Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, Oct 21st, Hot Springs, Arkansas


I remember Bill Clinton claiming that he was from Hope, Arkansas. Don't tell that to the residents of Hot Springs. Signs at the entrances to the town proclaim it to be the boyhood town of the future President. And a 15-minute video playing continuously at the top of the twelve-story observation tower details his life, together with a glass case of memorabilia from his high school years.

Hot Springs National Park was the first national park in America, and has been receiving visitors from all over the world to its reputedly-healing waters since the early 1800's. Bathhouse Row attracted royalty, Presidents, film stars, gangsters, and most of America's wealthy and ailing elders for almost 150 years. As hiking in the park was an integral component of the health regimen, it began the country's pursuit of the outdoors as vital to right living.

We found a beautiful 210-acre garden, maintained by the University of Arkansas, with even some species Pat hadn't seen before, but which was made even more unique by the presence of 1.7 million light bulbs decorating the trees and shrubs in the figures of Christmas scenes. There must have been 500 miles of wires buried throughout, and it's no doubt the playground of an army of retired guys with wives who have said "Bet ya can't make this!" to them for many years. A real treasure for kids and adults who love a fantasyland of lights.

Tomorrow, we'll drive east to view some Toltec Mounds, and then to an RV campground down by a large lake (Lakes in Arkansas, but then, who figured they had hot springs either?).

Here is a link to the remainder of the photos I took today:

Hot Springs, Arkansas


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