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First Time Visit Questions!!

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Springfield...
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First Time Visit Questions!!

Hello!

I'm posting this without reading anything else in this forum (YET) because I'd like some super-quick replies if possible ~ my husband and I are looking for a quick getaway this weekend and neither of us have ever been to Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is only about a 7 hour drive and we have four days off work so... my questions...

*Hotel recommendation that is in a good area, nice hotel ~ preferrably a Hilton

*Anything extra "romantic" there? Maybe a place you would recommend for a romantic dinner?

*Husband says there are literally "hot springs" there ~ is he correct? Maybe some sort of spa someone can recommend?

*He really wants to do something with ghosts ~ he says there is some sort of ghost tour or something there??

*I think we should go to the horse races on Saturday or Sunday and at least make one bet each ~ anyone know if we can just show-up this weekend and get cheap seats?? (If so, should I bring a hat??!! )

*Any place to get a decent seafood meal?

Any other recommendations or must-sees for a quick, fun getaway would be appreciated. We are kid-free and we enjoy travel and a bit of adventure

Thank you for any replies!

PS ~ I'm off to do my own research now but I always like to get answers from those in the know, too!!

little rock arkansas
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1. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

*<Hotel recommendation>: Embassy Suites - a clear choice in my view. embassysuites.hilton.com/HotSprings

*<A place you would recommend for a romantic dinner?> No clear choice. Almost everyone has their favorite in HS and they are mostly different places. I like Central Park Fusion www.centralparkfusion.com and Belle Arti. www.belleartigroup.com For lunch I would try Café 1217 www.cafe1217.net or Pres Clinton’s fav McClard’s Barbeque. There are lots of good places in HS and others will have equally good ideas. The Arlington Hotel Sunday Brunch is an old fashioned buffet with live piano music, a wide assortment, and cooking stations in a historic dining room.

*<Husband says there are literally "hot springs" there ~ is he correct? Maybe some sort of spa someone can recommend?> Yes there are actual hot springs there. You can walk around them and see where they come out of the ground. There are two kinds of spas. Several places which do "facials" and the typical things which go on in these places. These generally do not have thermal baths. In HS there are also "spas" which are tapped into the thermal waters which come directly out of the ground. You can still get the massages and facials but here you can also get the thermal baths. Three main places for this are the Buckstaff www.buckstaffbaths.com , the Quapaw www.quapawbaths.com and the Arlington www.arlingtonhotel.com . Each has its advocates. All three are in historic buildings. The Quapaw was just restored in a major way a couple years ago. It is very beautiful. The Buckstaff is much the same as it has been for many decades and it too gets praise. The Arlington bath house is in the historic Arlington Hotel. Many people love this place also.

*<He really wants to do something with ghosts ~ he says there is some sort of ghost tour or something there??> This is in Eureka Springs - I do not know of a ghost tour in HS. Perhaps others do. They have an interesting "Gangster" Museum www.tgmoa.com which talks about the days when Capone ruled the streets of HS.

*<I think we should go to the horse races on Saturday or Sunday and at least make one bet each ~ anyone know if we can just show-up this weekend and get cheap seats?? (If so, should I bring a hat??!! )> You should not have a problem getting a seat. As to dress, do not even think about dressing up for the races. It is about as casual a place as you can find. It is a great track though it will be crowded on the weekend. Walk around - you can get very close to the paddock and watch the jockeys mount their horses. There are some pretty nice, but often crowded restaurants in the track - the infield will be open in good weather. The track is well run and people are generally very nice.

*<Any place to get a decent seafood meal?> Seafood in Arkansas often means fried catfish. There are a few places which do other things with fish. The Central Park Fusion www.centralparkfusion.com would be my recommendation as a place you might find a great seafood dish. The Arlington Hotel has a seafood buffet - I believe on Friday evenings. I have not been to it but have been to their Sunday brunch which is also a buffet and they do a good job with it. You might look into this. www.arlingtonhotel.com

<Any other recommendations or must-sees for a quick, fun getaway would be appreciated. We are kid-free and we enjoy travel and a bit of adventure.>

A very nice, short walk is the "grand promenade", a historic brick paved walk which runs along the back of the bath houses. A visit to the Garvan Gardens www.garvangardens.org is usually a nice event. If you really want to get quirky, you could go diamond hunting at the US's only public diamond mine www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com or more productive, closer and fun, but less exotic perhaps, you can go crystal mining. www.colemanquartz.com or www.wegnercrystalmines.com.

Fayetteville...
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2. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

Quick reply to your quick questions:-)--Yes, you can just show up and buy a ticket to Oaklawn. This weekend is the Racing Festival of the South (the wknd leading up to AR Derby wknd). You'd be wise to get there early, especially on Saturday. Must-eats--The corned beef sandwich, an Oaklawn tradition.

