Leaving my friends and family behind is sad for me, but I’m incredibly excited about my new adventures. My first big trip cross-country was nerve-wracking but getting to see things I’d never seen before and visit places I never knew about was so exhilarating!
When I left Florida, after setting up my domicile, I went back home for a week to say one last goodbye to my son and my friends. I then took a short trip to Tennessee to visit with some bagpipe band friends before going west.
After a few days of reminiscing and catching up, I was off to the races. I didn’t have much time to get to where I was going, and I wanted to enjoy the trip as much as I could while still pushing forward. I didn’t really get to see or do much, but I made sure to start out with a fun day of treating myself to new experiences.
My cousin suggested that, if I was going to be traveling through Arkansas, to check out the hot springs. I realized I was driving through and was not very far from Hot Springs, AR, so I stopped.
I am now smitten.
I spent the day visiting Hot Springs, National Park. This National Park is an amazing place to go. I wish I had had more time, but I’ll just have to go back again one day. The history of this park is storied and very cool. In 1832, before the National Parks system was created, Hot Springs was protected. This makes Hot Springs the first national park. The town grew up around the hot springs and attracted Major League Baseball spring training, Al Capone and his gangster cohorts, gambling, and even Prohibition-era speakeasies.
The town you drive through to get to the hot springs does look very much like a tourist town with primarily tchotchke-style shops lining one side of the main street. Along the other side of the street are the bathhouses. Here is where the real magic lies.
I visited the Quapaw Baths & Spa. Because it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop in Hot Springs, I didn’t have a reservation for a private bath. Not a mistake I plan on repeating. Though I did enjoy the larger pools, being able to enjoy a bath all to myself would have been ideal.
After visiting the bathhouse, I toured some of the park and saw some of the old tubs and steam boxes. The shiny silver pipes throughout the baths that move the hot spring water around are beautifully industrial. You can see some of my visit through my video on YouTube. After touring a little, I decided to have lunch. Sticking with the theme of the day, I chose to eat at Superior Bath House Brewery. This is the only brewery in the country that uses hot springs water to brew its beers.
At Superior, I had a Reuben sandwich with a rootbeer float. The rootbeer is brewed by Superior Bath House Brewery and, like the beer, uses the hot springs water. The entire meal was absolutely delish.
After lunch, I took the dogs for a walk up into the park. It was beautiful and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed drinking the fresh spring water coming down the mountain. While walking, I noticed there was a water fill station less than a block from where I was parked. After I got Gus and Trane back into the RV, I grabbed my 5-gallon water bottle and filled it at the water fill station. That was some of the freshest water (that wasn’t filtered) that I’ve had in a while. We ended the visit by driving up into the park and looking down the mountain over the town.
The next time I visit I will definitely plan ahead and spend some quality me-time in a private setting.