9.26.2011

Birthday Weekend Highlights

Good Monday all! Hope you had a great weekend! Mine was very memorable. My birthday was on Friday, and the hubs planned a whole weekend getaway as a surprise for me. I had no idea where we were going, and my only hints were the place has a history that involves Al Capone, and our hotel was built in the early 1900s.

Now, let me make clear that, since I was little, I have a bad habit of ruining surprises. I was the kid that knew where the Christmas presents were and would sneak into my parents' room while they were gone and pop open a corner to see what I was getting. So, needless to say, I was very tempted to just log in to my Southwest account and see what upcoming itineraries I had, but I didn't! I was very good, mostly because the hubs was so excited and I didn't want to ruin all his hard work. :)

So we got to the airport on Thursday evening, and no until we reached the gate did I know what state we were headed to: Arkansas. We were flying into Little Rock, but apparently still had an hour's drive from there. I've never been to this southern state, so I was excited to mark one off my list. Once we got the rental car, the hubs allowed me to do some Google research, and I figured out we were headed to Hot Springs!

I also found out, via research, that the city is considered one of the nation's first "resort" cities, where people would go to bathe in the thermal waters (143 degrees), including people like Al Capone, who always stayed in the same hotel we stayed in (The Arlington). Apparently the frequent visits from gangsters also caused a rise in gambling and such, so the city also has some notoriety as being full of the classic crime of the 1920s and 1930s. I'm a bit obsessed with the mob (probably because of my part-Italian roots), so I was very excited to walk the same streets as some of this infamous men.

Now I think it's time for the photos to do some talking, but I'll just say that we had an amazing, relaxing weekend. The weather was gorgeous, the town that lots to do, and it was one of the most memorable weekends I've had in a while. I love my hubs. :)

Our first stop on Friday morning: The Pancake Shop.

The decor was awesome. Everything still there from the '50s it looked like.


I had a side of toast, for which they brought out house-made apple butter. Delish.

The hubs knows this is going to be quite the picture-taking trip, and this is how excited he is about it.

After breakfast we walked around town. Some of the buildings have these awesome painted ads on them from forever ago.

This frog didn't turn into a prince, but it's okay; I already have one. :)

The Majestic Hotel, currently closed for renovations, but beautiful. Most of the buildings around town had an art deco feel to them, so it felt like you were walking around in the 1930s still.

You know I had to get a picture with this!

The Arlington, our hotel. It stands at the end of Central (the main strip), which makes it look pretty awesome.

The lobby was beautiful, with all kinds of art deco elements.


We had much fun in the revolving doors.

The elevators were gorgeous, with the arms that go up and down to show what floor it's on (see the white scroll-y stuff up there?)

There were fountains all over town that the thermal waters flowed from.

Later that day we took a drive through Hot Springs National Park and went up to the observation tower.


That's our hotel way down there!

Lunch was at an Italian joint. We unfortunately didn't find any good lunch/dinner food until our last night there. The only thing memorable about this lunch was the bruschetta, which was served with a loaf of fluffy garlic bread.

Breakfast the next morning was at the other pancake spot, Colonial. I have to admit I liked their pancakes better, but I liked the people and service at Pancake Shop more.


They did serve their drinks in canning jars though, which I loved.

After that we went to The Gangster Museum. In the end we watched a video, after which we could take our pictures with a statue of Al Capone and hold a real deal tommy gun. I decided to point it at Al, who looks a little perturbed.

My gangster face.

Then we strolled along Bath House Row. Each one was designed with a different architectural influence, which was really neat. A couple were still functioning as bath houses, and some had been turned into museums/lunch spots.



This one is now the town's museum of contemporary art. We really wanted to go in, but it was closed for a private event. Boo.




One of the thermal fountains...


Our hotel in the background!

This was my favorite bath house. I loved the teal trim on the windows.

Across the street, the Plaza Hotel with some cool architecture.

We had learned the room number for Al Capone at the museum, so once we got back to the hotel I of course needed a picture of it.

Lunch was a bit out of town at a place called The Purple Cow, which they have in Arkansas and the Dallas area in Texas. The hubs got a vanilla malt, which was colored purple, and I loved it.

Dinner was at Central Park Fusion. If you ever go to Hot Springs, this is the only place you'll need to eat. I wish we would've found it sooner! I had a delicious soba noodle bowl (it was huge) filled with all kinds of vegetables and tofu.

My parting shot early the next morning. This was my favorite building ad: Uneeda Biscuit. Ha!

One other thing we did Saturday night that I didn't snap any photos of (for obvious reasons) was pay a visit to the hotel spa for mineral baths and a massage. The bath house hadn't been updated much, so again you got that awesome feeling of being in the 1930s. And the water was divine, especially if you like hot baths. Each tub has a little motor that's just submerged in the water, so it's like a whirlpool. You sit there for about 25 minutes, then the attendant scrubs you down with an exfoliant. After that you can sit in the sauna and sweat it out some more. Then you get wrapped in hot towels and get to rest on a lounge chair for 30 minutes. And after all that, I got a 25-minute hot oil massage. I felt divine, and soooo relaxed.

So thank you, hubs, for a great weekend! You're the best!

I was able to get to a couple thrift stores and one antique mall while we were there, so stay tuned for some Style Spots later today.

3 comments:

  1. These shots are awesome... what a perfect weekend! Happy birthday!!

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  2. Aw! Love the big beautiful photos, looks like you had the perfect relaxing birthday weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! What a lovely trip! Happy, happy Birthday!

    ReplyDelete

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