Postcard From Eureka Springs

Downtown Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is a pretty and fun little town in the beautiful hills of northwest Arkansas. Last fall, my family and I took a 3-day weekend to see what we could see there. We had heard of it for years, but this was our first visit.
From Conway, it's about 170 miles on mostly well-maintained 4-lane roads with very nice scenery and some interesting little towns to go through. Of course your route of travel may be different, but we came north on Hwy 65 from I-40 just like you are headed to Branson. A little south of the town of Bellafonte, Hwy 412/Hwy 62 join up with Hwy 65 and without changing the road you are driving on, all of a sudden you will be on Hwy 65/Hwy 62/Hwy 412 and probably some other name the locals know it by. At this point choose to watch the signs for Hwy 62/Hwy 412 as a few miles further north, Hwy 65 will break off to go straight north to Branson and you don't want to go there this trip. Hwy 62/Hwy 412 goes west for a few miles and then heads mostly northwest until just a few miles outside Eureka Springs. At this point you basically are there and you will see plenty of direction signs.

Downtown is an interesting collection of antique shops, art galleries, tourists shops,  little parks for taking a break from walking, and plenty of restaurants along with the normal small town collection of businesses. The whole downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eureka Springs is a favorite of motorcycle enthusiasts due to the hills, scenery, and gentle curves of the surrounding area roads and we had a good time walking and looking at the some of the really cool tricked-out bikes.

Something you should be aware of if you are not on a motorcycle - there is a distinct lack of parking spots in downtown. However, they have a great trolley car service that has frequent front-door service from most of the hotels and other designated stops. Tickets are $5 for an all-day pass ($1 for ages 7 - 11 and free for ages 6 and under) and are a great deal for that price. We stayed in a nice Best Western a little outside of town and used the trolley to get everywhere we wanted to go and I don't remember ever waiting more than about 15 minutes for one to come along.
Many interesting shops to
browse and shop, shop, shop!

One thing we did I would suggest you do too is take one of the guided tram tours of the town. For only $7.50, you'll find out some interesting things about the historic places and buildings in town. We enjoyed it.
The Rowdy Beaver - good burgers!


Just a little ways outside of town, sitting in a woodland setting, is the famous, 48-foot tall Thorncrown Chapel. This magnificent wooden structure has 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass. It sits atop over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone. The chapel's design and awesome beauty combine to make it what critics have called "one of the finest religious spaces of modern times."
 
Thorncrown was the dream of retired school teacher, Jim Reed. In 1978 Jim enlisted the help of renowned architect E. Fay Jones to design a place of worship for the visitors to Eureka Springs. The result has now drawn over five million visitors since this woodland sanctuary opened in 1980. It has won numerous architectural awards such as the American Institute of Architecture's Design of the Year Award for 1981 and the American Institute of Architecture's Design of the Decade Award for the 1980's.

Thorncrrown Chapel
One last thing - If you love chocolate, you’ll be in heaven at the Chocolate Lovers’ Festival 2011, held on February 12. The festival celebrates all things chocolate with flowing chocolate fountains and plenty of chocolate samples to savor. The festival also features a variety of food contests with chocolate as the key ingredient; after judging, the winning entries are put up for bid in a silent auction. Try pairing chocolate with the wines that will be available. Pretty perfect way to celebrate Valentines!
Interior of Thorncrown Chapel

 
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