Winter Spa Escape

In Winter, Couples Choose Eureka Springs’ “Spa-scape”

(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — Couples often slip off on a getaway to discover new things about a destination.  The primary nuance that couples seem to discover -or rediscover- in Eureka Springs, a 19th century village situated among the folds of the Arkansas Ozarks, during the winter is an indoor activity of extreme indulgence.  For when the cold winds blow, most couples escape to this extraordinary destination primarily for one three-letter word, spa.

Savvy winter travelers find that a “spa-scape” to Eureka Springs, one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, during these months offer very attractively priced packages.  Packages that not only include lodging but the ultimate pampering services such as hot stone massages; duet massages; facials; and full body wraps that warm the body, mind and spirit.  Many add salon treatments to the regimen in order that their New Year’s “new look” resolution can become a reality.

There are more than a dozen professionally-operated Spa Facilities in Eureka Springs offering such unique services as aromatherapy, body scrubs, facials, manicures, pedicures, self-heating mud treatments, plus the most popular Swedish and deep-tissue massages.

Two new attractions that were added last winter for a Eureka Springs’ spa-scape” are the new Arkansas Art Trail and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art located 45 minutes west of Eureka Springs.  Crystal Bridges, founded by Alice Walton, is said to be the world’s finest collection of American art.

“With the advent of Crystal Bridges there grew an overwhelming interest in art in the northwest corner of our state,” said Bill Ott director of communications for two of Eureka Springs’ historic hotels, the 1886 Crescent and the 1905 Basin Park.  “The Arkansas Art Trail links created art, as displayed at Crystal Bridges; art being created, as in the dozens of living galleries in Eureka Springs; and breathtaking natural sights and vistas that provide the inspiration of great art throughout The Ozarks and along such area rivers as Buffalo National River Park.

The modern architectural design of Crystal Bridges is contrasted by those nineteenth century limestone structures that line the streets of Downtown Eureka Springs.  Downtown’s easy to moderate trails transport visitors from commercial to urban with its Victorian homes to pristine with all The Ozarks has to offer in just a very few steps.

Those interested in the natural and historic travel, to the west less than an hour for visits to Hobbs State Park Conservation Area with its Pigeon Roost Trail; War Eagle Mill, a working water-driven gristmill; and two “must see” sesquicentennial Civil War sites, Pea Ridge National Military Park and Prairie Grove State Park.

Just to the southwest is one of the most predictable places in Arkansas to see elk, Boxley Valley.  And during the cool time of the year, they can be seen grazing just about all day in fields adjacent to the state highway that has plenty of places to safely pull over and “set a spell”.  The adjacent Upper District of the Buffalo River National Park is a great place to look up and see majestic bald eagles this time of year.  Tours are also available on Beaver Lake to watch the Eagles.

Eclectic shopping, one of Eureka Springs’ hallmark activities, is still viable during the winter with many shops offering great post-holiday bargains.  Restaurants of note also open their doors to wintertime guests for a relaxing gourmet sojourn.  Nightspots offer live music, adult beverages and great opportunities for dancing like “the stars”.  Historical museums and unique attractions like Turpentine Creek, a refuge for lions, tigers and other big cats, welcome visitors for a more relaxed viewing.

For those opting for a fly-drive adventure, two airports serve Eureka Springs.  Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) is 50 miles to the west while the new Branson Airport (BKG) is that same distance to the northeast.  The major rental car companies serve both.

“Many already know that Eureka Springs is alive and well during the winter months and visit annually,” concluded Ott, “yet we still have a few spa appointments still open just in case anyone new would like to come and join us for a supremely relaxing ‘spa-scape’.  It’s a great way for the two of you to start the new year.”

For more information, one should go to eurekaspringsonline.com.

In the middle of winter also is a flurry of special activities and events to keep visitors entertained and enchanted:

EUREKA GRAS “A Mardi Gras Extravaganza” — Now in its seventh year, the 2013 version of this community-wide festival crescendos February 7th-12th with such activities as Hookers and Jokers Ball, Coronation Royalty BalljMardi Gras Daytime Parade, Krazo (Ozark spelled backwards) Costume Contest, Beaux Arts Masquerade Ball, and New Orleans-style Jazz Brunch.  And in those moments between scheduled events, fun ensues with impromptu celebrations breaking out all over town during this “laissez les bon temps rouler” celebration week.

