Eureka Springs, AR: Gold Star Getaway (Friday May 9)

Eureka Springs is the most picturesque little Victorian mountain town you can imagine. David, an art gallery owner, told me that in the 60s and 70s it was really deteriorating, but the hippies starting buying up property and restoring it despite the fact that the banks were loath to hand out property loans for the area. They said that there would never be anything of consequence in Eureka Springs. Now it’s the wedding capital of the Midwestern states, like Niagara Falls (apparently) in the East and Las Vegas in the West. More weddings take place in Eureka Springs than anywhere in the US besides those other two locations. People used to come here for the springs, which are around every corner. David says that the two biggest businesses in Eureka Springs used to be walking sticks and tin cups. It’s a hilly place, and people used to walk from spring to spring, sampling the water to cure their ills. One woman was supposedly blind for 7 years following an illness before being cured at one of the springs here.

cute house on the outskirts

Cute house near the railroad station

It’s a very arts-focused community. They have music in Basin Park all the time–scheduled and unscheduled. When I stopped by in the morning there was a sad looking smoker playing guitar and singing, and later on I saw more people showing up with instruments.

Basin Park, Eureka Springs

Basin Park

They also tend to hang paintings right on the outside of their buildings.

Eureka Springs 002

They have the sorts of shops you might expect in a tourist town: trinkets, jewelry, a gourmet kitchen store (where I replaced my broken pepper grinder and the dogs were given treats that Lucy said were extra good), boutiques (with pretty dresses!), an Olde Time photo shop, etc. Also, the restaurants seemed really good and of a good variety. I only sampled at a vegetarian restaurant called Northern Star, but there were a handful I would have tried given more time.

Locals say that in the winter there aren’t many tourists, but the wedding season starts Valentine’s Day. They get snow a couple times a year and the kids sled down one of the main streets on trash can lids, but the snow usually melts the next day. Less than 3000 people live here permanently. It’s a really nice tiny town in a great area.


Back at the pop-up we did some running, reading, and grilling. I had (you guessed it: vegetables) grilled eggplant, zucchini, onions, and green peppers on an Israeli couscous/orzo mixture. Mmm.


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