We wanted to take a trip over Christmas break that would be relaxing and not involve a ton of work or planning. Since we’ve been to most places within driving distance of Kansas City, we were kind of at a loss for where to go until we stumbled upon Eureka Springs, Arkansas. At first I was skeptical, because I didn’t think of Arkansas as an exciting travel destination. But once we started reading the reviews for places in the area we decided to give it a shot.
Eureka Springs is about 4.5 hours from KC, and we decided to make a few stops on the way there. First we stopped at the Crystal Bridges Art Museum, which is funded by Walmart. The building itself was really cool and would be even more pretty in the nice weather.
I loved this big metal tree as you drive up! Entry to the museum was free, thanks to the Walton family’s sponsorship. I’m not a big art museum person so I wasn’t super into going here at first but it was actually one of my favorite attractions on the trip. It was really a first class museum, well worth the visit.
They had a really great variety of art, including from some people that I had actually heard of (like Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, George O’Keefe, etc).
They also had a lot of 3D art/sculptures which are my favorite kind of art.
I loved this enormous piñata car. I’m a very sophisticated art viewer, can’t you tell.
We spent about an hour going through the galleries at the museum and then we went down to the coffee shop area to get a drink.
They had a good coffee shop where I got this ginger apple drink that was really good. Across from it was this “water bar.” They were doing water tastings and I’ve never done a “water tasting” before so I had to participate. They had three different water containers from different sources- a lake, a stream and somewhere else. I could taste a big difference in the lake water, it was very earthy tasting. Apparently that’s the public water in Bentonville. It was pretty interesting.
After we left Crystal Bridges, we stopped by the Walmart museum. It was in the original site of Sam Walton’s first store and had all sorts of cool stuff about his background and story. I love stories about people who have a vision and build businesses so I loved reading about his story.
In the brick building they have an old fashioned soda fountain so we got some ice cream sundaes before heading on to Eureka Springs.
I always try to find interesting hotels or places to stay when I’m traveling, and I was so excited that we found this place. These treehouses were amazing. Each treehouse had a different theme- Paris (ours), Southwestern, etc. The interiors were really well done and each treehouse has a jacuzzi tub, a fireplace and a nice balcony with a pretty view of the woods. Bonus- there’s a big tree in the middle of the treehouse so it really feels like you’re in a tree. They even have big castle treehouses and some hobbit caves. I wanted to go back and try all the different ones.
The next day we explored downtown Eureka Springs. It was adorable! The buildings were really unique and beautiful and there were tons of cute shops. My favorite stores were the candle store, where I got really great smelling potpourri, and some of the galleries that sold beautiful wood and glass items.
We had been told by multiple people that we had to go to the Crescent Hotel if only to look around. Apparently it’s the third most haunted hotel in America. We had a drink in their Skybar restaurant and the view was totally worth it.
The hotel itself was cool but it definitely didn’t feel as haunted and creepy as my tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary.
The second night we wanted to experience a true Eureka Springs B&B. The one we reserved is the #2 B&B in town and it was awesome. I think B&Bs are hit and miss sometimes but I will definitely come back to theRed Bud Manor. The room was really well done, the details were excellent (like chocolate covered strawberries, fresh cookies in the room) and the breakfast was amazing. The innkeeper made cinnabun waffles and creme brûlée.
On Saturday we headed back downtown for our massages at the Suchness Spa. We had some time to kill so we had breakfast at the only place open, Nibbles. Breakfast was good but the restaurant was so tiny and busy that there was about a 30 minute wait. Our massages were pretty good, but there are so many different spas in Eureka Springs that I would want to try somewhere new if I went again.
Since the weather was kind of cold and rainy we decided to head to one of the area caves for a tour. There were a few in the area but Cosmic Caverns was the closest one.
I think my favorite part of this cave was the big lake in the middle. The water was really pretty.
After caving we had dinner at Local Flavor Cafe. Everyone had recommended it and we should’ve made reservations because it was an hour wait when we arrived. The food was worth it though, everything we had was really good.
After dinner we decided to find our lodging for the night, which was a caboose 2 miles outside of town. Luckily we found it in the daylight because it was in the middle of nowhere off a gravel road.
The caboose itself was really cool and well done. They totally redid the inside and it was basically like a little RV. It even had a refrigerator and microwave. But I was a little freaked out being so far out in the middle of nowhere. I had myself freaked out about a serial killer sneaking through the woods so I wouldn’t go out and use the hot tub that was right by our caboose.
See, kinda creepy at night, am I right?
The next day we headed back towards KC but stopped at Inspiration Point in Eureka Springs, which had a really beautiful view of the valley. I want to go back when the fall leaves are out.
We also stopped to see Christ of the Ozarks. It’s pretty huge and you can see it on the hill from downtown.
We also stopped at the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, MO on the way back. I think they’re really cute but Patrick didn’t agree.
Our last stop was at Big Brutus. I’d visited there before when I was little but it was just as big as I remembered it as a little kid. It’s the largest remaining shovel in the world weighing in at 22 million tons. You can do a self tour through the inside which is like a giant warehouse and you can go stand in the bucket. I think it’s worth the stop if you’re driving through.
We arrived back in KC Sunday evening. It was the perfect weekend road trip and I’m excited to go back to Eureka Springs in better weather.