Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hot Springs, Arkansas

It’s all about the water--hot water, that is.  Hundreds of years ago native Americans came to bathe in the hot springs of Arkansas and folks are still coming, though not in the numbers they did in the early 1900s, during the “Golden Age of Bathing”.

The springs came under government administration in 1832 under the direction of Andrew Jackson as the first US reservation to protect a natural resource.  In the late 1800s private bathhouses were built, some very elaborate, along what came to be known as “bathhouse row”.

The hot water, with its minerals, was thought to be therapeutic and even doctors recommended their patients come for a soak.  By the 1950s, advances in medicine and changes in transportation and vacation destinations brought the decline of business at Hot Springs.

Fordyce Bathhouse

Today, all but two of the bathhouses are closed.  For about $60 you can still get a bath and massage at these houses.  The Park Service has their visitor center in Fordyce Bathhouse.  Its four floors have been restored and are open for touring. During summer, there are ranger led walks along Bathhouse Row.  There is also a campground and 26 miles of hiking trails.

Cooling Room

We didn’t linger, however.  We toured Fordyce, watched the very old film, and walked the length of Bathhouse Row.  Now, we are in Hot Springs Village, some 13 miles north of Hot Springs, at the local Wal-Mart.  We’ve done our shopping and are settled in for the night.

We purchased fuel this morning on our way out of Little Rock.  This time Pilot offered the best price at 3.39 and their diesel was 3.93.  However, the Murphy oil here at Wal-Mart is 3.38.

The gym was my favorite

That’s it for today. Tomorrow--Fort Smith.  Thanks for tagging along.

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