VALENTINE’S WEEK — One day is not enough time for celebrating love in the “Wedding Capital of The South”.  From February 14-16, hotels, chapels, restaurants and the courthouse are abuzz with couples who want to get married, are married, or those who are just in love.  Eureka Springs has no waiting period for those who want to get married on the spur of the moment.  All that is needed is a marriage license obtained during the day at Carroll County Western District Courthouse; just add a minister.

CHOCOLATE LOVERS’ FESTIVAL — As part of Eureka Springs’ salute to those who love their sweetie comes an event for those who love sweets of the chocolate variety.  This festival, held this year in the Eureka Springs Convention Center on February 9, is in its ninth year and is designed to satisfy even the strongest sweet-tooth.

Artist in Residence-Karrie Evenson

Arkansas Art Trail Schedules “Artist In Residence” Workshop with Karrie Evenson.

(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) – When most people think of art, their minds turn to the oxymoron of passive activity.  The Arkansas Art Trail, where nature inspires art in Northwest Arkansas, is dedicated to making the month of April experiential through a series of workshops.  Its final sponsored workshop event is entitled “Artist In Residence” and features a painter that describes herself as an “emotional painter”.  Karrie Evenson, a resident of the Arkansas Ozarks, will be conducting four two-hour workshops here at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa on April 25 and 26.

“My goal during these four hands-on sessions will be to teach attendees how to paint abstract birds, flowers and landscapes,” said Evenson, “but not in the normal ‘art school’ fashion.  I encourage aspiring painters to paint with emotion and passion, not for traditional perfection but for a canvas that says, ‘This is who I am.’  Painting can and should be fun and fearless.”

The names Evenson has given to the individual workshops bespeaks her philosophy of painting bright, colorful and free: Colorful Abstract Birds, Abstract Florals, Luscious Abstract Landscapes, and “Spice It Up” Chili Pepper Abstracts.

The two-day / one night package, based on two people per package, includes admission to two workshop sessions per day, overnight lodging with breakfast at the Crescent Hotel plus a wine and cheese reception with the artist.  The “Arts In Residence” package is limited to the first 10 reservations with prices beginning at $129.

Evenson concluded, “Each and every one of my paintings is seasoned with the fact that I walk my own path, make my own journey, write my own story, and create my own happiness.  That is why I try to instill into my workshop attendees a willingness to be brave and bold; daring them to dream, encouraging them to love life since it is the only one they will ever have.”

For full package and workshop details,  one should go to arkansasarttrail.com or call the Crescent Hotel at 800-342-9766.

Photography Exhibit & Workshop

Arkansas Art Trail Schedules Edward Robison Photography Exhibit and Workshop

(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — As part of the Arkansas Art Trail’s celebration of “April Art Experiences”, several weekend events have been planned here at one of the Trail’s partners, the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa.  The event planned for Thursday and Friday, April 19 and 20, is the Photography Exhibit and Workshop featuring award-winning landscape photographer and artist, Edward C. Robison III.

Robison, a native of the Missouri Ozarks, has focused his lens from coast-to-coast with emphasis in the Midwest.  He now lives in Eureka Springs where he owns and operates the Sacred Earth Gallery.  He has authored numerous books and has been commissioned by such national clients as Capitol One, Bass Pro Shops and The Sierra Club.

“There is so much to see and photograph along the Arkansas Art Trail, I would like to help our attendees maximize the digital images they will capture along that trail no matter the style, size or cost of the camera they use,” said Robison.  “Not only will I be instructing them on the dynamics of light and understanding landscape photography, but I will also share how to get the most out of their camera but how to digitally enhance their images by using computerized software tricks.”

The Thursday evening session of the workshop will be a trip out to one of Robison’s favorite “off the beaten path” spots along the trail; a place in the Ozarks near Beaver Lake, where he has captured breathtaking images in the past.  The Friday morning session, conducted in one of Cottages at Crescent Park, will be an artful examination of some of Robison’s award winning work as well as constructively critiquing three to five images of each attendee that he or she captured the evening before.

The Arkansas Art Trail’s Photography Exhibit and Workshop is only open to the first 12 package participants at the Crescent Hotel.  For the Thursday night session, attendees are asked to bring personal cameras; those cameras of at least the five megapixel variety are recommended. Workshop Packages, that include overnight lodging at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa and a complimentary breakfast Saturday morning in the Crystal Dining Room Restaurant, begin at just $289 per couple.  For complete details and to check availability click here or call the Crescent Hotel at 800-342-9766.

OR Tickets available for Individual participation for $95 per person.  Please email amanda.haley1@gmail.com if you are interested.

