Local Preservation Champion

Local Preservation Champion Dee Bright Recognized

By The National Trust For Historic Preservation

 NTHP Logo

 Preservationists from across the state recently convened here at the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa for a Certified Local Government (CLG) training seminar.  The two-day event opened the first night with a welcome reception sponsored by the host hotel.  During that reception a few special announcements and presentations were made including recognition of one local preservationist by the national organization that is specifically dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). 

Jack Moyer, vice-president and general manager of the Crescent, read a framed letter from Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of NTHP that prais20131107_190722ed Dee Bright of Eureka Springs for her dedication to preservation.  Bright serves as chairperson of the Eureka Springs Historic District Commission (HDC), president of the Eureka Springs Preservation Society, and treasurer of the local organization of the NTHP’s Main Street program, which is supported locally by the Eureka Springs Downtown Network (ESDN).

In the letter Meeks wrote, “Through her service she (Dee Bright) has shown exceptional commitment to Eureka Springs and the preservation movement.  Dee, your colleagues at the National Trust thank you, and I know the citizens of Eureka Springs and the entire community of preservationists in Arkansas join us in saying that your efforts have made a significant difference in ‘Protecting The Irreplaceable’ for many future generations to come.”

The evening also featured an official city welcome to the nearly 75 attendees by Mike Bishop, president of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce; an official20131107_185550 state welcome from Missy McSwain, program director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP); and the introduction of a Preservation Partners program, conceived by Moyer that and is now in beta testing, that will make recognized preservation volunteers of the various preservation organizations across the state eligible for deep discounts at both the Crescent and its local sister hotel, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel.

“I have presented this program for consideration to both NTHP and Historic Hotels of America,” explained Moyer.  “If it works here, they may roll it out nationally enabling designated preservation volunteers to stay at any HHA property across the country at an attractive discount.”

The reception was the opening event for the state CLG seminar, a training event coordinated locally by Glenna Booth, the Eureka Springs’ Economic Director.  Workshops were led by Pratt Cassity, director of the Center for Community Design and Preservation in the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia.

For more information on preservation projects statewide, one should contact the AHPP office at 501-324-9880 or by going to their web site at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com.  For local projects and opportunities, one should contact Booth at 479-253-9703 or via email atace@cityofeurekasprings.org.


Thanksgiving Day Buffet

 

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Thanksgiving Day Buffet begins at 11am and continues until 3pm, with dining in The Crystal Ballroom and The Crescent Conservatory.

Reservations are Recommended 479-253-9652

Menu

Oven Roasted Turkey

Rosemary Pork Loin

Holiday Glazed Ham

Carved Roast Beef

 

Green Bean Casserole

Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Holiday Corn

Seasoned Whipped Potatoes & Giblet Gravy

Peel & Eat Shrimp

Fruit Display

Cheese Display

Assorted Chef Made Salads

Rolls & Butter

Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Assorted Cakes

Chocolate Fountain with goodies to dip

Champagne Served from 11am to 3pm

$27.95 for Adults – Children 5-12 years old $12.95

*Our in-house guests will be able to enjoy a light Continental Breakfast from 8am to 11am in the Skybar, located on the 4th floor.

*The Sky Bar Gourmet Pizza will be open from 11am for beverage service only until 6pm, then there will be food service from 6pm to 8pm.

Intrigue Theater “Cuts a Ladiy in Half”

During October, Intrigue Theater “Cuts a Lady in Half – Civil War Style”haunted26x

 

With the calendar flipped over to October, people who visit this Ozark Mountain village have in their minds two things: fantastic fall colors and seeing something unique, unusual and unexplainable.  This October visitors will not be disappointed.

Of course there are the nightly ghost tours of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa.  This year the interest in “America’s Most Haunted Hotel” should be even greater following their exposure several times on national television programs of the paranormal kind.  Those tours, which end in the hotel’s morgue, are nightly year-round; while this October, something weird is going on just down the street from this mountaintop spa resort.

