When you are planning a weekend getaway to Hot Springs, Arkansas,
Mountain Thyme Bed & Breakfast Inn is a great base from which to visit Hot Springs National Park
just 18 miles down Scenic Byway 7.
In case you are wondering, the Hot Springs downtown historic district
is in the middle of Hot Springs National Park.
The park is crisscrossed with 26 miles of trails including a hike up Hot Springs Mountain,
if you are so inclined.
Yes, the springs are hot!
If you are expecting to see open bubbling springs and hot running creeks,
you'll be a little disappointed. The 47 natural springs, which emit some 700,000 gallons
of hot water daily, have long been capped to protect them. But there are some display springs
where you can put your finger in to see if it is really hot. It is.
The water percolates from deep underground at 143 degrees!
For comparison, most home hot water heaters are set to heat to a maximum of 120 degrees.
There is also a fountain with spigots in the parking lot of the Visitors Center
at the end of Bath House Row.
You can fill your water bottle there with spring water purified by Mother Nature.
Just let it cool before you take a big drink!
Shared by several American Indian tribes as a neutral ground,
the Hot Springs have long been a magical place.
Early settlers came to enjoy the hot springs and to seek cures for any number of maladies.
A town quickly grew up around the springs.
First Federal Reserve
To protect this unique national resource, Congress created the first Federally protected area
in the nation in 1832. Hot Springs Reservation, as it was first called, was renamed
Hot Springs National Park in 1921.
You can link to the the National Park Service
to learn more about Hot Springs National Park.
During the early part of the 20th century, it boomed as a "spa" city with bathhouses and
regal hotels hosting guests from all over the country. During the roaring 20s, gambling and speak
easies were as easy to find as the hot spring baths. Again it was a neutral ground;
this time it was for the competing gangs of Chicago, Detroit and New York. It is said Al Capone
kept a specific room reserved at the Arlington Hotel.
Al Capone is gone now, but the historic Arlington Hotel still stands along with several
of the old bath houses along Bath House Row. Seeing the old architecture, wandering though
the park around the display springs, and touring the Fordyce Bathhouse,
now a museum showing the history of the springs and "Spa City", are all worthwhile.
You can still get a hot bath and a massage at the
carefully restored to its grandeur of yesteryear.
Arts and Festivals
There are, of course, a number of great shops and antique stores to tempt the shopping instinct
in you. Hot Springs is developing a reputation as an arts center, with several great
art galleries nestled in along Central Avenue in the historic district,
and some renowned artists in residence. Several of the galleries join together
to host "Art Walk" on the first Friday of every month when they remain open late.
Many serve a taste of wine and have one of the artists present to talk about his or her work.
Hot Springs hosts a great
Blues Festival in September
and a much heralded
Documentary Film Festival in October,
as well as the World's Shortest St Patrick's Day Parade.
And, of course, the city celebrates Oktoberfest and goes all out decorating for the Christmas season.
Hot Springs works hard to be a great destination year round. There is always something going
on, so interesting events dot the calendar throughout the year.
Link to the Hot Springs web site
to see their "Calendar of Events" and to find more listings of things to do in and
around the Hot Springs area.