We had never really been to Arkansas, and don’t know many people who have. So it was a curiosity to me.
Interestingly, more than one of the locals we spoke with hailed from Texas. We heard from several people that they liked Arkansas because, “They have four seasons here.”
We chatted at length with an old-timer, Phil, who grew up in Arkansas. Old-timers are interesting because they have so many experiences and stories to tell. They also have time. Phil had nowhere he had to be for a few hours, so chatted with us for probably 45 minutes, while his dogs ate our dog food and he smoked three cigarettes. Not complaining, just thought it was funny.
Hot Springs National Park
We couldn’t go through Arkansas without stopping at the Hot Springs National Park. It is truly a unique park, not the typical “look at the scenic wonders and wildlife” sort of park. The federal government has owned the land where all these Hot Springs flow out of a mountain for close to 200 years. They set up bath houses for the public to rest and recuperate and rejuvenate. We walked the row of bathhouses and found a brewery. We had a nice lunch there and discussed if we wanted to try one of these hot baths.
So glad we tried the hot bath! We tried Buckstaff, a 109-year-old bathhouse, and the only continuously run bathhouse of the federally owned group of houses. The bathing process is the same as it was when the house was built. Tom took a bath on the floor where males are bathed, and I went upstairs to the women’s floor. We soaked in natural hot mineral water, had a cooling table with hot towels placed at especially needy parts of the body, a steam chamber, sitz bath, needle shower, and then a Swedish massage.
Do not visit the Hot Springs without experiencing the bath there! You will get your money’s worth!
Around the town of Hot Springs are fountains where you can fill up your water bottles. Most of these fountains had 100+ degree water coming out, but one had cold water. We saw locals filling water jugs at both places.
In the national park spirit, there are trails all around the Hot Springs mountain for those who like trekkng.