A stroll along the main stretch of Eureka Springs promises a plethora of interesting sites that have a distinctly Victorian feel, from restored architecture and impressive structures like St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church to picturesque houses and bed-and-breakfast inns that continue the traditional draw. The Heartstone Inn, a 1903 late-Victorian home, features a welcoming wraparound porch, a gazebo and back deck overlooking a woodsy haven, and a tree-lined walkway that guides guests to the town’s historic district, less than a mile away. The Inn at Rose Hall offers a similarly quaint experience, with antique-filled rooms complete with modern amenities and a convenient location just 10 minutes from town. They also tout delectable culinary offerings—even a “Guest Pantry” stocked with homemade cookies and treats.
Springs have long been the town’s claim to fame, so you’ll want to visit at least a few of the 60-plus it boasts. Explore the Natural Springs Trail to see a stretch of the most popular, like iconic Harding Spring. These natural wonders stand alongside other attractions like charming storefronts and interesting constructions, such as Thorncrown Chapel, a 48-foot building nestled in the woods—one of many chapels the “Wedding Capital of the South” offers.
Experience Eureka Springs’ distinctive downtown, immersing yourself in its celebrated art and culinary scene. Peruse Zarks and Quicksilver Galleries for fine art, or check out Wilson & Wilson Folkart Co, a mother-daughter gallery featuring contemporary folk art. Shops like Hats, Hides & Heirlooms feature unique selections. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, drop by Mud Street Cafe, an old-fashioned room below street level, for breakfast, lunch, or just coffee and dessert, or try Local Flavor Café for fresh and creative cuisine in an inviting vintage atmosphere. If you’re looking for some take-home treats, visit Gourmet Eureka, a specialty-food store where you’ll find souvenir gift baskets.
About an hour from Eureka Springs, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art makes a worthwhile day trip. With an impressive collection of American masterpieces ranging from the Colonial era to the present day, as well as stunning natural surrounds that include a scenic 120-acre park, the museum seeks to “unite the power of art with the beauty of nature.” While there, you won’t want to miss the Bachman-Wilson House (above), a pristine example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s classic Usonian architecture developed during the Great Depression for middle-class American families.
By Elizabeth Bonner
Photography by Marcy Black Simpson
From Southern Lady, October 2016