Eureka Springs is a small town hidden away in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. The drive into this area is breath-taking! On the weekends, it is amazing how many people find this little honey hole.
The old legends of Native Americans tell of healing waters at Eureka Springs. For years, people came from far away in hopes of finding a cure for terminal illnesses. One visitor had lost his sight and claimed that the water from the springs in the area renewed his vision. For many years, a doctor claimed to have found a cure for cancer in the springs. Is it folk lore or magical healing powers? That question is still being debated.
In 1879, Judge J.B. Saunders claimed the springs had cured a crippling disease that he had. This story brought thousands of visitors to the area.
On February 14, 1880, Eureka Springs was incorporated as a city. The railroad came in 1882.
In 1881, Eureka Springs was Arkansas fourth largest city and in 1889, it was the second largest city behind Little Rock. Today, there are 2073 people that call Eureka Springs home. Also known as Little Switzerland of the Ozarks, the Victorian architecture pulls in visitors by the thousands. Numerous infamous artists have called Eureka Springs home.
Our visit to Eureka Springs got off to a great start with a stop at Myrtie Mae’s for lunch. We were graciously met by their manager, Jayne. She did not hesitate to seat us in Molly’s section of the restaurant.
Molly has been with Myrtie Mae’s since 1975, and at a youthful age of 76, she knows the history of the local area.
Fried chicken is a favorite meal in Arkansas, being the home of Tyson’s and AQ Chicken, but Myrtie Mae’s has the best fried chicken this writer has ever tasted.
Another hot item is the home-made muffins and there is only one way to finish off a perfect lunch and that would be “Possum Pie”. Now, Possum Pie is not “Road Kill”!! Starting with a graham cracker crust, you have chocolate mouse, whipped cream, sprinkled with nuts and drizzled with more chocolate syrup. WOW!!
Nestled on top of the mountain is the infamous 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Crescent as one one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations. 127 years old and like a good bottle of wine, just gets better with age.
There are 15 acres of beautiful gardens and hiking trails. Known as one of America’s Most Haunted Hotels, we bravely went on the Ghost Tour. Connie swears she felt some sort of strange like presence in one of the rooms. I am not sure bout this!! The hotel is legendary as a former hospital for the cure of cancer using the mineral springs of the local area. Numerous people died at this site hoping for the improbable cure. The morgue is in the basement and is part of the tour!! This old Victorian hotel is not perfect and that is to be expected.
Every weekend, the 1886 Crescent Hotel is the host to numerous weddings and other events. Their staff are pure professionals that dote on every guest as if they were celebrities. This was our second stay at the hotel and our next trip will also be at the 1886 Crescent Hotel.
A stop in Eureka Springs would not be complete without dinner at Ermilio’s. Arkansas Times 2010 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Italian Restaurant All Around Arkansas and Best Restaurant in Eureka Springs. This place is to die for. No reservations are available, just come on down. Located at 26 White Street just a few short blocks from the 1886 Crescent Hotel.
What a great experience dinner at this family owned restaurant was. Owner, Paul Wilson, takes a tremendous amount of pride in the overall dining experience of Ermilio’s.
We were promptly seated in a semi-private area of only three tables right next to the kitchen. Our waiter, Cliff, recommended the Pork Chop, which Connie could not resist. His other favorite was the seared Salmon.
While waiting for the meal, we were invited into the kitchen to meet Chef David. You know you are in for a treat anytime you get invited into the kitchen. The operation is amazing!
The pork chop was more than an ample serving and so tender, a knife is an option.
The fresh mussels were received that day and was a great appetizer. They were large and delicious!!
We obviously over ate and then we were approached by Pastry Chef Jane. In the photo below, she proudly displays the desert choices, which are all freshly made on site each day. Cliff recommended the Italian creme cake and it was totally unbelievable. Need not worry of getting a good nights sleep after a meal like this!! We visited with several patrons and they were all totally delighted. Ermillio’s just has to be part of your visit!
Well, the next morning took us to the Mud Street Cafe where we were met by the manager, Jennifer Cross.
This restaurant is in the middle of the shopping district and is famous for breakfast and lunch. Connie had her usual yogurt and granola, but I could not resist Jennifer’s recommendation of the Mexican Omelet. This dish is loaded with refried beans, various bell peppers, onions, cheese and jalapenos. They have numerous coffees available and the atmosphere is shown below. They are also famous for their muffins. We explained to Jennifer that we could not possibly eat another bite, she insisted that we take a couple of muffins for a snack later in the day. This offer could not be refused!!
Jennifer is a ball of energy that never stops. Of our numerous businesses, Jennifer would have been a great find as a manager!! Let the day begin!!
Throughout the day and night, we kept running into people we had seen earlier in the day. It seemed we were all eating and shopping in the same places. Makes me think, we must be in the right place!!
Shop Til You Drop
The absolute highlight of this community is the shopping. As you walk up and down the streets there are literally thousands of things to look at. If you can’t find something of interest, you just aren’t looking. There are knick-knacks, art pieces, clothes, everything!!
The shop owners know that they depend on visitors to be successful. They know how to make you feel welcome. One place of interest was the leather shop. The prices were outstanding and the selection is unbelievable!
I have mentioned a few places to eat. Eureka Springs has a ton of great places to eat or have an adult beverage. We just did a lot of research and found what was thought to be the BEST places. And we were not disappointed! Enjoy your next visit to Eureka Springs, we certainly will!! See ya down the road!!