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Crescent Hotel

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The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, a Historic Hotel of America in Eureka Springs.


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Sacred Earth GalleryPhotographs of trail views were captured by Edward Robison III.

Intrigue Theater is Half-Off

 

by Bill Ott

With the calendar flipped over to October, people who visit this Ozark Mountain village have in their minds two things: fantastic fall colors and seeing something unique, unusual and unexplainable.  This October visitors will not be disappointed.

intrigue theater eureka springs october haunted

Tickets Online ReserveEureka.com

Of course there are the nightly ghost tours of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa.  This year the interest in “America’s Most Haunted Hotel” should be even greater following their exposure several times on national television programs of the paranormal kind.  Those tours, which end in the hotel’s morgue, are nightly year-round; while this October, something weird is going on just down the street from this mountaintop spa resort.

There, in a church that was built in 1901, is the intimate performance venue known as Intrigue Theater.  The interior of the Gavioli Chapel has been retrofitted to accommodate guests anxious to see acts of mystery and illusion.  Being introduced during all of the October performances, Intrigue Theater’s renowned illusionist Sean-Paul will shock members of his audience by carrying out a revolutionary effect that was introduced to the world in the 1920s but with an added dimension of historic authenticity.  He explains:

“The Civil War was a time of hatred and cruelty; a time when brother fought brother; a time when our great nation was literally cut in half.  However, here in Eureka Springs there was compassion in the personage of Dr. Alvah Jackson, who would treat wounded soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies in a makeshift hospital located in a cave near Basin Spring.  His medical knowledge coupled with the healing powers of the water taken from the nearby spring saved many a soldier who surely would have died without his care.  Unfortunately, many were saved only because of surgical amputations administered under the skilled hands of Dr. Jackson.

“It is this historical backdrop that will set the stage for our most ghastly illusion.”

For that illusion, Sean-Paul will recruit two volunteers from the audience – one to play the part of a union soldier, the other a confederate.  Juliane Fay of Intrigue Theater will lie down on a replica of Dr. Alvah Jackson’s surgical amputation table.   The newly drafted, mock Confederate and Union Soldiers will strap her down to that table the same way they would a patient about to undergo an amputation.  Using Civil War swords and blades, Sean-Paul steps to the table and cuts Juliana Fay in half.   Then, symbolic of our once divided country, the two soldiers will pull the body apart into two separate pieces.

“Due to the intense nature of this illusion, we may only use this newly-added effect during this month’s performances,” concluded Sean-Paul.  “You may refer to it as our ‘October surprise’.”

Get tickets online:

Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours

Intrigue Theater

Sounds of Summer on the Trail

“Zip!”, “Wow!”, “Roar!” and “Splash!” eureka springs summer vacation

These are the sounds of summer in Eureka Springs. Families can enjoy the new Ozark Mountain Ziplines, Intrigue Theater, ghost tours and tales of the macabre at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, 34 new big cats at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and all water sports on Beaver Lake.  These and dozens of other family-friendly venues and events located in and happening around Eureka Springs this summer can be booked online in one easy step.

When the question is inevitably asked, “What’s there to do in Eureka Springs, especially for kids and families?” it can now be answered quite easily and enthusiastically.  Heading that list for 2013 is the new Ozark Mountain Ziplines (OMZ).  This popular, nationwide craze, which originated in Costa Rica, has never seen a better setting than the Arkansas Ozarks in and around Eureka Springs.  OMZ allows guests -ages three to 83- to soar more than 200 feet high over vast, gorgeous, beautiful hardwood trees and limestone cliffs with cable lengths up to 1,800 feet, the length of six football fields.

BUY YOUR TICKETS TO ZIPLINE!

Another relatively new attraction is Intrigue Theater.  Set in a eerie and intimate redeveloped Victorian church, this show takes audience members on a magical, humorous, and mind-blowing venture into the world of telepathy. The audience actually become part of the performance… unfolding, mystical tales, magical demonstrations and introductions to special guests from ‘the other side’ become an interactive experience.  Members of the audience often take the stage and, while under hypnosis, regress back to a previous life only to return with physical proof of having crossed over.

BUY YOUR INTRIGUE THEATER TICKETS!

