and a pretty nice campground.


They have gravel sites with 50 amp electric and sewer. We are the only RV here. Should be quite comfortable here for the next three days.

Our Site #5


Rest of the five sites.

While Marsha was taking Bella for a walk around the premises, here is what greeted them at the entrance.

Looks think someone needs milked.

We drove downtown and visited the Historic District. This area is made up of the historic Bathhouse Row, several luxury hotels and resorts and tons of little tourist shops.


Each bath house offers a soak in the thermal waters, as well massages and spa treatments. Several of the turn-of-the-century buildings along this popular tourist destination have been fully restored to their original brilliance.

We toured the Fordyce Bathhouse Museum & Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center, that has been beautifully renovated and which now serves as a visitor center for Hot Springs National Park.


This spa remains as it was in the early 1900's so you can see how people came to relax and rejuvenate their selves in the natural healing properties of the hot springs. This area was world famous for their hot springs and was “The Place” to be seen in the early 1900's.

You start on the first floor which contains the Lobby and the Men's Central Bath Hall. The large doomed skylight contain approximately 8,000 pieces of glass. Get this description…Lounging on the marble benches  and drinking the waters, the men enjoyed the club-like camaraderie encouraged in the Fordyce…OH BROTHER!



Continuing on the first floor is the Women's Bath Hall, Cooling Rooms, Pack Rooms, Hydro-Therapy Rooms, Steam Rooms, and a visitor's theater and gift shop.

Since Paul never takes a bath, he has no idea how this works.

But, Marsha is another story.

The Cooling Room was a place for relaxing after the baths, while the body temperature returned gradually to normal.

The temperature of the steam in a vapor cabinet varied from 115 degrees to 140 degrees. This method was used to treat rheumatism, ADVANCED syphilis, jaundice and obesity.

In the Hydrotherapy Room we found this contraption.

Of course, Paul thinks he knows how they used it. Marsha isn't convinced!

Here is an example of the first tanning device.

On the second floor are Men & Women Dressing Rooms, and the Courtyards where nude sunbathing was permitted (men & women separately of course).

Who is that in the men's dressing room?


The third floor houses the was neat to see the old medicine balls, climbing ropes, parallel bars, pommel horse, and spring board..... men & women lounges, and courtyard space.


Where have all the Indian Clubs gone?

The basement consisted of all the plumbing and fixtures to feed the various tubs, showers, and spas and more importantly a viewing area of the hot springs which flowed into the building from a hole in the ground.

The spring "covered with glass" fascinated guests so much that a more elaborate and well lighted enclosure was created.

Another famous bathhouse is the Buckstaff. Although many of its competitors closed between 1962 and 1985, the Buckstaff continues to operate as a bathhouse.  On Bathhouse Row, it is the sole operating survivor from the "Golden Age of Bathing."

We always look for unusual hotdog shops when out sightseeing. We found a neat one in downtown Hot Springs. It's BubbaLu's Bodacious Burgers & Classy Dogs.


This place is very nice. If many customers waiting to place orders signifies how good the food is, we are in for a treat. Marsha got the Classic Dog with sauerkraut and Paul got the Coney Dog with onion and cheese. Both were delicious! We shared an generous order of French fries, and a diet Coke. A nice dinner to end our day!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!