Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adventures in Little Rock

Ah, Little Rock.  The city, not the Reba McEntire song about a diamond ring and love gone bad.  Who doesn't know that Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas?  Or that it is the largest city in the state?  Or, that just from it's name, there is a tiny rock somewhere in the vicinity?

There is - it is on the south bank of the Arkansas River and named 'la Petite Roche'. 

Which is all fine and good, except that Randy and I went to Hot Springs for a mini adventure.  Not Little Rock.

I don't know why I couldn't get it into my brain 'HOT SPRINGS HOT SPRINGS HOT SPRINGS'.  Little Rock is way too much of a big city for us country mouses.

On Wednesday morning, we packed a bag for Roxy and a bag for ourselves and out the door we went.  It then took us thirty minutes of car washing and spending all of Roxy's toy money for the next year on gas to get out of Mountain Home to our destination of Mountain View.

Mountain View, you say?  Yes, Hot Springs by way of Mountain View.

Last November, we bought a beautiful kitchen table with benches and bar stools from Wallace Woodworks in Mountain View. Wallace Woodworks is a family run business that crafts handmade tables, rockers, chairs and other furniture from cedar logs. The quality and beauty of their work is amazing.  Randy and I intended to replace our living room tables to match the kitchen set.  Since Mountain View was slightly on the way, we decided stop there and get them ordered.

Back on the road, an interesting thing I noticed on the drive to Hot Springs is that there are a whole lotta Baptists down in these parts.  One town had two Baptist churches right next to each other.  Well, not quite next to each other.  The local airport separated the two.  Once in a while, I would see a Methodist or a Presbyterian Church that snuck in when the Baptist's weren't looking.  I must add the history of the Baptist Church to my list of things to look up in Wikipedia.

Our Google mapping took us to the outskirts of Little Rock on the way to Hot Springs.  Obviously, as we got closer and closer to the outskirts, there became more and more traffic. Randy does not do traffic and it did seem fitting that 'Time To Get A Gun' by Miranda Lambert was playing on the CD player as we made our way on I-430. If Randy were to never have to drive on a freeway again, he'd be a happy man.

Since we enjoyed our stay at an older hotel when we went to Eureka Springs last December, I decided to make our Hot Springs reservations at the historic Park Hotel.  The hotel sits on the edge of the National Park, about a block from the Central Avenue shopping district.  The hotel opened in 1930 and it's greatest claim to fame is that President Truman often stayed there.

The staff at the Park Hotel treated us very nice and for a nominal fee, were very Roxy friendly.  But all the pats and attention they showed our dog did not make up for the fact that the hotel lacked some comforts that one would expect even with the reasonable room rate that we were charged.  

~ There was no hair dryer in the bathroom.  I could have made that into a huge crisis, but I decided not to.  Whoever looked at me those two days would probably never see me again.  If they made the decision to point and laugh, well glad that I could bring some humor into their lives.  I did notice that Roxy started walking about five feet in front of me.  She could have been embarrassed to be seen with me or it could have been because of the leash, I don't know.

~ There was no coffee offered to the guests.  Either in room or in lobby.  Really?  No coffee?  Again, that could have been a crisis, but I did manage to find my way to a Starbucks the first morning.  The second morning, I discovered that McDonald's coffee isn't bad.  A heck of a lot cheaper than Starbucks, too.

~ The towels lacked a certain softness.  On the bright side, however, it never hurts to have a good exfoliation every once in a while. 

~ There was no air conditioning in the room.  We ended up keeping the windows open through the night.  Although we heard a certain amount of traffic noise, the fresh air was nice.  Roxy loved to look out the window at the people and the birds six floors below us.  Randy and I were afraid, since Roxy seems to be part rabbit, that she would jump.  But she didn't, not even when she heard the screeching of a cat during the night and made a mad dash from the bed to the window sill.

~ Housekeeping services were nonexistent.  Our room did not get freshened while we were exploring the Garvan Woodland Gardens on Thursday.  At that, I did complain, albeit politely.  I really was of the belief that fresh linens and a few other housekeeping rituals should have been included in the price of the room.  I did get a clean set of exfoliating towels, a 20% discount for dinner at the over-priced and mediocre Italian restaurant in the lobby, and a slight reduction in our bill.

It may be a year, it may be next month, but I do want to go back to Hot Springs (I just caught myself starting to type 'Little Rock'.  UGH!). And while I am not going to give up on older establishments, I don't think that the fine people at the Park Hotel will be seeing us again.  

Have the BEST day ever!
~ Dorothy

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