And speaking of “the other side”, no building is more famous for their “guests who check out but never leave” than the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa.  Well-respected as a mountaintop spa resort and wedding destination, this Historic Hotel of America takes guests on a hotel ghost tour every night giving them the chance to perhaps meet apparitions like Michael, Theodora, or the Lady In The Mist.

Recognized by many as America’s most haunted hotel, the Crescent has added a late-night nuance to their presentation of the paranormal.  “Flickering Tales” has guests, especially teens, sitting around an open campfire -in chairs- and being introduced to regional ghost stories almost lost to history.  These macabre stories are theatrically spun by noted international thespian, Keith Scales.  Once the hair is suitably standing up on the back of patrons’ necks, Scales leads them into a special trip to the hotel’s infamous “morgue” as the grand finale.

BUY GHOST TOUR TICKETS TO AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED HOTEL!

One of the biggest guesses at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is wondering just how many big cats do they take care of at this 450-acre ranch located just a few minutes from downtown Eureka Springs.  But guests should never be too quick to hit the total button because it seems the folks at TCWR are adding to the number of abused, abandoned and neglected lions and tigers (and a bear) all the time.

Most recently, TCWR rescued nearly three-dozen big cats from a nearby county where they were being inadequately housed and cared for by a lady, due to her age and health condition, who could no longer give the animals proper care.  With this transition in its final stages, guests can meet the latest “cool cats” at this magnificent and breathtaking refuge that now houses nearly 150 animals including 138 big cats including mountain lions, cougars, panthers, bobcats, oh… and a bear.

BUY TURPENTINE CREEK TICKETS!

On one of America’s most popular U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ lakes, Beaver Lake, sits Starkey Marina, located just west of Eureka Springs.  This floating cavalcade of watercrafts is the lake’s most popular stop for those who like to play on the water.  Explore the clear blue 28,370-acre lake with its 480 miles of shoreline for some summer fun.

FIND LAST MINUTE DEALS AND GREAT RATES FOR A EUREKA SPRINGS SUMMER FAMILY VACATION!

SEE GREAT ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE ARKANSAS ART TRAIL!

Eureka Springs is Home To the Mad Hatter

A brilliant mind hidden by an outrageous hat…the Mad Hatter was a guest at the Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland’s adventures. Today, the Mad Hatter lives in Eureka Springs and every year, he throws a big party in October called the Mad Hatter Ball!

Whimsical hats and outrageous costumes are part of the fun at the Annual Mad Hatter’s Ball in Eureka Springs.

The Mad Hatter’s Ball is the largest fundraising event for the Eureka Springs School of the Arts and is held in the Crystal Dining Room at the Historic 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. A silent auction touts fantastic works of art and gift packages, allowing guests to support the schools mission “to cultivate, promote and encourage artistic expression by providing art education opportunities in a unique environment of beauty and creativity!” Guests are required to wear wild hats and costumes….the crazier…the better. Enjoy great food, hat contests and a whole lot of dancing. Tickets are available at ESSA.

Make it a date and stay where the party is.  Check room availability at the Crescent Hotel.

On the Trail: An Artist Studio Tour

All along the recently opened Arkansas Art Trail, travelers can find places where art is hung like Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; places where art is made like the artist village of Eureka Springs; and places that inspire such art like the hills and hollows of The Ozarks.  During April, the trail creators have also created a series of special workshops and exhibits entitled “April Art Experiences”.  These efforts come from a partnership between the Arkansas Art Trail and the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, located in Eureka Springs on top of Crescent Mountain.

The first “art experience” features well-respected Eureka Springs artist, Larry Mansker.  This Kansas City native has made the most of the Trail’s vistas with a focus on the panoramic views of Eureka Springs.  “Whether ones view is from a mountaintop or at street level, the eye can be trained to see things in a happy mood that expresses the brighter aspects of being alive,” Mansker explained.

 Mansker’s exclusive package, entitled “Artist Studio Tour”, will be held at both the Crescent and at the artist’s private studio all on the evening of April 15, 2012.  The event begins with a tour of the 1886 Crescent Hotel and its eclectic art collection.  The tour will be led by hotel Vice-President of Operations and Development Jack Moyer.  The tour includes the commissioned display of Larry Mansker’s detailed murals that depict local scenes enhanced by popular local activities.

eureka springs event

Detail of mural by Eureka Springs artist, Larry Mansker. April's "Art Experiences" include a tour of Mansker's private art studio and dinner with the artist.

