Weekending in Hot Springs


We had never been to Hot Springs until a recent wedding invitation from two mutual college friends drew us there for a weekend. We decided to try out the relatively short drive and were rewarded with a fun getaway in pretty pocket of the Natural State.

The Hot Springs National Park actually begins right in the heart of town, which makes it easy to visit the interesting landmark. My favorite location highlight though, is the art-deco architecture and design that runs through the main thoroughfare. The stately old buildings, beautiful hikes and friendly people were kind of juxtaposed with several kitschy shops and a handful of rebel-flag toting weirdos that all added up to a colorful visit. 

We drove in on Friday, checked into The Arlington, and then wandered down the main drag. We shared a tasty pretzel and hummus dish in a restored-bathhouse turned restaurant with great happy hour deals, and then went back to the hotel to clean up for the evening.

The hotel, once very grand, has lost some of it's charm as it aged. However, it's high profile guests and curious details make it fun to explore on a short stop.

On Saturday, we crossed the street and put our name on the list at The Pancake Shop, a Hot Springs hot spot. To avoid waiting on the humid street, you can enjoy samples in the gourmet shop next door while you wait for your chance to sit down to a simple, but hearty Southern breakfast.

We hiked around the terraces after to try to work off the pancakes, and then toured the bathhouses.

It was too hot to try an authentic hot spring experience so Matt headed off with the guys and I plopped down at the pool with a book to pass the afternoon.

The wedding ceremony was a bit of drive out to Hot Springs Village, but a really fantastic chance to reconnect and celebrate with college friends that we had travelled and studied abroad with. The fun continued back in town at a reception hall and we enjoyed meeting new and old friends over dinner.

The drive home wasn't quite as fast, but we also used Waze to help avoid the biggest headaches along 35. I think a visit to the Hot Springs would be really nice for a long weekend in the fall, but it was pretty great for a quick summer reunion with friends too!

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