My wife and I recently got back from a week long road trip within the U.S. Our favorite place to be is traveling just about anywhere abroad. Somewhere outside our comfort zone.. Somewhere in the 10% scared, 10% nervous, 80% totally excited range. However, when we are at home we try to find new places to explore within the United States and there are plenty of them! Our latest adventures led us to Eureka Springs during Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday, to Dallas Texas, and then on to Houston. Please Like “Travel Without A Map” on Facebook to follow along on all of our adventures. We had such fun and hope that you can vicariously travel with us!
Eureka Springs During Mardi Gras, on Fat Tuesday – Not Much Happening? What?
Our first stop was Eureka Springs. It is only about 53 miles away from our home and it’s a wonderful place to visit for a day or two. The town is very quaint, charming and just has a unique feel that must be witnessed to be fully appreciated. Just by chance, we were going to Eureka Springs on Fat Tuesday. Wow, we are going to be entering a big party, right? Well, not exactly.
Eureka Springs celebrates Mardi Gras for nearly 3 weeks straight. However, they had their parade and big party on the weekend before Fat Tuesday. In fact, Fat Tuesday was the last day that they were celebrating Mardi Gras and most of the party goers had already left town. This is not to say that we didn’t have fun, but our expectations might not have been met. We were excited to put on some masks, have some drinks and celebrate Mardi Gras style. What we ended up doing was having a nice evening listening to local bands on “open mic night”, dancing in a conga line, and playing a few Mardi Gras games that the bars had.
The Bar Scene – Chelsea’s Pub and Brews
We were only in Eureka Springs for one night, and some of the bars were actually closed. This surprised us, being that it was Fat Tuesday. We loved both Chelsea’s Pub as well as Brews. Chelsea’s Pub is where most of the locals go and they had a great set up for open Mic night. The bar has an odd feel. You go down some steps (that are kind of spooky) and in between two buildings to get to the entrance. Your not even sure that your going the right direction, but we felt our way along and were suddenly at the entrance. On the top floor is a pizza place, where many tourists rave about their pies. However, we had already eaten so we passed on our opportunity to give the pizza a try.
We bellied up at the bar and had some good conversation with the bartender who told us about the area. We asked her about what was going in town and she said that we missed most of the Mardi Gras fun.. She encouraged us to come back later for open mic night and we were glad we did. They had some great musicians on display to entertain us, while we relaxed and enjoyed our evening.
We wanted to at least experience a little “Mardi Gras”, so we went to Brews. They had beads and masks lined along some shelving on the outside wall of the bar. We grabbed some beads and masks and did our best to get in the spirit. The bar had about 25 people who were still in the festive spirit. After we had a few beers we began to feel more festive ourselves. They had a costume contest, people were up dancing, and we even got pulled into a conga line. It was fun time, and considering how close Eureka Springs is we will surely go back and explore more of this very unique town.
Park Basin Hotel – It’s Haunted? What?
Before we arrived in Eureka Springs, we did some research and found that the Park Basin Hotel is located right in the heart of downtown Eureka and we could walk to anywhere that we wanted to go. The Basin Hotel is very beautiful and quite old. We found out that the Park Basin Hotel was said to be haunted and that they even do ghost tours! We had heard about the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, which is infamous for being haunted (even appeared on Ghost Hunters), but had no idea about the Park Basin Hotel being haunted..
So, did we have any “haunting” experiences? Not exactly, but that’s not to say that the hotel didn’t fit the part of what you would think a haunted hotel would look (and feel) like. The hotel is very old, the floors creak, and the rooms are furnished with the heavy well made old fashioned furniture. While I didn’t have any experiences with any ghosts, my wife said that she heard noises in the room above us in the morning.. Noises of someone walking back and forth. I quickly dismissed this as a housekeeper cleaning above us.. She said that the noise was there for hours… I was in a deep sleep so I didn’t experience this… I’m just glad that she didn’t wake me up!
We never had a chance to do a ghost tour, but we were only in town for one day. I’d be open to take the tour and see what it’s all about. If you love adventure, you just have to keep an open mind and adventure usually finds you! It did with us, later during our trip.. Be sure to follow along.. We have some good stories for you!
Our Review of Eureka Springs
We loved the town and want to know more. Since we were only in town for one night, we both agreed that we need to come back to give Eureka Springs a proper exploration. For being a town with a population of only 2,095 there are so many things to do. There are tours that take you to see the Old Style Victorian Houses in the 1880’s, ghost stores, about 20 bars (for those who love nightlife), music festivals throughout the year, arts and craft stores that are fantastic, and so much more that we probably need a week to give a proper review of Eureka Springs.
So, should you visit Eureka Springs? Our impression is an astounding YES, you should visit Eureka! It’s relaxing, it’s fun, it’s unique, a little spooky, and very different from your average town.
Note : The town is built on a hillside, so we do not recommend Eureka Springs for those who aren’t capable of walking up or down hills and steps because there are a lot of them!