There, in a church that was built in 1901, is the intimate performance venue known as Intrigue Theater.  The interior of the Gavioli Chapel has been retrofitted to accommodate guests anxious to1_imagejpeg952 see acts of mystery and illusion.  Being introduced during all of the October performances, Intrigue Theater’s renowned illusionist Sean-Paul will shock members of his audience by carrying out a revolutionary effect that was introduced to the world in the 1920s but with an added dimension of historic authenticity.  He explains:

“The Civil War was a time of hatred and cruelty; a time when brother fought brother; a time when our great nation was literally cut in half.  However, here in Eureka Springs there was compassion in the personage of Dr. Alvah Jackson, who would treat wounded soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies in a makeshift hospital located in a cave near Basin Spring.  His medical knowledge coupled with the healing powers of the water taken from the nearby spring saved many a soldier who surely would have died without his care.  Unfortunately, many were saved only because of surgical amputations administered under the skilled hands of Dr. Jackson.

“It is this historical backdrop that will set the stage for our most ghastly illusion.”

For that illusion, Sean-Paul will recruit two volunteers from the audience – one to play the part of a union soldier, the other a confederate.  Juliane Fay of Intrigue Theater will lie down on a replicaIntrigue-Sawing-cropped-1024x764 of Dr. Alvah Jackson’s surgical amputation table.   The newly drafted, mock Confederate and Union Soldiers will strap her down to that table the same way they would a patient about to undergo an amputation.  Using Civil War swords and blades, Sean-Paul steps to the table and cuts Juliana Fay in half.   Then, symbolic of our once divided country, the two soldiers will pull the body apart into two separate pieces.

“Due to the intense nature of this illusion, we may only use this newly-added effect during this month’s performances,” concluded Sean-Paul.  “You may refer to it as our ‘October surprise’.”

For additional information, reservations and tickets, click on the following links: Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours Intrigue Theater, as well as  Eureka Springs’ Area Attractions.

PURCHASE TICKETS FOR THE INTRIGUE THEATER HALLOWEEN NIGHT SEANCE EVENT AT THE CRESCENT HOTEL!  Doors open at 9:30pm and show starts at 10pm.

HISTORIC HOTEL OF AMERICA CELEBRATES THE GRAND RE-OPENING OF ITS MORGUE

The Grand Re-Opening of the MORGUEMorgue_WalkInCooler_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_7x10

Throughout the decades, members of Historic Hotels of America have celebrated re-openings of such hotel facilities as their restaurant, lounge, spa, etc., but only one HHA member has ever made plans to re-open their “morgue”.  Now, just in time for Halloween, the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, will celebrate the re-opening of its “morgue” throughout the month of October.

“Our morgue is one of those historic infamies that has made us famous in the world of the paranormal and those interested in that world,” said Bill Ott, the hotel’s director of marketing and communications.  “It wasn’t part of the original business plan of the Eureka Springs Improvement Company who built this mountaintop spa resort more than 125 years ago, it just turned out that way.”

The history of the Crescent includes years when it was something other than a hotel.  For example, from 1908 to 1934 the hotel -in the non-summer months- was used as The Crescent College & Conservatory for Young Women.  The depression caused the college and the hotel to close its doors but in 1934.  However, thanks to “the man from Muscatine”, the Crescent re-swung her doors open to much fanfare in 1937.

smallIn July of 1937, an established nemesis of the American Medical Association, Norman Baker of Muscatine Iowa, began his boldest undertaking of his greedy, imaginative career: The Baker Cancer Curing Hospital, “Where Sick Folks Get Well”, located in a familiar five-story limestone structure that sat high in The Ozark Mountains above a community known the world over for its miraculous stories of healing.  No longer did guests come to this building for vacation lodging.  Instead, for the next three years, it would be patients who would come to this one-time resort for a “promised” cure from their debilitating cancer only to find pain, suffering, loss of life savings, and often loss of life.  These were the unkept promises of a charlatan in saint’s clothing.

“It is the sad years and sad tales of the Baker Hospital that are the genesis of the Crescent Hotel’s morgue,” Ott explained.  “It was in the morgue where Baker used his large walk-in Morgue_Baker'sAutopsyTable_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_10x7cooler to store cadavers and body parts, and his autopsy table more for studying the cancers removed from patients in an effort to discover ‘what went wrong’ when a patient died hoping to stumble upon a cure.  Both of these gruesome artifacts remain intact as do the stories -and some would say the patients- that surround them.”

From the time of Baker’s arrest in late 1939 on charges of mail fraud followed by his conviction in January 1940, the Crescent’s morgue would sit dormant being used only for some storage by the parade of hotel owners and operators from 1946 to 1997.  A Crescent Hotel renaissance began 1997 when Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the property.  They invested the time, love and dollars to return “The Grand Ol’ Lady of The Ozarks” to her nineteenth century grandeur.

