So we started our day with a cold dip in our Airbnb's pool, breakfast in Fayetteville at a lovely farm-to-table place and a visit to the Farmer's Market then we began our journey to Eureka Springs where many discoveries awaited.
So now is a good time to note that our Airbnb was a bit like a pool shed. In fact, we are pretty sure it is a pool shed – but it was cute and we had access to a swimming pool with donut floaties.
We only swam in the pool the one time in the morning on Saturday. I hate swimming but it was easier to get into the cold pool water than to figure out how our shower worked. (The shower had an entire page of small print about how to make the hot water work).
However, breakfast at Fayetteville's Farmer's Table was a real treat. And even with our swim in the pool we got there before the rush. (The "brunch" rush that began at 9am! Arkansas people are early risers it appears).
I stuck with as much vegetable fiber as I could get eat by starting my day with a veggie omelet. I did trick Tasha into "us" getting a side of the Lemon Curd Pancake. Trick, in that I had no intention of eating any more than one single bite of it – which I did and it was really good, especially the raspberries and lemon curd. I left the rest was left up to Tasha's own free will. She choose to eat over half of it, protesting the entire time.
Fayetteville is officially cute. For the little time I spent there I had lavender lemonade twice, tried multiple Ozark tonics, ate homemade lemon curd, and interacted with a very attractive young farmer who showed me his hybrid Roma tomatoes.
After the Farmer's Market ,where I met the cute farmer and tried all the things, we jumped into a car and drove until we saw a picture of a tiger on the side of the road. That is, a picture of a tiger that said "see over 100 big cats!" and "wildlife refuge." It wasn't just a picture of a tiger but a real life curiosity of a road side attraction. We decided we couldn't pass it up and did a quick U-turn and drove up to the what turns out to be a full-on legitimate big cat wildlife refuge.
The downside was you had to take the 45 minute guided walking tour in the hot sun to meet all the cats, but we were down. And we learned about all of the horrors and atrocities done to the big kitties by the magic, private, breeding, and petting zoo industries.
Turns out you should never go to a "big cat kitten" or anything of the like kind of petting zoo. They just force breed white tigers or create ligers for kittens, so there is horrible inbreeding as well as bad nutrition for the animals among other things. The cats at Turpentine Wildlife Refuge however get really big spaces to relax in, appropriate food, large play toys and medical care for the rest of their life. They are doing their best to keep the big cats comfortable despite the medical issues or other challenges they face due to their circumstances.
After sweating more than I ever thought possible while doing absolutely nothing we were finally done with the big cat tour and moved on to Eureka Springs where we initially found tourist mayhem. We were starving, thirsty and hot – but first we had to park. In order to park legally we needed cash so we found a cute little tourist bar to get change, a beverage, and figure out where to eat.
It was really hot, so hot that even the fans were blowing hot air, so a cold ice water was the best thing ever. As was some moving air. We studied the lay of the land and decided to get some food at the Stonehouse.
The Stonehouse was luxuriously air conditioned and filled with yummy meats and cheeses, cold beverages, and nice helpful people to get us orientated to the town we found ourselves in.
The Stonehouse people recommended we go to a couple of places to catch the bluegrass music that was supposed to be in town and to eat real dinner. But first we decided to wander a little and have an old timey photo session. We chose to dress up like saloon girls because we are classy ladies. We thought – for sure there will only be one photo we want to walk away with.
So wrong we were. So wrong. This happened. But the sitting was quite fun – we were tied up into fake dresses, then pushed into positions I didn't know I could hold with various props in our hands. She only took one or two photos in each position so it was shocking that anything turned out, but it did. Too many of them did. After the sitting we wandered the town looking at the large assortment of stuff and things that one could shop for and purchase from food to rocks to whatnot and such.
We listened to some bluegrass music at Basin Park and we wandered up into the strange twisting streets of the hillside.
Eureka Springs feels a little like a witchy part of New Orleans if New Orleans were in the Ozarks. There are rock formations, magick springs, and moons painted everywhere.
Eureka Springs is actually known as little Switzerland because of the steep hills and the multitude of limestone structures that abound making it feel quite European. It is also known as the "City that Water Built" because of all of the springs that are there, the magickal properties surrounding the springs from Indigenous lore, and civil war era healing stories, and the droves of persons that have been called to the town over the years because of the properties of the springs.
As I noted above, you have to admit that the town has a certain power to it. It is an attractive power that makes me want to move here and open up a divination and energy healing shop – maybe with a juice bar attached. I'm pretty sure I could pull in as much business as the CBD purveyors and get better results for people.
We chose to have dinner at the Le Stick Nouveau, a French establishment in the basement of the New Orleans Hotel. It was our most expensive meal of the trip and we split everything (so we found tourist pricing in Arkansas finally). But it was all tasty food and Tasha got to try escargot, grilled caesar, and yummy New England (flown in fresh) scallops.
We ended the meal by sharing some sorbet made with strawberry and red pepper. So good.
Then we went wandering some more around twilight finding all the magick springs and old buildings.
We looked for the haunted hotel, but couldn't find it on foot, although we found some creepy trucks in a ravine.
So we went back to the car and drove back up the hill and found the haunted hotel just a block from where we were originally.
It was however, jam packed with wedding party people listening to a loud and obnoxious DJ. So we took our leave and drove back to Fayetteville to relax the night away in our tiny little cottage by the pool.