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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hot Springs, Arkansas - Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Woodland Gardens is a very unique  botanical garden  in the Ouachita Mountains at Hot Springs.  Even though it was summer and few blooms were expected, we were surprised at how beautiful the gardens were this time of year.

American Beauty

Walking Path

We were impressed with the glass art touches throughout the gardens and decided if we ever have a backyard again, we would have to do this.

The gardens run along the shoreline of Lake Hamilton so there are a lot of water features

More glass art...


glass art tree

Lake Hamilton

There were several artistically designed  bridges to cross.

a variety of iris

A variety of daisy

these were impressive plants

I want some of thee peppers

More glass art

Hot Springs, Arkansas - Historic Downtown and Farmer's Market

OK. We might be very square but we can not pass up a real farmers market.

Just love looking at the produce

 I love the squash

I had a thought of him drawing a fly in between her eyes and her looking cross eyed at it in the sketch.

Downtown buildings

Honestly, when I signed up for the cooking class at Granny's Kitchen, I did not know we would all be nude.

Hey! Hey Red! Darn she ignored me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hot Springs, Arkansas - Bathhouse Row

So, living full time in an RV makes us crazy about taking baths, but, evidently, we are not the only people obsessed with a good bath. Hot Springs, of course, gets its name from the naturally thermal spring waters found here.  Flowing out of the ground at an average temperature of 143 °F, the hot springs produce almost one million gallons of water each day. The existing bathhouses are third and fourth generations bathhouses along Hot Springs Creek that  sit directly over the hot springs.  A lot of famous people took a bath here; there are many photos showing  Al Capone,  Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, and Babe Ruth soaking in the tubs and lounging about in their bathrobes.

The Bathhouse Row contains eight bathhouses aligned in a row: Buckstaff, Fordyce, Hale, Lamar, Maurice, Ozark, Quapaw, and Superior. These were independent, competing, commercial enterprises. The entire  area is included in the National Historic Landmark.

Today a basic mineral bath: 35 bucks; A deluxe package, including a twenty min. full body massage 76 bucks...hmmm...

so tempting...

they had an excellent marketing strategy back then...

a very interesting and historic bath house

 In  Indian mythology the valley of the hot springs was considered neutral ground, a healing place and the sacred territory of the Great Spirit.

You can see the know that bath would be spectacular!

Well, if you don't bathe in it, you can drink it.  They have free watering stations where, as you can see, people line up to take home this stuff to drink.  Why would you want to go buy bottled water in this town??? By the way, that water is delicious!

Hot Springs, Arkansas - Oaklawn - Horse Racing/Gaming

In case you don't want to go to the historic district and spend lots of money on T-Shirts and soaps ( will explain that later), you have this option.  Still in business and drawing in the crowds is Oaklawn built in 1904. 
. Back in those days, Hot Springs became a haven for notorious criminals and mobsters, including Owen “Owney” Madden, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, and Al Capone. There is a gangster museum in town detailing the lively history between the spas, horse track, and baseball...
 We found a gate opened and decided they wanted us to take a tour.  Though we don't have too much knowledge of horse racing; the track's website says they have boasting rights to the following champions since opening:  Temperence Hill, Cigar, Curlin, Paseana, Azeri, Tiffany Lass, Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Rachel Alexandra, Lookin At Lucky, Blind Luck and Zenyatta and hosts Triple Crown contenders annually.

It is a huge complex, row upon row of stables that bustle with activity during January through April. 

coming 'round the bend...Lucky Horseshoes by a nose...

Horse racing with a church steeple in the background.