“Prior to the Roenigks’ purchase, hotel owners would often hear reports of paranormal activity but put the kibosh on the public repeating of these stories thinking it would hurt occupancy.  The Roenigks took the attitude that if ghosts were a part of the history of this historic hotel, why shouldn’t those stories be told,” Ott noted, “and the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours were born.”

Morgue_Entranceway_MiniTheater_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_10x7“The ghost tours, which have grown exponentially over the past 16 years thanks to exposure on national television programs and in national publications, have always included the morgue,” continued Jack Moyer, hotel’s general manager since 1997, “but until recently that space has had a dual purpose: maintenance area by day, eerie morgue by night.  But now, maintenance has been removed and the morgue readied for thrilling new discoveries by curious ghost tour patrons.”

The enhancement of the focal point of “America’s most haunted hotel” includes placards and photos -dramatically illuminated- telling the Morgue_Locker_FullBodyApparitionSite_TAPS_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_7x10Baker story; inclusion of a wheelchair from the Baker Hospital as well as other medical artifacts from that era; the addition of a micro-theatre; and easier access to the walk-in cooler, autopsy table and the locker made famous by The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) in a Syfy Network “Ghost Hunters” feature episode.  For it was in front of the “2” emblazoned locker that TAPS captured a full-bodied apparition on their thermal imaging camera, something they called “the holy grail of ghost hunting”.

“With the grand re-opening of our ‘morgue’,” Moyer concluded, “our guests and ghost tour patrons will have a brand-new experience in a grand ol’ Historic Hotel of America.”

For more information regarding the morgue and other paranormal facts surrounding the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, one should go to americasmosthauntedhotel.com.

Christmas at the Crescent

“Christmas At The Crescent” Has Become Eureka Springs Tradition Photo by Purdy Art Co.

 Christmastime at this Historic Hotel of America has become one of The Ozarks region’s most popular winter holiday traditions.  Part of that tradition is the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa’s weeklong schedule of activities for visitors, residents and guests which is called “Christmas at the Crescent”.  This year’s yuletide celebration at this mountaintop spa resort runs from December 7 through December 13 here at 75 Prospect Avenue on the Historic Loop.  It is all part of the full, nearly month-long calendar of seasonal events planned here at one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

“When we first started this annual event 13 years ago it consisted of a live Nativity scene, Santa’s Brunch and free holiday movies for our guests,” said hotel General Manager and Vice-President of Operations Jack Moyer.  “The crowds were small that year but everyone who attended had a great time.  So much so, it encouraged us to build up this week not only for our hotel but to also impact the holiday season for the entire community of Eureka Springs.”CHF_8859

One such community-wide event is the Christmas Forest Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 7 at 6 p.m.  More than 30 trees will adorn the holiday focal point of the hotel’s nearly 15 acres, The East Lawn.  Each tree will be uniquely decorated one to the other since each tree represents a different local and area charity.

“Not only is our Christmas Forest a sparkling sight to behold, visitors to the forest can ‘vote’ for their favorite tree.  At the end of the ‘election’ on December 31, each tree’s ‘votes’ will be donated to that charity.  Additionally, the top three vote-getters also receive a nice cash prize donated from the hotel,” explained Moyer.

Santa arrives at the hotel on Sunday, December 8 when he is the star attraction at Santa’s Brunch.  The two elements that guests are suggested to DSC_0104bring to this feast of holiday culinary delights are a large appetite and a camera.  While eating to their hearts’ delight guests also getting a chance to sit on Ol’ Saint Nick’s lap for a chance to capture a photographic lifetime memory.  Santa has been known to balance an entire family on his red velvet knees for that just right shot.  Brunch is served from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. while Santa will be poised for photo ops from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Each weekday at noon during this special holiday week, the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom swings open it doors for hungry patrons and school groups ready to perform DSC_0264 for those enjoying a mid-day repast.  Bands and choirs from local area middle and high schools present medleys of festive tunes that always bring back happy holiday memories from years gone by.

For those holiday travelers who long to return to the 19th century and the days of Charles Dickens, the Eureka Springs Readers Theater troupe presents a rousing Photo by Purdy Art Co.adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” following a Dickensian-themed feast.  This “Holiday Feast with Charles Dickens” is a Tuesday night affair held in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom.  Reservations are recommended since seating is limited.  Dinner is served at 6 p.m. followed by the performance.

