Hot Springs, Arkansas – Pamper Yourself With a Luxurious Bath and Relax

April 22nd, 2022 by admin Leave a reply »

President Clinton spent his formative years in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Visit the high school where he attended. Stroll through the parks where he gathered with friends as a teenager. Not to miss, however, is the Hot Springs National Park and Bathhouse Row, restored bathhouses from the heyday of bathing in the Roaring 20s. Legend says that Al Capone and the other gang leaders would take in the mineral water baths of Hot Springs. While here, no one was allowed to “conduct business”.

Today most of the facades have been restored. The National Park has completely restored the Fordyce Bathhouse, reputably the finest one on the row. With its stained glass windows, lounges, gymnasium and physical therapy equipment, it lives up to all expectations. You cannot go to Hot Springs without absorbing the ambiance of the bathhouses. Buckstaff Bathhouse still conducts business as usual. Not as lavish as Fordyce, Buckstaff is both affordable and therapeutic. For about $50.00, including tax, (price subject to change), the patron receives a full mineral bath, a twenty minute plus full massage and a souvenir loofa mitt. The bath includes the following: 1/2 hour is a large tub with a temperature of 102º F. mineral soak with a whirlpool attachment, which looks like a large old fashioned mix master. The attendant then gives a body scrub with soap and the loofa. After a rinse, the patron goes to a sitz bath for five minutes. This works on the posterior and prostrate for men. Next comes five minutes in the vapor room or machine. Here the water from the hot springs sprays in directly at 134º F. This opens the pores of the body. After the vapor room comes the body wrap. Up to four heated towels are used at the problem spots on the body and then wrapped up in a large sheet for ten minutes. Finally comes the five minute needle shower to rinse off the body and invigorate the soul. The ambiance is as in the 20s. Marble walls, old time plumbing fixtures and tubs where a 6’2″ person can luxuriate, not like the modern bath tubs. The mineral baths would be soothing enough on most days.

I had lower back pains that day and opted for the massage. Ross, the masseuse worked on all of the knots in my body. When he finished with me, the pain was gone and I could walk like a normal human being (an oxymoron). I was not able to see the women’s bathing area, which was located on the second and third floors of the building. Perhaps the next time we go to Hot Springs, Maggie might decide to take the baths and tell us about the women’s section.

On the opposite side of the street are numerous shops, restaurants and other places to spend your money. We had a very good lunch at Bubbalu’s. Only order French Fries for one, because the portions are abundant. They also specialize in home made shakes and malts.

Having been rejuvenated by the baths, we went to Garvan Woodland Gardens, a 210 acre botanical wooded setting administered by the University of Arkansas. Located on Lake Hamilton, the gardens feature various walkways, bridges, and floral arrangements. The local model train club operates a three track railroad depicting different aspects of the Garvan family business: lumber, mining, and the main line to Hot Springs.

We also took in the Mid-America Science Museum, a hands-on experience for all ages. On permanent exhibit are the fantasy mechanicals from the movie Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. The museum also features a 20 minute laser show, and simulator rides of a roller coaster or slot car race track. Tesla’s lightening machine is fully functional, along with a hair-raising static electricity demonstration.

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