Dress casually (this only applies if you are not seating in the Jockey Club or one of the boxes...but you have to know someone for those seats).

Springfield...
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3. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

These replies are just wonderful! Thank you both so very much!!

My only glitch right now is finding a hotel room ~ they are booked!!! Any ideas for somewhere CLOSE but not in Hot Springs (maybe towards Little Rock??)

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

Mississippi
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4. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

I second Central Park Fusion. Chef Paul's is a nice place also.

Central Park @ 200 Park Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 501 - 623 - 0202.

http://www.centralparkfusion.com/

Chef Paul's @ 4330 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 501 - 520 - 4187.

http://www.chefpaulsfinedining.com/

little rock arkansas
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5. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

If all places in Hot Springs are booked, here are a few places you might look at. You might double check if Lookout Point has any cancellations. It's a great place on the lake in HS. The others are outside of Hot Springs but highly recommended.

www.degray.com (State Park lodge near Arkadelphia)

www.mountainharborresort.com (On Lake Ouachita)

lookoutpointinn.com (In HS)

www.capitalhotel.com (Little Rock's best hotel)

Ward, AR
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6. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

For dinner, I'll add J S Italian Villa: www.jandsitalianvilla.com It's very nice/romantic, great food and service, indoor seating or patio with views overlooking Lake Hamilton.

I'll recommend Garvan Gardens as well, wonderful place.

Another option for place to stay at Lake Ouachita: www.bradymtn.com Lake DeGray is very pretty area as well.

On your way down or back home, you might want to stop in at Mount Magazine or Mount Nebo for great views. They are actually pretty close together and you could do both. If you happen to stop by, there is a very nice lodge at Mount Magazine with a restaurant, not many places to eat around there. Information on the parks can be found at www.arkansasstateparks.com

The only info on ghost tours I could find was www.hotspringshauntedtours.com and an older article about the Velda Rose Resort Hotel being haunted. They used to do tours, not sure if they still do.

Maybe check out a lake tour on Belle of Hot Springs.

dallas
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7. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

Look for spend a 3 or 4 days weekend trip in AR. We are interested in hiking and swimming activities. We would like to visit Hot spring national park and Garvin garden. we also want to visit Lake Ouachita or Lake Degray as well. Should we stay in hot spring and day trip to the lake or we should stay in lake resort?

Please advise

Doing my recent reserch, I found Eureka Springs really pretty. It is a bit far to drive. Do you think we can include Eureka Springs into our trip?

little rock arkansas
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8. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

If you are coming to the DeGray or Hot Springs area soon, by all means stay at one of the lakes. It is hot hot in central Arkansas. DeGray Lodge is a really popular place and as it is a State Park facility, very competitive pricewise. www.degray.com. The two other State Parks on lakes in the Hot Springs area are Lake Catherine www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakecatherine and Lake Ouachita www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakeouachita. They are also popular and real nice. They both have cabins. Ouachita will require a little more traveling for you, coming from Dallas. State Park properties in Arkansas are exceptional but fill up fast. Tip: get on waiting lists. It does not cost anything. The last I checked, most of the parks do not have stringent cancellation policies and I have made it from waiting list to a room on a few occasions

As to whether to go to Hot Springs or Eureka Springs or both: If you are mainly going for the lakes, then I’d say that DeGray, and the Hot Springs area lakes of Catherine, Hamilton or Ouachita are closer to you than Beaver/Table Rock and they are far more than adequate. I love going to any of them. Ouachita is very large and less developed but a little longer drive from Dallas. DeGray would be the closest. Hamilton is the busiest on weekends but very fun.

If you are going to see the towns, I’m definitely partial to Eureka. They have taken better care of their city, preserving very beautiful old buildings and homes. I would not try to enjoy both Hot Springs and Eureka in one long weekend, coming from Dallas.

dallas
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9. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

Thanks! I have just checked with the Lake Degray Resort, it is booked for the coming weekend till mid August. We also have our name down for the waiting list for the end og July. Thanks for your info. Any suggestions for hotel in Hot Springs area?

little rock arkansas
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10. Re: First Time Visit Questions!!

Here is a variety of places in HS area to consider:

* Embassy Suites: Excellent urban hotel, walking distance from downtown, with indoor pool, gym, and spa. hotsprings.embassysuites.com

* Lake Catherine State Park: Historic CCC log cabins, updated nicely. Get on a waiting list if full. www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakecatherine

* Lookout Point BB: Extremely nice, on Lake Hamilton (pricey) lookoutpointinn.com

* Five Points - unique family owned log cabin reasonable lodging on the lake but right near town. www.fivepointslakehamilton.com

* Staybridge Suites - A solid chain with separate living room and kitchen on lake Hamilton. ichotelsgroup.com/h/…hot-springs

* Mountain Harbor Resort on Lake Quachita www.mountainharborresort.com