Thursday night will utilize that same hotel venue but this time it will be filled with the polished holiday musical stylings of The Ozarks Chorale, a popular vocal ensemble that has performed in New York City’s prestigious Carnegie Hall.  A dinnertime concert entitled “Sounds of thePhoto by Purdy Art Co. Season” is planned at 6:30 p.m. as the executive chef offers up its special “Tastes of The Holidays” menu accompanied by one of the largest wine cellars in the state.  Reservations are not required.

For those who long to share a laugh or a happy tear with friends and family while watching classic holiday motion pictures, Skybar Gourmet Pizza is where guests will want to congregate.  Each evening of “Christmas at the Crescent”, Sunday through Friday, this popular lounge and eatery transforms itself into a mini-plex for enjoying Christmas cinematic classics.  As a hotel gift to Skybar patrons, there is no admission for this nostalgic trip down memory lane.  The Skybar also provides a bird’s-eye view of the hotel’s Christmas Forest four stories below.

“One great outcropping from our hotel’s annual event has been the evolution of the community pulling together to make this week and the days surrounding it a true Christmas f12-4-10 075-SMALLestival,” added Moyer.

Under the sponsorship of such organizations as Eureka Springs Downtown Network and the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, such delightful holiday events as the night-time downtown Christmas Parade, Santa In The Park, and festive shopping enhancements make historic Downtown Eureka Springs a winter wonderland.

“The Christmas season has become huge here in Eureka,” Moyer said.  “In fact, it has become so big we had to find one umbrella sponsor for promotion of all the holiday events.  Our four-week celebration is now known as the ‘EurekaSprings.com Christmas Festival’.”

“Our ‘Christmas at The Crescent’ this year will allow our guests to ‘Live The Legend’ here at our hotel, the symbol of Arkansas hospitality since 1886,” concluded Moyer.

For more information on “Christmas at The Crescent”, one should go to crescenthotel.com.

 

Eureka Springs Wedding Tip #9

Assign friends special tasks. 

In addition to your personal “nourishment coach”, another could be “the guest herder” making sure family and friends follow the agreed-upon schedule.  But perhaps the most important assignment will be “the keeper of the cell phone”, a discerning friend protecting you from well-meaning and curious friends and relatives who, during those final hours just prior to the wedding, will bombard you with frivolous calls and text messages.  (BONUS TIP:  Just prior to the ceremony, have an usher or family member ask the congregation to please silence their cell phones.) View Wedding Tip #10

Eureka Springs Wedding Tip #7

Live music for the wedding is an elegant touch. 

A wedding savvy single musician (or ensemble) should be able to play both your selection of ceremony songs on his/her cello, violin, guitar, keyboard or similar instrument as well as vocal accompaniment -with at least one rehearsal- should they be part of your ceremony.  Reception music is usually determined by the kind of reception you are having.  Live music -like that of your ceremony- makes the perfect enhancement for a sit down dinner.  If the reception is more finger food and open bar, a more upbeat-style band or deejay works best.  (BONUS TIP:  Most deejays can also serve as your reception’s emcee.)  View Eureka Springs Wedding Tip #8

Eureka Springs Wedding Tip #6

Hire a florist to prepare simple reception centerpieces. 

Most reception rooms are beautiful and require very little additional décor enhancements.  However, should centerpieces be part of your “vision”, a local or area florist that delivers and sets them in place will take one more task off your wedding day list.  (BONUS TIP: Be sure to give your florist the list of corsages and boutonnières needed.) View Wedding Tip #7

Eureka Springs Wedding Tip #5

Make spa and salon appointments months in advance. 

This way you know your massage, makeup and that “up-do” hair appointment will fall precisely within your schedule.  And remember, moms (and grand-moms) enjoy looking nice for the wedding, too, so think about scheduling -in advance- a hair appointment for them as well.  (BONUS TIP: If you would like to have a facial before your wedding, estheticians highly recommend having it at least 48 hours before your event.)  View Wedding Tip #6

Eureka Springs Wedding Tip #4

Arrive a couple days early for a destination wedding. 

This way you can recoup from the travel and get comfortable and familiar with the property.  Have your bridesmaids also arrive early and opt for a wedding day eve morning massage.  It will relax minds and bodies for the rehearsal later in the day and the wedding the next. (BONUS TIP: Remember that your wedding is also a family reunion and most hotels can give you a special rate for any family and friends who would like to arrive a few days early.)  View Wedding Tip #5