When we were in Eureka Springs last year, one of the things I wanted to do was take a walking tour of the neighborhoods. More than historic homes, these are the Victorian gingerbread cottages that were the summer homes of the rich and the not so rich that were built when E.S. was developing into a destination. Many of these houses were built in the early part of the last century and many have been kept up and many have fallen into sad disrepair.
One of the questions I asked Rob as we drove through downtown on our way to find parking was how they expected the houses to last if there wasn’t even window glass in the upper stories. We don’t understand that expectation, but as we moved out of the actual downtown area and into the residential neighborhoods, we found that most of the houses have been better maintained than the houses that have been turned into artist studios downtown.
So, here’s the thing you need to know. Downtown and the springs are in a valley. The houses are built on the sides of the mountains. I’ve tried to take a few pictures to illustrate that. I took over 200 pictures yesterday. These houses seem to clutch the mountainside and one side of the house will be on the ground and the other side may be 20 feet in the air. The streets curve and twist and turn and not everything that is named a street on the map is actually a paved road. Some were just dirt paths that used to be considered a street; park at the top and walk down the trail to your front door.
It has a charm that I’ve not seen anywhere else, even in the broken down houses.
This first picture is of Pond Mountain Lodge, nestled in the trees.
We mailed letters from the post office and paid to park across the street. We put a dollar and a half in the meter and that gave us an hour and a half. We walked the whole time and got back to the truck just as our meter time expired.
Here is a great illustration of how the houses are situated. The back of this one is on the mountain. The front is about 10 feet above it.
This next one must be full of stairs inside because different rooms were at different levels of the mountainside.
This must have been an old boarding house that was not in very good shape. The top floor was at street level. It went down three more floors from there. This would have made a perfect B&B if it were being better taken care of.
Can you imagine living in this kind of splendor?
From street level, you looked down into people’s back yards.
Again, a terrific house on French Street. French St has a boardwalk sidewalk up the mountain, just as it had in the 30’s when a fire devastated the lower houses on this side of the mountain, leaving just a restaurant at the top. The rebuild was in the same style as the original houses.
I can’t remember which street this was. But, it was labeled on the map as an actual street and we walked to the bottom of this very steep hill. There are beautiful stone walls and steps everywhere. Course, when you’re digging into the mountain to build, you end up with lots of stone.
As we came down this street, there were houses fronting it on the left and the right was downhill. We are at roof level, shooting down into these people’s yard.
Without Rob’s GPS, we would have been lost many times.
This deer was unfazed by us walking by and talking about it. We were maybe 35 feet away and it was munching on these people’s grass.
After the walk, we went to a working grist mill. Somehow, in my awe, I didn’t take any pictures, but Rob got some video. We ate there, sandwiches on bread baked with flour and cornmeal they had stone ground. My sandwich was an open faced turkey sandwich on cornbread with a thick slice of delicious home grown tomato. The cornbread was so good, I had to buy a bag of their cornbread mix. And, I wanted a bag of grits. I picked yellow corn grits and found out that it is called “yankee grits” because it is yellow…and as the lady at the counter said, “like a yankee”. Guess the “war of northern aggression” really does rage on in some places.
As we drove, we stopped at a few open antique stores and managed to pick up a few things.
And, I found a quilt I could afford. It was pretty ragged tho.
We didn’t do too much walking after Sydney’s ride because she somehow managed to get under an 800 pound horses hoof and was “gimpy”. (Pardon the nails, girly-girl still under construction)
We finished with a buffet dinner at an okay restaurant. I’m not much of a snob, but it was a little plain. After that, we finished with artisan cupcakes and another good sleep.
Everybody have a great Thursday. It’s our last day and we will be packing anything we didn’t get done earlier into today. And, repacking everything we brought with us. Sad day to finish a happy trip.
Be well and have a good day. Lane