Artist Studio Tour with Larry Mansker

Arkansas Art Trail Schedules “Artist Studio Tour” with Larry Mansker


(EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS) – All along the recently opened Arkansas Art Trail, travelers can find places where art is hung like Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; places where art is made like the artist village of Eureka Springs; and places that inspire such art like the hills and hollows of The Ozarks.  During this month, the trail creators have also created a series of special workshops and exhibits entitled “April Art Experiences”.  These efforts come from a partnership between the Trail and the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, located here atop Crescent Mountain.

The first workshop of the month features a well-respected Eureka Springs artist, Larry Mansker.  This Kansas City native has made the most of the Trail’s vistas and panoramic views over the past five decades.  “Whether ones view is from a mountaintop or at street level, the eye can be trained to see things in a happy mood that expresses the brighter aspects of being alive” Mansker explained.

Mansker’s exclusive package, entitled “Artist Studio Tour”, will be held at both the Crescent and at the artist’s private studio all on the evening of April 15.  The package events begin with a tour of the Crescent Hotel and its eclectic art collection.  The tour will be led by hotel Vice-President of Operations and Development Jack Moyer.  The tour includes the commissioned display of Larry Mansker’s detailed murals that depict local scenes enhanced by popular local activities.

Following the hotel sojourn will be an intimate, artist-led tour of Mansker’s studio.  Wine and cheese will be served as the artist shares his private collection and workspace.  Attendees will then return to the hotel for an artistically created dinner in the Crystal Dining Room Restaurant.

The “Artist Studio Tour” package, based on two people per package, includes overnight lodging and breakfast at the Crescent Hotel, the private studio tour and reception, and dinner in the Crystal Dining Room Restaurant with the artist.  Participation is limited to the first 10 reservations with package rates beginning at $199.

“This gathering is designed to be both intimate and revealing,” said Mansker.  “I want attendees to get a true feel of the elements of design –line, texture, contrast, composition and color- that create that happy mood in my paintings.  I want to teach attendees how to ‘feel’ a painting with their emotions rather than simply gazing upon it with their eyes.”

Check Availability for this package or call 800-342-9766.

Ozark Art Experiences in April

Ozark Art Experiences in April: Arkansas Art Trail Features Sites and Events “Where Nature Inspires Art”


Arkansas Art Trail Created, Embracing Emerson’s Words

“…each moment of the year has its own beauty, …every hour, a picture which was never seen before, … shall never be seen again.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

(EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS) – Imagine a place where rare images of beauty were displayed every hour, delicate works of art that had never been seen before and can be seen only once.  Ralph Waldo Emerson when he wrote “…each moment of the year has its own beauty, …every hour, a picture which was never seen before, … shall never be seen again.” believed these images were created by nature every moment. Waiting to be discovered, nature’s most creative work is on display along the Arkansas Art Trail. There, visitors discover places where art and nature come together and where threads of discovery, exploration and reverence for the American landscape weave compelling tapestries that illustrate the American experience, both past and present.

During the month of April, in partnership with the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, the Arkansas Art Trail introduces “The American Experience” as celebrated in Arkansas through art, music, dance and literature in ways that are as enigmatic as the Arkansas landscape.

The Arkansas Art Trail was inspired by the Hudson River School Art Trail. In the 19th century, artists of the Hudson River School captured iconic landscapes of the northeast with paint. Following the example of American writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, they sought an “original relation to the universe” through a life of simplicity and independence. In the process, American artists defined what it was to be American and helped shape a national identity that valued individualism and rugged beauty.

Today, artists are still creating defining work. The American landscape, both rugged and fragile, is an inspiration. The Arkansas Art Trail highlights unique architecture created with purpose and fundamental connections to the land. It stops for breathtaking vistas and wild rivers, and introduces visitors to the artists working in the Arkansas landscape. The trail offers a deeper look at the side of Arkansas many have never seen.

April’s art experiences are limited but embody year round appeal.  Visitors to the Arkansas Art Trail are sure to discover moments of beauty “never seen before.”  A visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art provides an opportunity to see original 19th century Hudson River School paintings and a stop in Eureka Springs, a Top 25 Arts Destination, allows visitors to simply watch regional artists paint in plein aire or get creative with an art class, enjoy the music of esteemed international musicians or sit down to an authentic hootenanny.  Visitors will experience life in a historic town and marvel in contemporary architecture that celebrates the beauty of the outdoors.

