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Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

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Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

I'm visiting Eureka Springs on my way to Bentonville to see the Crystal Bridges Art Museum. I was very excited to find so many really interesting things to see in Eureka Springs! It really sounds like a lovely city, so I decided to spend one night in Eureka Springs and one night in Bentonville.

I need a critique on my itinerary and suggestion for place to stay in Eureka Springs for Friday night. I already booked the 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville for Saturday night.

Here's what I'm thinking. But please let me know which order might make sense to do these things and if I'm allowing enough time.

1. Friday morning, drive from Memphis to Eureka Springs about 5 hours (any scenic route suggestions?)

2. Check out St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church

3. Walk around historic areas to see architecture and get some food (I know Spring Street applies here, but not sure where else-- ideas?)

4. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Ozark Mountains (see afternoon feeding)

5. Spend the night somewhere in Eureka Springs

6. See the Thorncrown Chapel on the way to Bentonville

little rock arkansas
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1. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

You have an excellent itinerary. The sequence and pattern of travel is perfect. I would take a route to eureka which takes you through what we call buffalo river country. You might make a stop at lovely lost valley in Boxley for a walk to the waterfalls (if there has been some rain!). Museum hotel 21c is perfect and its hive restaurant quite good. Be sure to walk through Alice Walton's park to the museum from the hotel. James at the mill restaurant in Johnson near Fayetteville is another fine restaurant. However, there is no clear cut choice for dining and lodging in eureka. Everyone has a favorite. You might consider what type experience you seek. Do you need extra space or is a small bedroom sufficient? Do you like an urban feeling hotel where you can walk out on the Main Street and listen to music and visit galleries or would you be more comfortable in the woods or by a lake? Would you like a small B and B or a historic hotel. Likewise each of us have a favorite place to eat. There are no clear choices.

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2. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

JimJade, thanks for your response! I should have mentioned that I'd like to stay in the downtown area. The problem I'm having is that a lot of the B&Bs require two nights stay on the weekends. I just need Friday night. I contacted the Peabody House via email to see if they'd let me stay just Friday, and received no response. I see that the Palace Hotel and Bath House Spa lets you stay one night, but from the pictures of the rooms, it doesn't seem that the price they charge is justified, particularly since the breakfast is continental.

I would probably prefer a hotel, but I'm not used to staying in the motel type places I keep finding online. The only chains I see are Best Western and Days Inn, not really what I have in mind. Hmmm. I thought about the Lookout Lodge, but the reviews I read about the noise and the rude owners kind of turned me off.

Not sure what to do. This room is for the 28th, by the way.

little rock arkansas
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3. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

You might take a look at the New Orleans. It has a great location and is a nice historic property. I have not stayed there in a few years but it was fine then. They do not have an elevator which adds to the ambience but requires a bit of exercise.

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4. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

JimJade, I had New Orleans bookmarked to read more about and when you mentioned it I went back to read their policies. They have a minimum stay as well! I really want to stay a night at the 21C in Bentonville, and now I'm starting to wonder if I should just stay both nights there and see the stuff in Eureka Springs on the way to Bentonville and on the way back. I had just hoped to stay in ES Friday night because there seem to be more restaurant options and interesting things to do in ES.

Looks like Flatiron Flats is booked from their website. I also checked with the the Turpentine Refuge and I can't stay one night unless it's Sunday night, and that won't work. I'm starting to hate two-night minimum stays!

It seems Palace Hotel and Bath House may be the only option that might work for me. Anyone think it's worth their prices? $189 to $229. Or does anyone know of a place that doesn't have a two night minimum stay that applies to Friday nights?

little rock arkansas
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5. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

Moonslice I spoke to Lee at the New Orleans. He said that the 28th is not turning out to be really busy and that if you call him at the New Orleans hotel that he will make an exception and offer you a single night at regular rates. Mention tripadvisor and let him know that the destination expert has contacted you. I think it will be a nice way to experience beautiful eureka springs

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6. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

Thanks! I booked a room, but Lee wasn't there. I spoke with someone named Stewart and told him I talked with the destination expert. The rate was $189 for a King, but it sounds like a nice hotel. (He said he's $149 Sunday to Thursday) And they are allowing me to stay one night, but it sounds like they typically wouldn't do that until Wednesday and only if they aren't busy. Anyhow, they have a 72 hour cancel policy, so looks like I'm definitely going! ; ) I'm fine with the no elevator. I stayed at an old hotel in San Francisco without an elevator. I asked a ton of questions when booking, but forgot to ask them if they have showers in addition to the tubs... I booked over the phone since the website appeared to be down. Do you remember if they have showers? I read somewhere that some places in ES only have tubs.

