We had certain criteria we were looking for:
#1 – it had to be within a short day’s drive back to Dallas and our kids (and therefore was a short day’s drive from there and several other large cities for guests to travel easily).
#2 – it had to be near a lake. At the time we had a small sailboat and we needed a place to park it. Beaver Lake is one of the most gorgeous (and not crowded) lakes you could possibly find.
#3 – it had to have green mountains (we loved Colorado, too, but those mountains are not nearly as green, plus it’s MUCH more expensive there). Arkansas has some of the most beautiful scenery you will find in the entire country.
#4 – it had to be a small town (we had, after all, been living near 7 million of our closest friends, being in one of the largest cities in the country – that gets old!). We wanted the small town to have culture and things to do and to not feel like a “hick” town. Eureka is #12 in “American Style Magazine’s 2011 Top Arts Destinations for Small Cities” (and at only a little over 2200 people, “city” is rather a misnomer).
#5 – we wanted plenty of good restaurants to choose from (and we were just thinking about our own stomachs here, but it works great for our guests, too). We have around 100 restaurants in the general area to pick from and right in town there are only three chain fast-food places; all the rest are local owners. You need to come for enough days just to make sure you make all the rounds.
#6 – we wanted to be near a “metropolitan” area so that whatever Eureka didn’t have, we could find close by. We are within an hour’s drive of Fayetteville, Rogers and Bentonville (home of Wal-Mart headquarters). We are also within an hour’s drive of Branson, MO, which has top entertainment and new places to eat (still thinking of our own stomachs here) and we are within 2-1/2 hours drive of Tulsa, Ok, and an international airport.
#7 – to be near a university, in case we wanted or needed to continue with some education. Of course Fayetteville is the home of the Arkansas Razorbacks and the University of Arkansas – you can’t get any better than that! (Woo pig sooie!!!!)
#8 – we wanted to feel safe (Dallas – remember???). I often tell guests that you could walk around town at 2 a.m. in the morning and not have to worry about anything more dangerous than being accosted by a deer or tripping over our rolling sidewalks.
#9 – a place where tourists would want to visit. Well, there’s a reason so many folks come to visit here, all twelve months of the year. Besides 1-8 above, we have one of the largest historic districts in the country. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Eureka Springs as a “Distinctive Destination”. The entire downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. and
#10 – Something that wasn’t “cookie cutter”. Suburbs all look alike – come to Eureka to get a different perspective. You will not leave the same person!
For those of you that aren’t lucky enough to move here, check out what it’s like just to visit.
Jeff and Nadara (Sam) Feldman – and Sophie, too!