We took our time getting around this morning. I was still trying to get clothes dry from yesterday and finally I think they are all now fully dry. YEA! We finished up our Subway sandwiches from yesterday for lunch and then we took off to explore. We started on Main Street and stopped in the National Park Visitors Center in the former Forsyth Bath House. If you get the chance to tour this facility take it! It must have been top of the line in its day. There is all kinds of mosaic tile, beautiful hardwood, full gym, staterooms, etc. What a great facility this was - and it catered to some interesting folks over the years. Many baseball teams used to come here so they could soak in the hot springs; as well as a few gangsters. The town is full of history.
When we left the Visitor Center we walked along a walkway behind bathhouse row to an area where you can see the springs outside in a small area. You can see the steam rising. Dean stuck his hand in and said it was HOT. The temperature is around 140 degrees - however outside it might have been a little cooler due to the temperatures.
Walkway between bathhouses.
You can see the steam on the right side from the springs.
The morning started a little cool but warmed up nicely to mid-60's. Almost perfect weather and much welcome after yesterday's rain. The thermal water was in many fountains around town and you can actually go to several locations in town and draw water free. We might fill our water cooler up before we leave town. You never know - maybe that water will work miracles on us old retired folk! :)
We walked several blocks along Main Street to check out the shops. Similar to shops you would see in Eureka Springs. I think we only walked inside of one. We enjoyed looking at the old buildings though -- the hotels, shops and most of all the bathhouses. The bathhouses were Victorian style, stately looking buildings. They have been maintained well and are now owned by the Federal Government as part of the Hot Springs National Park. It's great they are being preserved.
Here is a picture of some of the bathhouses. There are only two still in operation -
the Buckstaff and the Quapaw.
South of here lies Lake Hamilton. What a gorgeous sight to see. Beautiful homes and marinas along the lake remind me of our dear favorite - Grand Lake!
We also took the drive up Mountain Road and the paid to take the ride up in the observation tower. What a view! I had hopes we would be able to see the campsite but we could not! I did take several pictures of the downtown area though, but I'm not that happy with them. The trees and foliage are just not very pretty and it takes away from the buildings. Also, the buildings are mostly from the back rather than the street side and therefore are not as grand.
Dinner - Well what do you do when you want to find a great place to eat in a town you have never visited before - ask the locals, which we did. But we could not find the BBQ place the lady at the lot where we parked told us about; so Trip Advisor it was and we chose - Jose's which was a fantastic Mexican Restaurant. I ordered the enchilada plate - beef with chili; chicken with sour cream sauce and cheese with cheese sauce - all very, very good. But the real prize was the two salsas they brought with the chips. They must have used roasted tomatoes in the basic salsa - it was the best tomato based salsa I've ever had. The second salsa which was made with jalapenos, avocados, and cilantro was equally good but much different! Oh my goodness. I hope I can find a recipe like this somewhere. The reviews on TA were all great for Jose's and I definitely agree.
On the way back the phone rang in the truck - we love that Bluetooth! - it was Dean's brother Larry and wife Sandi. We had a great visit with them from discussing our attempt to back into a spot without hook-ups - whoops!, camping in Garnett, and possibly meeting up with them in September at Winfield. I've always wanted to experience the music at Winfield Walnut Valley Festival. We're going to see about making it a reality this year.
Now watching "Dancing With the Stars" switch-up. Kind of a neat change to the show.
We have another full day in Hot Springs tomorrow. Not sure what we will do. Stay tuned!