EUREKA SPRINGS (Crescent Spring) -- "B"

This pointy gazebo on Spring Street in Eureka Springs houses Crescent Spring. Eureka Springs is one of the most famous and popular tourist destination in the South. In past decades visitors came from all parts of the world to partake of the local waters. Many of the hotels here are built right on top of springs for that reason, but the Palace Bath and Hotel is the only spa in operation here today.

It seems like there are springs popping out of the rocks here every few dozen yards. Sweet Spring is supposed to taste sweet, but there was construction on the fountain the day I was there. Other springs are variously associated with honeymoon couples, spiritual advancement, whatever. Many of them have historical markers next to them.

I don't want appear to dismiss Eureka Springs too lightly. There's tons of stuff to see and do here. It's a gorgeous town with a full, rich history, clean, safe and loaded with victorian ambiance. And unlike a lot of historically preserved towns, the whole town is presentable, not just a reserved district.

But...

First, Eureka Springs is one of the top tourist towns in the state. As far as I can tell, tourism is the only industry in town. I figure that the subject matter is covered more thoroughly by better travel writers than myself. The town really needs its own website. Second, Eureka Springs has a real Aspen feel to it, and the whole "bed, breakfast, bistro, boutique" scene just isn't my cup of tea.

This is one of the last places in the state, by the way, where you can see authentic hippies. See that rock ledge above the street in the bottom photo? The day I visited, there were four hippies playing bongos and flutes up there. I climbed up the steps to get their picture. I asked if they minded, and the ad hoc spokesman nervously replied, "Uh, I don't know." So I didn't. I told them I wanted them to be sure.

But they were up on that rock, believe me, and they're probably still up there, unless they went and got jobs or something.

Yeah, they're still there.

RTJ -- 4/25/97



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