Here are just a few of the Arkansas Art Trail’s “April Art Experiences” packages that the partnering Crescent Hotel has put together:

Artist Studio Tour – Take a docent led tour of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa and see local artist, Larry Mansker’s murals.  Meet Mansker in his art studio for a glass of wine and then settle down for a splendid dinner with the docent and Mansker at the Chef’s table in the Crystal Dining Room Restaurant.

Photography Exhibit & WorkshopExplore the Ozarks with renowned landscape photographer and local artist, Edward C. Robison III.  The evening starts with a hands-on workshop under Robison’s tutelage.   Participants will hear some helpful tips and then get to shoot their own images of the Ozark Mountains and the Beaver Lake region with the knowledge learned.  The next day those images captured at sundown the day before will be discussed with suggestions from Robison.  He will even present advanced digital photo editing “tricks” so future images will be even closer to being “picture perfect

Meet an Artist in Residence – Learn to paint abstract birds, flowers and landscapes with artist Karrie Evenson. Evenson will be working in residence at the Crescent Hotel. Meet the artist and watch her paint one evening while casually enjoying wine and cheese.

Check Availability for these Art Events.

Arkansas’ NEWEST Attraction to your 2012 Itineraries

(EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS) — Any fall is a great time for friends to gather, board a motor coach and travel to the Arkansas Ozarks and especially Eureka Springs: Arkansas’ “extraordinary escape”.  This fall, however, starting on 11/11/11, that motor coach tour can add a couple new and exciting elements to their itinerary: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Pea Ridge National Military Park.  Both attractions are part of the new Arkansas Art Trail.

“The motor coach inquiries we get from group tour leaders each fall always include the question, ‘What’s new?’ and this year we can answer with two nationally significant itinerary additions,” said Linda Box, group travel sales manager for Eureka Springs’ Landmark Hotels: 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa and 1905 Basin Park Hotel.  “Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville AR is a mere 40 miles to the west.  Pea Ridge, site of where Missouri was saved for the Union is on the highway between Eureka and Bentonville and is in the midst of the National Park Service’s sesquicentennial commemoration of The Civil War.  With these great attractions located on the Arkansas Art Trail (www.arkansasarttrail.com), the fact that they are also motor coach friendly and easy travel from the travel hub of Eureka Springs makes their addition to a travel itinerary a perfect fit.”

Eureka Springs is a natural as the hub for this particular spoke in the Arkansas Art Trail since time and time again this village has been selected as one of the most celebrated art destinations in the country.  One such repetitive designation has been made by American Style magazine.  They have named Eureka Springs as a “Top 25 Arts Destinations” in the Small Cities category.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation has given Eureka Springs a true honor in choosing this town of 2,000 as one of America’s “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” as well as placing it on the National Register for Historic Places and of course the Great Passion Play has excelled in the area of performing arts for over 40 years.

“The Crescent Hotel, a Historic Hotel of America is the ideal overnight destination for visitors interested in Crystal Bridges, Pea Ridge and the Arkansas Art Trail,” said Jack Moyer, general manager of the hotels.  “Not only do we greet our motor coach guests in style, give them a history lesson and feed them well but both the hotel is replete with tales of its own as well as being a repository for many unique pieces of American art.  Plus, just outside our front doors, are galleries and working studios, artistic Meccas that seem to blanket Eureka Springs and vistas that provide the inspiration behind the art.”

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is nestled in a pristine Ozark ravine with two creek-fed ponds just off the square in downtown Bentonville.  Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and board member of the Walton Family Foundation is spearheading this nearly half-billion dollar investment.  Upon opening on November 11, 2011, Crystal Bridges’ 217,000 square foot complex will be home to one of, if not the finest American art collections.

Pea Ridge National Military Park was set aside to commemorate The Battle of Pea Ridge.  This battle took place on March 7-8, 1862.  More than 26,000 soldiers fought on these 4,300 acres to decide the fate of Missouri.  The park honors those who fought for their way of life.  It should be noted that Pea Ridge was one of the most pivotal Civil War battles and is the most intact Civil War battlefield in the country.

“Another wonderful aspect of adding these two attractions to an itinerary is that the cost of admission is most reasonable,” Box added.  “Crystal Bridges admission is free and Pea Ridge admission is only $5.00 unless visitors have a “Golden Age” pass which gives pass holders free admission.”

For more information on a group visitation to Eureka Springs, one should contact Box at 800-903-4940 or via email at lindaboxsales@gmail.com.  For information on the Arkansas Art Trail, one should go to arkansasarttrail.com; for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, crystalbridges.org; and for Pea Ridge National Military Park, nps.gov/peri.