Following the hotel sojourn will be an intimate, artist-led tour of Mansker’s studio.  Wine and cheese will be served as the artist shares his private collection and workspace.  Attendees will then return to the hotel for an artistically inspired dinner in the elegant Crystal Dining Room Restaurant.

“This gathering is designed to be both intimate and revealing,” said Mansker.  “I want attendees to get a true feel of the elements of design –line, texture, contrast, composition and color- that create that happy mood in my paintings. I want to teach attendees how to ‘feel’ a painting with their emotions rather than simply gazing upon it with their eyes.”

The“Artist Studio Tour” package, based on two people per package, includes overnight lodging and breakfast at the Crescent Hotel, the private studio tour and reception, and dinner in the Crystal Dining Room Restaurant with the artist.  Participation is limited to the first 10 reservations with package rates beginning at $199. For full package and workshop details call the Crescent Hotel at 800-342-9766.

On the Trail: an artist’s discovery

Edward sits at the table overlooking the Crescent garden in Eureka Springs. With a contemplative smile he begins his story. “We had to helicopter into a remote part of the canyon and repel down,” he says calmly.

eureka springs

Inspiration point in the autumn captured by Eureka Springs photographer, Edward C. Robison III.

Edward C. Robison III is an accomplished landscape photographer. His connection to nature and his recognition of what is sacred are profound in his photographs. It is what draws people to his work.

It was an internship with renowned landscape photographer Michael Fatali that led Edward to a remote slot canyon in Utah. Having helicoptered in, Edward found himself in an isolated place where few people ever have the chance or courage to travel to; it changed him. Surrounded by natural beauty and mentored by Fatali, Edward found his purpose. Fatali openly acknowledges that he photographs, “places of mystery” where he feels, “at peace with the power of the Earth’s spirit.” Fatali believes his photographs are reflections of the “light and power” of nature. His influence on Edward’s work is unmistakable. Edward’s richly layered yet masterfully simple photographs are meditative moments. They allow the viewer to intimately connect with a sacred space in nature that they may have never witnessed on their own.

Edward brings a love of the landscape to his work. Growing up in the great outdoors, he attributes his passion for nature to time spent exploring with his father. His acute perception to the natural processes surrounding him inspired his creativity early. He began capturing nature’s moments with paint on canvas. As a young adult he followed his passion with formal art studies. Edward studied at the Kansas City Institute of Art, an institutional leader in visual arts education. “The Kansas City Institute stressed the importance of substance in art,” Edward says.  “It is where I learned just how important it is to incorporate a strong spiritual element in my work.”

More than just the likenesses of a place under beautiful light, Edward’s photographs are like the quite hum of bees in a field or a softly stirring breeze through woodland trees. They nudge the viewer to joie de vivre, an exuberant enjoyment of life. With what he describes as a “sensitivity and energetic connection with nature,” he finds and captures the beauty of nature in less suspecting places. “I think I see things differently,” Edward confesses. “My appreciation of nature allows me to find the sacred in my own backyard. I try to show others what I have discovered through my work.”

buffalo river

Hawksbill Crag in the Buffalo River National Park captured by Edward C. Robison III.

Although Edward has photographed Yellowstone and other high profile sites, he is perhaps most recognized for his photographs of less famous (less traveled) places in the central United States and most recently in Arkansas. The ethereal qualities of Edward’s photographs have naturally placed them in the internationally acclaimed Sierra Club Desk Calendar 4 years in a row and although he could call anywhere home, Edward C. Robison and his family still live in Eureka Springs where he continues to find beauty in his backyard. His work is featured on the Arkansas Art Trail. His book, Postcards from Eureka, he records the beauty of the quirkly little Ozark Mountain town, Eureka Springs. His gallery, Sacred Earth, is located just west of Eureka Springs on the Arkansas Art Trail and catalogs his progress and travels. His work can be viewed and prints can be obtained from the Sacred Earth Gallery website.

 Chances are if you are looking at an amazing photograph of the sun setting at Inspiration Point or a waterfall in the Buffalo River National Park, it is Edward’s vision and image. His photographs are in high demand and are often used to promote Eureka Springs and the surrounding area. His work is featured on EurekaSprings.com, the Arkansas Art Trail, and more recently the Buffalo River National Park Region.

