Several weeks back, so far back that I don't even remember exactly when, we took a day trip to quaint little Eureka Springs. Googling "Eureka Springs" reveals that the city's tagline is "The Extraordinary Escape." Extraordinary it is indeed.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Arkansas (and yes, I am aware that "tourist destination" and "Arkansas" might be considered an oxymoron), Eureka Springs is maybe the cutest town ever. And those are strong words from someone like me, who has previously said pretty much the same thing about Madrid, New Mexico. Having now been to both more than once, I'd probably say that Eureka Springs probably wins, because it is (a) bigger, and (b) has more fudge shoppes.
A quick 45 minute drive from Fayetteville, the entire town of Eureka Springs is on the National Register of Historic places. I've seen it referred to as a "Victorian resort village," which although ridiculous sounding, is actually pretty accurate. The town has narrow winding streets, is very hilly, and has many Victorian homes in varying stages of disrepair. It's a weird mix of a town, with many shops and B&Bs dedicated to weddings, a fairly ragin' biker community, lots of artists, and for Arkansas, it's pretty hip with the GLBT folk.
Here's an example of an artist's commune fairly close to downtown:
A word of advice to those of you who might someday visit this quaint little town: it's not always very friendly to cars. If you get lost, you could end up driving around a big loop around the town, or you could look at a map and try to take a shortcut and end up on a dirt road winding through a valley. Let me tell you, a Toyota Corolla doesn't really like dirt roads in valleys.
By the time we finally found a place to park, we were starving, and in the mood for a sandwich at a cute local place. You know, one of the kinds of places that has doilies on the table and homemade bread. Um, we did not find one of those places. Rather, we sat down at the first place that we found, and their "fruit and salad plate" involved some iceberg lettuce, a poorly sliced apple and some orange slices. We were also entertained by the table next to us doing "liquid marijuana" shots which apparently is some kind of alcoholic drink that I'd never heard of.
After we had whatever they were passing off as food, we wandered the cute little town:
The best part of the wanderings was the random little stores we found. One place had a lot of used antique-type jewelry, vintage clothing, and weird stuff the owners made. Like this piece of awesome:
I cannot express to you, blog-o-sphere, how much I love this table. It's like the partner of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story! There were more of them, too! I managed to snap this picture before the owner barked at me "Some people might get mad if you take pictures without permission....good thing I'm not one of them!" before she cackled. Apparently her man makes these tables for fun...he showed us several of his other creations before we were able to escape the store. Rest assured, I'd go back there, as the woman also made some fantastic feathered hair pieces that I might think about wearing at the wedding.
Also, check this out:
It's a motorcycle...made of baskets!
Apparently Eureka Springs has lots of outdoor music, opera, and Shakespeare in the summer. They have several ice cream shops, and had we been patient enough to walk another block, plenty of adorable places to find homemade soup and bread. It's an adorable, quirky, quaint town that is just a quick jaunt away. Rest assured, if anyone ever gets around to visiting us, we will take you there, because it might just be the best place to go in Arkansas.