Known for its natural springs, Eureka Springs has more than 60 in and around the historic Victorian town. Fifteen of the most prominent ones are within walking distance of each other and maintained by the City of Eureka Springs. More like small pocket parks, the springs are the subject of many photographs and paintings by local artists. Explore downtownart galleries and shops for a glimpse of some of the local art and experience the springs for yourself with a walking or driving tour. Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation put out an official guide to Eureka Springs’ parks, trails and springs. Guides can be found in most Eureka Springs lodging.
Get back to your roots. Celebrate American heritage with some good ole mountain music in the mountain town of Eureka Springs during the Bluegrass Festival the second weekend in August. Attend an authentic Banjo Rally later in the month. You don’t play the banjo? Don’t worry, spectators are welcome. Let music uplift your spirit with an old fashioned Gospel Concert in the historic Auditorium in downtown Eureka Springs. Visit the Official Eureka Springs Calendar of Events for more details.
Eureka Springs is home to dozens of art galleries and is recognized as a Top 25 Art Destination by American Style Magazine.
Explore local flavor. Watch a cooking demonstration by Karen Gros in Eureka Springs. Join Karen in her provencial-style home for cooking demonstrations of seasonal, French inspired food. Want to try your hand a preparation? Karen will teach you to prepare the dishes on your own with a hands-on cooking class and tasting lunch. Dishes feature locally produced foods from Foundation Farm and Serenity Farms of Eureka Springs.
Discover the Art of vacation. Enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of downtown Eureka Springs with a gallery stroll. Discover world class art in dozens of galleries. Stop to enjoy a glass of wine between galleries and listen to street musicians as you stroll from one gallery to the next. Find a treasure made by a local artist at the Holiday Island Art Show. Find inspiration with an art film at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
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 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.