Make your own discoveries on the Trail with Edward. Register for one of his Workshops. See his work displayed throughout Eureka Springs and all along the Arkansas Art Trail. Follow Arkansas Art Trail and Sacred Earth Gallery on Facebook.

Architecture on the Arkansas Art Trail

Interested in architecture? Learn more about architecture in Arkansas and plan on visiting the Top Trail Sites for Architecture on the Arkansas Art Trail.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art by Moshe Safdie.

An apprentice of Louis Kahn, Safdie’s works are immediately recognizable. Meaningful spaces created by curving architecture that complement the essence of their setting and culture. Crystal Bridges exemplifies Safdie’s principle of responding to the essence of place even bearing its name for the natural creek it spans. See the layout of Crystal Bridges and read about the challenges of constructing these cable roofed buildings and the hurdles of completing this project while continuing to build responsibly, treading as lightly as possible on the landscape. The Crystal Bridges complex pays deference to the natural setting through organic shapes, fantastic views, and native materials used for its construction and is architecture with a purpose. Visit and discover for yourself how Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s collection echoes themes of American landscape and life. View an interview with Moshe Safdie on the modern issues in architecture and how he is working to shape the public realm and humanize megascale building.

Thorncrown Chapel by E. Fay Jones.

E. Fay Jones was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff. Jones created organic architecture from simple materials: wood, stone, glass, and steel and much of Jones work can be found throughout northwest Arkansas. It can be said that the touchstone of his architectural accomplishments is Thorncrown Chapel, a place of “gentle beauty and quiet dignity that celebrates the land and embraces the American Spirit.” Jones received the highest honor awarded by the American Institute of Architects, the Gold Medal, for “humble, original, intelligent, and uncompromising [architecture].” (Quotes taken from the AIA Gold Medal citation presented to Fay Jones. Now part of the Special Collections Division of the University of Arkansas Libraries.)

Thorncrown was awarded the American Institute of Architecture’s Design of the Year Award (1981) and the American Institute of Architecture’s Design of the Decade Award (1980). It is #4 of the members of the American Institute of Architects Top Buildings of the Twentieth Century and won the AIA Twenty-five Year Award for a design that has stood the test of time for more than 25 years (2006).

Tour organic architecture on the Arkansas Art Trail. Experience organic architecture for yourself at the Cottages at Crescent Park. The Cottages are designed by David McKee, apprentice of E. Fay Jones. McKee’s design philosophy is rooted in the principles of organic architecture as developed by Frank Lloyd Wright and E. Fay Jones.

1886 Crescent Hotel by Isaac S. Taylor.

The Crescent was one of America’s most luxurious resort hotels boasting eighteen inch thick walls of White River limestone quarried just miles from the site of the hotel.  Surrounded by acres of pristine woodlands, the hotel sat on top of West Mountain overlooking the valley and town below. Read more about the history of the Crescent Hotel.

Isaac S. Taylor was the chief architect of the Largest World’s Fair ever held,  the St. Louis Exposition in 1904. In the process he was charged with finishing one of the largest public parks in America, Forest Park. He was also a member and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Read more about the 1904 Worlds Fair and see photos of structures in the fair.

Victorian Vernacular-Architecture in Eureka Springs

Beginning in the late 1800’s, the machine age triggered the revival of traditional craftsmanship in building and the use of local materials which lead to the Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts style homes. Vernacular buildings inherently weave local traditions, building materials and skills into a recognizable form.

The town of Eureka Springs showcases Victorian vernacular with its many remaining historic structures. In fact, the whole town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Discover Arts and Crafts style elements in the 1905 Basin Park Hotel and Queen Anne residences on both sides of the historic loop. If you are downtown, just look up. Victorian homes are tucked into the mountainsides surrounding downtown Eureka Springs.

Photos that appear on the Arkansas Art Trail website were taken by local Eureka Springs artist Edward C. Robison. See more of his work at Sacred Earth Gallery. For cultural events on the Arkansas Art Trail, find us on Facebook.

FOLLOW THE ARKANSAS ART TRAIL… WHERE NATURE INSPIRES ART.

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