Hot Springs, Arkansas

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Being only an hour’s drive from Little Rock, Hot Springs, Arkansas was a quick trip this morning. Although after arriving here we found the traffic was very heavy in the historic part of the city and where I wanted to explore. At first glance I wasn’t so sure I’d like this place, but I was determined to find interesting things to do. One item I had to experience was a spa treatment hoping to feel some relief and relaxation after the past several days. 

And I did.

We found a hotel near where I was able to park on the street and although I had hoped to possibly stay at the historic Arlington Hotel, The Springs Hotel and Spa was also a good choice. After some walking up the street along Bathhouse Row, we returned to The Springs Hotel and reserved a room for tonight. 

Only two of the old bathhouses still offer the spa treatments. But so did The Springs Hotel which would make it very convenient for me to get the thing I wanted most while in Hot Springs. Richard is not into this sort of thing preferring to find other things to do. Since they had an opening at that moment I choose to stay and begin this new experience for me - my gift to myself.

A hot soak in a large old bathtub began the treatment. This tub also had a jet aparatus that allowed me to turn around and have it massage my lower back. While trying to tolerate the hot water, I felt I should have had something to eat as I was beginning to feel somewhat queazy. Though I tried to stick out my 20 minute soak, I really did start to feel faint. Best course of action was to vacate the tub and lie down on the cot in the room. Stepping out of the tub, I really felt unsteady, but carefully transferred myself to the bed and lie down to try to cool off. The attendant finally arrived, me being overheated and sweating profusely and not much cooled down. He led me to a shower that helped lower my body temp. Following that is the “cooling” where I lay on another bed but was then covered in several hot wet blankets which seemed counter intuitive, but actually did gradually start to cool my overheated body. Still perspiring and then wrapped in a robe I was able to further cool off on a bed in another room. Finally the massager came and led me to his massage table where I received a 20 minute massage. Amazingly, after that, I did feel more refreshed but not tired. 

Richard and I toured one of the old bathhouses that is now Hot Springs Park Headquarters. Visitors are allowed to tour the premises and see how the place operated in its’ heyday. For many, many years, the belief was that the hot springs waters and treatment were cures for many ailments. If nothing else, it had to be a relaxing experience. The prime time for Hot Springs was in the early 20th century, peaking in the 20’s and 30’s. By the late 40’s most of the former bathhouses had quit business. The Park Service maintains the buildings, some of them repurposed, but still very attractive and elegant. In the day, guests were treated royally, with sitting rooms to mix with other patrons, men and women had separate sides in the bathhouses, but the royal treatment was extended to both sexes. Some of the accommodations were posh with stained glass ceilings, very comfortable seating, music and very attentive staff. No wonder people liked to come to the bathhouses. Now I more fully understand “spending a day at the spa”.

Feeling ready to go exploring I hiked up Hot Springs Mountain atop which is a very tall observation tower. It was a sweat inducing endeavor in the warm, humid conditions today. The views were good with some Fall colors dotting  the heavy forest below. I returned via another trail and explored more along bathhouse row.

Tomorrow morning we plan to leave Hot Springs as early as possible and end the day in Graham, TX 377 miles away.

I am loving the overdrive on Phiona. It amazes me how much less engine noise is heard when in overdrive. Yesterday before arriving in Little Rock, we drove over 160 uninterrupted miles during which I tried to keep it below 65 mph. While my speedometer read 40/42 I was actually going 60 mph ( have a speedometer app on my cell phone that shows me the actual speed, plus records the miles driven among other things). 

Since we lost a day and a half last week and with today’s rest, we will not arrive back to Phoenix until Thursday. Richard has a flight scheduled for Thursday early evening. It may mean driving directly to the airport. I’m hoping for no interuptions or unforeseen problems. With driving distances around 314 to 377 per day, we should be on the road around 8 hours per day.