Arkansas - My Family's Second Home

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. giradman

    giradman
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    In the early 1970s, just after I graduated from medical school from the University of Michigan (my home state then), and moved w/ Susan to North Carolina, my father decided to retire early and picked the state of Arkansas - he moved there w/ my mother and two younger brothers - first to a rural community north of Little Rock near Conway - he built a house - we first visited in 1972 - later he relocated to Hot Springs in the southwest area of the state and a popular tourist attraction; again he built another house. We just returned from a family visit, and I've never discussed this interesting state although I've been there dozens of times over 4 decades.

    Arkansas, name derived from a regional American Indian language, is surrounded by a half dozen states (Missouri north, Louisiana south, Oklahoma & Texas west, and Tennessee & Mississippi east) - see the maps below. Arkansas entered the Union in 1836 as the 25th state - the state flag uses the colors of the USA flag - the outer stars add up to 25; the inner stars represent the countries/governments that controlled the land, i.e. the lower three represent Spain, France, and the USA, and the upper single one the Confederate States during the Civil War. The other images show various sites in the state that we've visited over many years and also the Hot Springs area where my family has lived for a long time. Upcoming posts will concentrate on Hot Springs, Little Rock, and a number of other towns and attractions. This is a travelogue long in coming - the number of posts will depend on input from others and I hope there are some members living in the state who will contribute? Dave :)
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  2. giradman

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    Hot Springs, Arkansas

    Hot Springs is unique - a National Park as described below in the quotes - past history of gambling, speakeasies, and gangsters, such as Al Capone - in one of our stays @ the Arlington Hotel (see pics below), we were on the floor w/ a sign on a suite where Capone stayed. Oaklawn Park is still a popular seasonal horse racing event for the city - both my sisters-in-law have worked there during the racing season. Many other attractions are available, including a lake ride on the Belle or the Ducks (amphibious vehicles) and the observation tower giving spectacular views of the lakes and Ouachita Mountains.

    On this visit, Susan and I decided to stay at a condo on Lake Hamilton (South Lake Shore Resort), shown below w/ a view from our deck of portions of the lake and the background mountains - beautiful scenery and warm weather for this time of the year. We enjoyed visiting our relatives and had some great food - for dinner, we ate at Fisherman's Wharf, about 5 minutes from our resort condo - we shared a dozen oysters each of three dinners (from Louisiana, a state below Arkansas) - I had three different fishes - Susan had fried frog legs and fried catfish, a local specialty! Next up our 2-night visit to Little Rock. Dave :)

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  3. scifan57

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    A very interesting travel story,with the obligatory oysters at the end.
     
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  4. giradman

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    Hi Scifan.. - well, the state sits on top of Louisiana on the Gulf Coast, so fresh oysters are close! We shared a dozen each of our 3 meals at the Fisherman's Wharf and all were delicious - yum! More posts to come - Dave :)
     
  5. scifan57

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    Did you try out one of the historic bathhouses?
     
  6. giradman

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    We have visited the Visitor's Center (back in the 1990s), and Susan & my mother have 'taken the waters' - Susan has been to many 'spas' over the decades and visiting an old fashioned bathhouse there is a flashback to the past - believe that she was in a BIG tub and was scrubbed, then had a number of other 'treatments' (don't remember the details); for me, I'm just not a 'spa guy', so only did the tour - this was a while back; my mother past away in 1998.

    Since bathhouses are an important part of Hot Springs National Park and of historic interest, a little more information is quoted below; many of these have been renovated and offer a variety of services - for spa lovers, this is an unique experience to explore - the link provides descriptions of the buildings and additional links to each one which hopefully provides timely information on their current operations. The pics below from the web show the beauty of many of these restored properties; above 'Bathhouse Row' is a beautifully landscaped park w/ a promenade and walking trails. Dave :)

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  7. giradman

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    Little Rock State Capitol

    Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and the most populous city in the state - quoted below a little history. There are many historic and newer governmental buildings, the Clinton Library, Historic and Art Museums, the Governor's Mansion, historic Central High School. The town is on the Arkansas River w/ the main streets paralleling the water. In this and the next few posts, I'll focus on some of the sites visited, none of which I've seen before despite visiting the state for over 40 years. We had just 2 nights in the city which included a Sunday afternoon and full day Monday.

    Our first stop was the Arkansas State Capitol; several architects worked on the plans and the building is a scale model of the US Capitol. Construction took 16 years, from 1899 to 1915; the exterior is made of Arkansas limestone - total construction cost was $2.2 million at the time, or $320 million in 2014 dollars! The grounds has multiple monuments and memorials representing various parts of the state's past and present. They include the Monument to Confederate Soldiers, Liberty Bell replica, Bauxite and Granite Boulders, Confederate War Prisoners Memorial, Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Arkansas Medal of Honor Memorial, Memorial Fountain, Monument to Confederate Women, and Little Rock Nine Civil Rights Memorial.

    On Sunday, the building is toured on your own although guided tours are offered on other days - inside are the Governor's Office, Senate & House, and the Supreme Court; of course along w/ many other support and personnel offices - shown below are all my own pics (love the outside panoramic view) - former Arkansas Governor and USA President, Bill Clinton is featured in several places. Susan had a cold and was tired so I caught her relaxing on a first floor bench. Flash was not used for the inside shots, so not the greatest pics - sorry. Dave :)

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  8. giradman

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    Dome - Arkansas State Capitol

    Just wanted to add a few comments about the beautiful dome (213 ft from the ground floor w/ gold leaf on the cupola) - just a web pic w/ a different color emphasis - Dave :)

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  9. scifan57

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    Are people allowed to climb to the top of the dome?
     
  10. giradman

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    Not sure if opened to the public vs. special invitation - there is a railing that can be seen so the dome is certainly accessible - I climbed the stairs to the 4th floor which included the galleries that overlooked the 3rd floor Senate and House Chambers.

    In 2013, the dome underwent a major restoration (see video below, if interested) - also, for those interested in a self-guided tour, checkout our these PDF links - LINK 1 and LINK 2 - Dave :)

    P.S. after watching that video below, the pic of the dome in my previous post may have been pre-restoration.


     

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