Hot Springs- America’s First Resort

Arkansas

Hey, y’all! This week comes with a lot of mix feelings.  I am so much closer to getting my website started and hopefully have some good news next week pertaining to my personal life!  Things truly look like they are going in the right direction! 

The complete opposite feeling I have is sadness.  My grandmother, my Dad’s mom, passed last week.  I will miss her dearly.  I keep comfort in knowing the fact that she lived a long, good life and she was very much loved.

My grandparents were born and raised in Arkansas.  My grandmother from Hot Springs and grandfather from a little town named Chidester. I had actually never been to Arkansas until February of this year when I took a camping trip with my beloved pop-up trailer.  I camped at Crater of Diamonds State Park to dig for diamonds- of course!  Which I’d like to take a moment to address the fact that there are some really AWESOME State Parks.  Everyone always thinks about the National Parks (which are AWESOME as well), but there are a ton of State Parks in all states that are just as worth while to seeing as any of the National Parks. 

So, my whole trip was planned to dig for diamonds and other crystals and rocks.  Yes, I’m one of those people!  And I love it!  The cool things you can find are endless!  I heard while shopping around the small town of Murfeesboro of a quartz mine north of Hot Springs where it was guaranteed to find quartz!  I just couldn’t pass it up! 

That’s how I ended up visiting the birth place of my grandmother and great grandmother, and probably generations before them, and finding that I not only have a family connection to this place, but a spiritual one as well.

Hot Springs

Hot Springs, Arkansas has a very long and interesting history.  People realized it’s value much faster than a lot of other places in the country.  The city and surrounding area had federal protection by 1832.  It’s located in the Quachita Mountains which makes for some very stunning views (the first picture is one taken at the quartz mine north of the city).  There are fountains a long the streets where you can take home all the spring water you could possibly want and many people use it as their only source of water.  I am actually truly jealous!

There were no intentions of visiting this charming town in my original travel plans.  I very much think that fate or a higher power had something to do with me visiting.

I lived about six months in the Chicago area while in the Navy and driving down main street of Hot Springs was literally like taking a drive down one of the streets in the Windy City.  I couldn’t believe it!  I knew, hearing from family members, (my great grandfather was a caddy for Al Capone!) that the town had a very strong influence from the Chicago mob, but one wouldn’t need to know that information to figure it out really quick.  That’s how obvious it is! It literally looks like there must me a sliver of street missing somewhere in Chicago, because they picked it up and dropped in the middle of no where Arkansas.  

I had breakfast at the fantastic restaurant called The Pancake Shop.  This is the place where I found out I actually really like apple butter!  Anyway, I just passed through after my breakfast knowing I’d be back after my treasure hunting!  I did find many treasures too, by the way.

When I got back into town I did a lot of exploring, well, as much as you can do in a couple of hours.  Unfortunately, since I had no intention of coming to the town and it was still very chilly in February, I did not have a bathing suit, so I did not get to visit any of the bath houses.  I did get to go on a lot of the nature trails, and do a bit of shopping, as well as buy several bottles and containers to take home spring water!

Hot Springs has the best of both worlds.  You can feel like you are in the middle of a large city, but take a path from those same busy streets and be in nature in less than 5 mins.  It’s truly an unique city with a very, very rich history which started with the Quapaw tribes using the springs as healing water. 

I instantly felt a connection with this wonderful city and am actually making plans to visit again toward the end of the year.  You don’t need a family connection to feel the vibe of this city though.  It has a pull all it’s own and would make anyone fall in love with the little charming town.

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Hi, I'm Erin Lowe

Through Living Travel Designs, I craft custom vacations that get you engaging with the world around you—particularly on nature and wildlife-focused trips that leave you in awe. 

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