I'll report back after my stay. Thanks again.

little rock arkansas
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7. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

Sorry I cannot remember about the showers. I think they have retrofitted vintage tubs with shower heads but i cant say for sure. That rate sounds high. Lee started quoting prices beginning at 109 but I had no idea of your needs so I told him that you would be in touch. The hotel had a nice ambience when we stayed there. Pretty authentic and perfectly located but not lavish at all. it will be an interesting contrast staying in eureka one night and in museum hotel 21c the next. Ask 21c if they will put a green penguin in your room for company! Seriously!

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8. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

Hmm. Maybe I should have asked to have Lee call me. The guy I talked to said he wasn't there. I think $189 is the regular rate for the King. I wonder what $109 was? There's a $20 cancel fee, so I will probably stick with this. I need to move on to other things. I think I've spent more time planning this weekend trip than I did for a European trip last year! Ha.

But I will ask this:

We're looking at three different routes from Memphis to Eureka Springs. One is taking 167 and 65 through Searcy and Buffalo National River and Harrison. Another is taking 40 through Little Rock, Conway, Russellville and changing to route 7 to Harrison. The other is taking 63 and 412 through Jonesboro and Mountain Home.

Those are just quick summaries looking at the Google Map options I printed. I have the directions, but just wondering which route might be be more desirable. I don't want to spend a lot longer on the road than we have to and would rather pass through places with options for lunch and restrooms breaks. However, I might go a bit out of the way to see a more scenic route. I guess I'm looking for a good balance.

little rock arkansas
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9. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

You probably will get other suggestions on your routing and each has its virtues. My personal favorite route is taking 40 to Clarksville and 21 up through my all time favorite part of Arkansas, the beautiful Boxley Valley. There are often elk sightings along this route. The national elk center is just beyond Boxley in Ponca. To complicate things there is one other thing you might consider - a stop at the Clinton presidential library in Little Rock. It is only 5 minutes out of your way and a great facility which can be speed visited in an hour. A couple other thoughts on crystal bridges: Be sure and walk the grounds around crystal bridges. they should be unbelievable this time of year...and here is a secret tip - visit the wonderful but hidden library on the second floor of the museum. It is free and open to the public but barely advertised and seldom visited. Also ask if the Warhol drawing donated by the Sutherland family is hanging. My professor friend from the university of arkansas slept under a drawing Andy Warhol did when he was a fellow student of my friend's wife for 50 years. The wife bought it from her fellow student when he needed a few bucks, and unbeknownst to all his friends, the professor and his wife slept under this 50 million dollar piece of art which they could not even afford to insure, until they bequeathed it to crystal bridges!

Edited: 25 March 2014, 12:57
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10. Re: Which Order to Visit These Sites and Where for Home Base

Thanks for the route suggestion! I do want to visit the Presidential Library in Little Rock, but with only two nights away, I'm not sure if I can add it. I'm sure we'll have some excuse to visit Little Rock in the future.

We're leaving Friday morning, and hoping to get in Eureka Springs by 3 p.m. That would give us that afternoon to explore the town. Might check out Local Flavor Cafe for dinner Friday night, but I see a lot of mixed reviews about them. Next morning, I was thinking we'd do the other things like Thorncrown and maybe the animal refuge if we can fit it in. (OR maybe it would make more sense to reverse this and see the chapel and refuge on the way in and the town Saturday morning?)

Then, to Bentonville Saturday afternoon. It looks like we can't check in at 21C until 4, unless they let us early. But that probably doesn't matter. I was thinking we'd walk through Compton Gardens leading to Crystal Bridges. But this is yet another garden that isn't part of the museum gardens, correct? Also, wanting to check out the crepes place which is right by the 21C I think. Might do The Hive for dinner Saturday night. Are reservations required or strongly suggested?

Sunday morning, we'll probably get up and have breakfast and drive back. I wish I could talk the husband into taking Monday off too so we have more time, but don't think he's going for that!

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