After I nearly peed my pants in Memphis we headed for Hot Springs, Arkansas. The drive seemed to go by fast and as we got closer the drive got more beautiful. There were trees in fall colors as far as I could see. It was almost like the road was preparing me for where I was headed. I had been hoping for a slow town with a relaxing and quaint feel. Once we arrived we met the sweet RV Park owner, J.J. of J & J RV Park and made our way to our spot to set up. After we got all set up we headed for town in search for something to eat. We found a grill right when we first got into downtown called Brick House Grill and decided it would be a good place to grab a burger and a steak. Guess who got what?
The next morning I was itching to get into town. We loaded up our tourist backpack and headed straight for downtown and Bathhouse Row. I had found on Trip Advisor that there was a preserved bathhouse you could tour to see and learn about what made this town popular so many years ago. The first thing that caught my eye was a water stand of sorts. People were there with their gallon sized water bottles to fill and take home with them. As we walked a little further we came across the National Park sign. J.J. told us that Hot Springs National Park is the only park that is in a town. It is literally in downtown.
Bathhouse Row was more than I expected. It was relaxing and quaint, but also adorable and elegant. It was old and almost felt rustic even though nearly every square inch inside was marble and white. The whole time we were walking through the tour I couldn’t decided if it was the greatest thing we have stumbled upon or if it felt like a abandon hospital. It was delightfully weird and left me happy and soothed. Ok, now this is weird. Moving on.
Later that day we grabbed lunch at the Ohio Club which is just as authentic and browsed the other side of the street that is filled with fun shops most of which looked to be local small businesses. I think my favorite shop had to have been the Bathhouse Soapery. I knew when I saw the window display I would be in love. It is like Bath & Body Works and Lush had a baby. A baby that was owned by a local and lived in a shop that looked like Instagram. Swoon. I spent a long time in there walking around and inhaling all the wonder smells. It was heavenly. I also spent more than I will admit and yes if you are someone who gets gifts from us at Christmas you will most likely be received soap. Badass soap. Before I loaded my basket I even asked the girl if I could purchase online. I am glad the answer was yes because I hate finding a cool local product, falling in love with it after we leave and never being able to repurchase it. There were other cool shops. A oil shop that had all these infused olive oils. I am still mad I skipped out on them. My other favorite was a cute cupcake shop. This downtown was just as magical as Franklin and what I see the potential for in all small old towns. I wish it was a “thing” everywhere for communities to invest in local small business and structure a downtown with grit, history and local success. Something about that just sets a fire inside of me. Maybe it is because I have always dreamt of owning a shop one day. Whatever it is I love discovering downtown areas in new places. Don’t over look them when you are out in about. Some aren’t much to look at, but others can truly take you back in time.