Beebe, where Fade is set, is one such town. Eureka Springs, where The Husbinator and I spent mini-vacation, is another. There are a grand total of 2,200 some odd people in the town, but it's one of the biggest small tourist towns in Arkansas.
This tiny town is nestled high up in the mountains, and is absolute paradise if you're a nature lover like I am. And I do mean it's paradise. Lots of water, lots of woods, lots of mountains, and lots of crumbling ruins and stairs that lead nowhere but into the thick of the trees. It's awesome, and so laid back and calm.
The Husbinator and I left early Friday morning, got there Friday afternoon and got settled into the little cabin. It was on the edge(ish) of town, nestled in the woods with a smattering of houses. It was cute. The only problem was that The Husbinator drives a massive truck, and the driveways for this place were tiny. It was nerve wracking trying to squeeze the truck between the little buildings and trees!
Once we settled in, we dozed for a while. I have awful motion sickness, and it's always worse in the mountains. The drive in was no exception, so I was exhausted by the time we got there. I'd also forgotten the camera back home, so had to make do with my phone's camera.
After our nap, we decided to go check out the town, and grab ice cream and dinner (in that order. Don't judge. We were on vacation!). I didn't get pictures because, well, ice cream looks the same no matter where you get it. I did get a good laugh though. The lady who runs the shoppe asked if I wanted 5 scoops or 4. How the heck does someone eat 5 scoops of ice cream?! I only wanted one!
We were going to climb the 100 foot observation tower while we were there, but it was broken so we couldn't. No worries though, we found another one... and I'll tell you more about that later!
After ice cream, we went downtown to check it out. If you've been to Eureka Springs, you know how adorable and old it is. If not, I probably won't do it justice, but it's amazing, y'all. The roads are incredibly narrow and full of historical buildings, cute little cottages, and restaurants all living peacefully with residences, a massive dog that scared the ever living crap out of me (it looked like a demon dog!), and the cutest little things set out in random places (like the Monolith and Robot in the pictures below). We opted to drive through on Friday, and then we parked and walked through on Saturday evening.
In case I haven't mentioned it by this point, I love coming across stairs and crumbled walls and old buildings and things. It always gets my imagination going, and it's always so calm and soothing for some reason. Eureka had a ton of each, so I was a happy little graduate. There were also outdoor art galleries, metal sculptures, and all sorts of neat little things to look at while you walked around downtown.
|The Art Colony, downtown|
|Carriage horse taking a break|
|Art in the outdoor art gallery|
|More outdoor art gallery art|
|Ancient hotel part 2|
|Tiny train at the station downtown|
|Monolith hanging out in a random spot|
|Junkyard robot, also hanging out randomly|
|Ye tiny old house downtown|
|The Roundhouse. I just love these stairs!|
|Stairs to nowhere, that I also adore|
|Tiny, old shed peeking out of the trees|
|The Potting Shed. Freaking adorable!|
|A cute little landscaping job downtown|
After our drive, we stopped at the East Mountain Lookout to take a look at the Crescent Hotel. This hotel claims to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. It was opened in 1886 and served as a resort hotel for several years before Norman Baker bought it to house his "cancer hospital". Norman Baker was little more than a quack, of course, and swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars out of cancer patients in the form of a miracle cure that only hastened their deaths. The hotel is said to be haunted by patients, a stonemason that died while building the hotel, and even Norman Baker himself. The Ghost Hunters have investigated it once or twice, and got some crazy images and such. Regardless, it's a beautiful and tragic piece of local history that certainly looks like the kind of place ghosts would hang out.
After checking out the hotel from the gazebo on the opposite mountain, we headed back to the cabin. On Saturday, we slept in, and then headed out to the caves to do a bit of exploring. I took about a thousand pictures inside the caves, and my phone didn't save a single one. I'm so bummed. Luckily, The Husbinator has a few on his phone camera. I'll post those when he gets them uploaded!
We finished cave exploring completely covered in mud, and ready for showers! We headed back to the cabin, got cleaned up again, and then headed out, determined to find the Crescent Hotel which, until that point, we'd only seen from the opposite mountain and down below.
It's even more impressive and hauntingly beautiful (hehe) up close and in person. And holy crap, is it ever huge. The Husbinator wants to stay there next time we go back. I'm not sure I support this plan. I already have nightmares. I don't need nightly ghostly visits, too!
After we checked out the hotel, we headed to the park and I did some rock climbing. A couple of years ago while hiking, I decided to go dance on the rocks, and hurt my hip in the process. It was a freak accident. Don't ask me what happened, because I honestly don't know, but I'll never live it down. Anytime I say anything about going hiking, someone inevitably tells me to stay away from the rocks or not to dance on the rocks. This time, I decided to climb them while The Husbinator stood below and cautioned me to be careful like eight thousand times.
Once I had my fill of the rocks, we headed downtown again to walk around. We walked about a mile, checking out the sites, and then decided to head back since the shops were beginning to close up. We headed back up the hill to check out the Great Passion Play arena place, and to see Giant Jesus.
I didn't know that Giant Jesus even existed until I got there, but apparently Giant Jesus is a pretty popular dude. He gets photographed a lot. So we photographed him, too.
|Passion Play entrance|
At this point, we'd walked, hiked, and climbed all day long, and The Husbinator was exhausted. But I was determined to climb that 100 ft observation tower.
So I convinced The Husbinator that we absolutely had to climb it. He finally agreed and we headed towards the edge of town to the tower we'd seen on the way in since the one in the middle of town was out of order. Now, let me just say here that I don't always have the best ideas ever. In fact, if something can go wrong with one of my ideas, it probably will because I don't think this stuff through. I see something I want to do, and I do it. This does not always work in my favor.
I'm terrified of heights like this. It's why I panic on rollercoasters, freak out in airplanes, and hold onto the "Oh Shit" handle in the car for dear life while driving up mountain terrain. But I didn't think about that when I decided to climb the tower. Oh no. All I thought was, "100 feet isn't that bad. It's only 15 stories."
Let it be said that I'm an idiot. 100 feet is freaking high when you're on a tiny metal structure high up in the middle of the mountains with nothing around you and no glass separating you from the sky while your husband chatters about lightning strikes and plane crashes. I made it halfway and I had to turn around and go back. I was freaking out!
I'll never live this down. Ever! The Husbinator laughed at me, but I blame him. Who talks about lightning striking while climbing a 100 foot metal structure high up in the mountains with nothing else that tall anywhere near?! That's just asking for fate to zap you until you sizzle like bacon!
Once I failed to defeat the observation tower, we headed back to the cabin, ate dinner, and relaxed. We got up early Sunday and headed out, hoping to beat the storms heading our way. For the most part, we were successful. We had rain, but nothing too horrible. We made it home early Sunday afternoon, and ay yi yi! I almost fell out of the truck my muscles were so sore and stiff from the day of activity followed by 5 hours in the truck.
But we had a great time, and I graduated without ever setting foot near the ceremony. Woohoo! Everyone was incredibly friendly and, just as amazing, I got to see the cover for Fade on Friday! I absolutely adore it, y'all, and cannot wait until all of you get to see it, too! :) Which will be soon.
smooches and smooshes,