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.