Discover the new you with a day in one of Eureka Springs Spas. A destination for healing for centuries, Eureka Springs is home to one of the largest spas in northwest Arkansas. New Moon Spa offers the latest in treatments. Prefer something smaller? Individual trained therapists offer personalized services.
There is so much to see and do on the trail. Get more great vacation ideas and itineraries.
Winter is a beautiful time to visit the Ozark Mountains and the Arkansas Art Trail takes you right to the best places. Following the trail is a great way to get familiar with this part of the Natural State. Even if you have visited before, the Arkansas Art Trail will introduce you to something new.
If you are looking for things to do that will inspire you then Northwest Arkansas may be just the place to visit. If you are not familiar with the state you may think that you have to go to Little Rock, Arkansas to find cultural attractions but that is not true. In fact there are many tourist places in Arkansas that encourage tourists to discover unique ways of life through interesting and engaging cultural activities. Cultural activities keep American heritage alive. Consider participating in one of these five cultural activities with roots in Ozark living:
1. Foreign Interests
Carnegie Library in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Who thought you could travel the world from a small town. In the quirky little town of Eureka Springs, they enjoy experiencing different cultures through foreign film. From Jordan to Demark to France and beyond, foreign films touch on subjects that are important to all people, regardless of where we call home. Don’t speak Dutch? Don’t worry, the films are subtitled. You might be surprised how much you will understand just paying attention to body language. Sometimes, words get in the way. Films are screened in the Eureka Springs Carnegie Library. The library is a beautiful building located in the heart of a quaint little mountain town. Nestled next to the Crescent Spring, one of the many natural springs this town was named for, the library sits at the original entry to the famous Crescent Hotel which sits high on the mountain overlooking the town.
Speaking of films, the 1929 Lyric Theater in Harrison was built to screen the “talkies.” Find the Lyric Theater on the Arkansas Art Trail.
2. Music Traditions
Northwest Arkansas is a mountainous region with a strong music tradition. Today, music is still an important part of everyday life. From classical to old-time music, intimate gatherings enjoy each other as they play acoustic instruments to sonatas, ballads, and folk songs. The Cello Choir is a group of cellists who meet every Saturday at 11am in the beautiful Gavioli Chapel on the historic loop in Eureka Springs. Under diffused light streaming through stained glass, nine or so cellos played by people of all ages play four or more parts. People stroll in and out to listen just a few minutes or the entire hour.
Just outside of Eureka Springs, a hootenanny meets on the historic Berryville town square. A hootenanny, also called a wingding, is an informal group of folks of all ages playing banjos, guitars, fiddles and what have you. Mostly folk music, the hootenanny meets every Friday 7-9pm at the old Grand View Hotel.
The world’s newest art museum just opened in Northwest Arkansas. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art houses an amazing collection of American art ranging from the colonial period through today. With a focus on education, Crystal Bridges offers guests a chance to Draw in the Galleries. Study elements of art while looking at masterworks. Class subjects include Landscape, Portraiture, and Figure Drawing. They are offered every month and registration is required.
Basketmaking or basket weaving is an ancient craft. The Cherokee people of native America have long been respected for their basketmaking skills and best known for their complex “double weave” baskets. Often made from white oak, baskets were valuable articles of commerce throughout history. Today, their value ranges from utilitarian to works of art. Learn to make your own authentic Cherokee “double weave” basket at Fire Om Earth studios and become a link in the chain that keeps American heritage alive.
Stewardship and environmentally conscious thinking is part of today’s culture. Recycling is essential to reducing physical and financial waste and preserves the beautiful natural resources of the Ozark Mountains for future generations. In that spirit, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art teaches art using recycled materials. Bring Your Own Art and make a collage using found objects.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art officially opens soon. In preparation for your visit, here is a compliation of recent articles focusing on various aspects of the museum, its creator, and collection.
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).
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.
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.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is attracting a lot of national attention and is expected to draw large groups of art enthusiasts to its official opening. Welcoming all “to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of landscape,” Crystal Bridges opens November 11, 2011. With that on the horizon, the Arkansas Art Trail has been launched to help these enthusiasts discover other culturally significant sites and inspirational natural settings. Simply put, the Arkansas Art Trail maps places in the Natural State where nature inspires art.
Inspired by the well known Hudson Valley Art Trail in New York, the Arkansas Art Trail features breathtaking vistas, mountain views, nationally significant sites, and natural settings. These points of visual interest are complimented by architectural features and made meaningful by local heritage and cultural sites. The Arkansas Art Trail includes ten stops that include destinations like Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and historic cowntown Eureka Springs but it also guides trail followers to lesser known but nationally significant points of interest like Boxley Valley and Inspiration Point.
ArkansasArtTrail.com provides resources to guide visitors on their actual or virtual journey along the Trail. Trail travelers are encouraged to do three simple things: wear comfortable shoes, open their eyes widely, and prepare to be inspired. Realistically, viewing the Arkansas Art Trail in its entirety can take three to seven days depending upon how long visitors choose to linger at each site or how many side trips are taken. The Trail has been organized into three legs that take an average of one day to complete. Side trips noted include additional inspirational sites with pictorial samples highlighting each leg of the trail.