Natural Beauty, Quirkiness and All Things Water

The Funky and the Bizarre: Hot Springs and Eureka Springs, Arkansas


It’s 104 degrees and there’s a bug in my shirt.

Oh. Wait.

That’s just me sweating. We pass strange bars, crystal shops, and the Gangster Museum. We’re not speaking to each other. Am I being a bitch or is it just the heat? Or the 80% humidity mixed with steam from the fountains and hot tunnel? We pass a decrepit hotel in silence. The Majestic. It’s a relic of the by-gone era of hot spring resort tourism, taller than anything else in town and all brick. There is one bathhouse that’s been preserved, called the Fordyce Bathhouse. It’s a National Park and free to tour. We part ways and I ascend the marble stairs solo, standing up straighter amidst the dapper charm. The Fordyce opened in 1915, with fountains, tubs and personal steam tanks that look like torture devices. I look up at the stain glass roof in the Men’s Bath Hall.

Read More

Boulders, Bunnies and a Hot River Runs Through it: Benton Hot Springs, California


The drive from Lee Vining to Benton on 120 starts off with five miles of dips- stomach fluttering waves down arroyos and up again where you can’t help but go whooooo! even if you don’t mean to. Then there’s the view of Mono Lake and it’s salt tufas like deformed white fingers sticking out of the lake, and outcrops of boulders that turn into faces and animals if you squint or otherwise stretch your brain. Boundary Peak comes into view, at over 13,000 ft- not the epic vista I expected just before skirting the Nevada state line. I thought Nevada was gonna be flat flat. It’s not. But that’s another post. Anyway then 120 descends into Benton Hot Springs, ooh la la! Besides being a relief of green in the desert, Benton is a town of living antiques. Not necessarily on purpose.

Read More