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Hot Springs: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Four

Day four, Friday June 12

Hot Springs, Arkansas

We made one more group break­fast, got every­one cleaned up and ready to go. As the kids put it, the shower was pretty small, but you didn’t feel like you would fall over. Always the opti­mists! And it had lots of hot water, which was nice. We checked out, and moved on our way. It was about a 40 minute drive to get to Hot Springs, then about 10 min­utes to get to the park area. I think every­one else was expect­ing an actual park, but we knew this was a more urban set­ting. The Hot Springs are actu­ally some of the his­toric bath­houses which have been restored and you can go through. There is one that the National Park Service runs, and a cou­ple which are still func­tion­ing bath­houses. We didn’t have the time to take a bath, although it did sound nice. Maybe next time.

Sauna Contraptions, Fordyce Bath House, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Sauna Contraptions, Fordyce Bath House, Hot Springs, Arkansas

We spent the time to get the kids their park ranger badges. This involved an exten­sive tour of the Fordyce House, which is the one the park ser­vice runs. We com­pared the archi­tec­ture on the orig­i­nal houses, explored the rooms in the Fordyce House, saw where the springs feed into the struc­ture, saw equip­ment used in old days and gen­er­ally dis­cov­ered where cur­rent spa ser­vices and phys­i­cal ther­apy evolved from. Surround show­ers, steam rooms, mas­sage tables, phys­i­cal ther­apy equip­ment; it all started here. It would have been amaz­ing in its prime. I am sure it was an expe­ri­ence like no other at that time.

As we were walk­ing the prom­e­nade behind the bath­houses, a major storm started rolling in behind us. The rest of our group decided to call it a day and head back; we stopped at one of the fill­ing sta­tions to fill our jugs of water from the Hot Springs, then jug­gled the 140 degree jugs from hand to hand to try not to burn our­selves as we headed to the cars! We watched in amaze­ment as van­loads of peo­ple would stop and fill mul­ti­ple jugs of water and speed off. The water is free and it looked like some of these peo­ple were locals who must come fill jugs daily. Many peo­ple believe the waters have heal­ing effects, but it is bizarre to watch all the same. The water was still hot hours later, amaz­ingly. Maybe the locals just don’t want to pay for hot water.

Once we split up, the storm had pretty much passed us by, so our fam­ily went back out to the town for some gift shop­ping and then on to the moun­tain tower. The area around the park build­ings is all shops, and we spent a lit­tle time find­ing some sou­venirs, then decided to take a drive up the moun­tain for a dif­fer­ent view of the town. We started with the North Mountain drive and went up in the moun­tain tower. This is an obser­va­tion tower at the top of one of the moun­tains, where you take a glass ele­va­tor up to an obser­va­tion deck. You can see for miles, and it’s gor­geous. You can see why this area is pop­u­lar, it is very peace­ful. You can see to Missouri and Oklahoma from up here, and in the early days of this set­tle­ment, it must have been a pretty awe­some sight. Next we took the West Mountain Drive. You could see just as far, with many scenic out­looks. It was a pretty drive, worth the time. Next order of busi­ness, we all agreed, was food!

Natural hot spring, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Natural hot spring, Hot Springs, Arkansas

We decided to find a local place to eat, a gen­eral require­ment for us, so we drove the strip look­ing for some­thing appeal­ing. There were sev­eral pubs that looked OK, but we decided to go back to the spot that struck our fancy when we were sou­venir shop­ping, Bubbalu’s, for burg­ers and dogs. Pretty basic fare, well done, in a quaint old build­ing. We took a seat at the counter, ordered malts and burg­ers, and some excel­lent chili cheese fries! The food was all good, cooked from scratch (the burg­ers were not a frozen affair) and the ser­vice was extra friendly. You can’t ask for much more. And the build­ing was fun, antique with­out being stuffy. I was amazed that the high ceil­ings made it open and airy, even with the hot humid weather all day. The doors were open, a breeze flowed through, and it was cool and invit­ing. We all agreed it was a great choice.

We felt like we had done the town jus­tice. Although if we had another day we would try a bath. We headed out to meet back up with the rest of our group. We had a fam­ily affair the next day, so we needed to get back to our home base to pre­pare.

Related posts:

  1. Ghosts of the South: Exploring Haunted Places in Arkansas
  2. Superman’s Hometown: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Five and Six
  3. Sifting for Treasure: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Two
  4. A Day In The Quartz Fields: Arkansas Diamond Mining Day Three
  5. The Ghost Town of Cairo: Arkansas Diamond Mining, Day One

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