Music and watermelon! What more could you ask for, in lovely downtown Eureka Springs, AR. That’s what’s happening this weekend, August 15-17, 2013. The Bluegrass Festival kicks off with a watermelon social in Basin Spring Park. This event is an open jam and everyone is invited to bring their instruments and join in. Free watermelon & water will be provided.
(Video includes Jesse McReynolds as the main act, but, due to health reasons, he has had to cancel. Legendary Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press will be performing instead.)
Free music starts at noon on Friday in Basin Spring Park. Acts will include: The Clark Family Trio featuring Bill Nesbitt, The Dragon Masters, Gary Allbritton & Friends, Eureka Springs Bluegrass Band, Mountain View Friends, and a return of the Clark Family Trio to wrap up the afternoon.
On Saturday, the free music in Basin Spring Park kicks off with the Buffalo City Ramblers at noon, followed by Ozark Alliance, Buddy Griffin & Friends, The Clark Family, Pam Setser and Mountain View Friends, The Dragon Masters and the Gravel Yard Bluegrass Band.
Saturday evening at The Auditorium at 36 S. Main Street, a whole host of performers will take the stage beginning at 7 p.m. Acts will include many of the musicians who are appearing in the park. Plus Tim Crouch, Arkansas Red, Ron Landers, Donny Catron, Retro & Smiling, and Spoon Man along with Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press. Ticket prices for the show are $17.50 balcony or $22.50 orchestra and will be available online or at the door for $22.50 and $27.50. For more info call 479-253-7333.
A fairly new weekend festival has really taken off in popularity, called Fleur Delicious Weekend, a French-themed festival, with a street fair atmosphere. Its intent is to celebrate all of the senses: Taste, smell, sight, touch and sound! Restaurants, bars, art galleries, boutiques, spas and music venues all participate with French-inspired indulgences in food, wine, spirits, art and entertainment. That includes us here at the Bridgeford House Bed and Breakfast, where we will feature French-themed cuisine in our morning menu. (And, of course, we will feature Sophie, the German dog with the French name!)
Enjoy some cool refreshing drinks
Events start out early on Wednesday, July 3, with the Ciroc Vodka Bartender Competition. Things really start hopping in Eureka starting Thursday, July 11th. Check out the entire schedule. (We’re particularly excited about Frankie the Monkey coming back that weekend to star in the show at Intrigue Theater – he steals all the thunder!).
The Stonehouse Wine Bar will be featuring a “Regions of France” wine tasting Thursday, Friday and Saturday that weekend – and the Stonehouse by itself is worth the visit! Another major favorite of ours is the Grand Tavern, featuring special menu items and French wines all weekend (in addition to all their other fabulous food!), as well as DeVito’s (although normally Italian), who does a personality change for the weekend, serving a special Fleur Delicious menu and French wine flights (in addition to the regular wonderful food, of course).
Come join us that weekend – park your car for the duration and walk around our lovely town, enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, touch and – most especially – the taste France! And a special bonus – the Grand Illumination event will run in conjunction with Fleur Delicious, featuring tons of Oriental silk and paper lanterns (including our B&B!) decorating our lovely Victorian architecture, all over town.
We love hanging out the lanterns during the Grand Illumination!
We have been doing Murder Mystery Weekends in conjunction with another B&B in our neighborhood since about 2005. To say that they make for a good time is an understatement! We provide fun, food, drink, history and even plenty of downtime for you during one of our exciting weekends. We only have them three or four times a year, so when you see a date posted, mark your calendars and call to book us as soon as you can, rooms often go quite quickly. Next one is July 26 & 27th, The Sure Pop Oil Well Scandal! Your MM package price ranges from $439-579, for two, depending on the room that you book, and includes all food, your room for both nights and usual amenities provided, and the MM activities. The only thing not included is any rental on a costume, should you choose to rent (rental is not a requirement but wearing a costume of some kind is!) and lunch on Saturday.
For a little preview into one of our stories:
We have four different stories, all written by innkeeper Jeff, so there is something for everyone. For those of you that are always asking how the weekend works, here’s a recap:
We assign you a character for the MM about 2 weeks out and mail you a package with all the information you’ll need, including a timeline of events. You will each get a booklet (that you will need to bring with you) that recaps all the characters and a little bit about them. Your particular character will have a bit more information that you’ll not want to share with others (shhh, your shady background is a secret…for now!). Our MM weekends are rather unusual in that they are entirely ad-lib. We do not give you lines to say and there are no actors doing a play for you – you are the actors! We will give you clues each round that we want your character to be sure to bring up in conversation but the rest is up to you – and believe us, it makes for some wild red herrings!
We would like everyone to check into the B&B by 5:00 on that Friday (earlier is fine, too, we are usually for sure ready for you by 3). If you are renting costumes from Celebrations and Traditions (our local Victorian costume shop), you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to get by there to get fitted for your costume and be checked in by 5.
Each round lasts about 2 hours. The first round will be at 6:00 on Friday evening, in full costume, and is usually a celebration of the major “event” happening in the story – in July it will be the celebration of the local oil well that everyone expects to get rich from. So Friday is a full table of heavy appetizers (enough for a meal) and drinks and it’s a celebration…until something…uh…happens. Everyone then becomes a suspect and advised not to leave the county, yadda, yadda, yadda…
The second round will be after your huge breakfast at the B&B, at 11 a.m., for a little “breakfast dessert”. (You will not come away from this weekend hungry in any way.) The story is moved along by the bumbling detective and usually involves forensic reporting and other clues dropped by all the characters. You’ll want to bring a pen to take notes in your booklet! You are then left to spend Saturday afternoon in any way you wish, but be sure to spend some time hunting for clues that we’ll provide you. It will be fun to try to figure those out as you shop and eat lunch in our beautiful historic downtown. The shopkeepers love to be involved in this.
Round 3 is Saturday night, at 6, and involves…yep, more food. A buffet dinner is provided and we will have you share the last of the clues before the big reveal of “who done it”. We usually have a small awards presentation and yes, you’ll still have time to go out on the town afterward. We have many of our guests, who have made fast friends with other characters/guests, go out and party at some of our local hangouts. You can even call for the pink limo in town to take you back and forth. Be sure to go in your costumes, the townspeople love that.
Sunday morning, of course, you will receive another large breakfast at the B&B, with checkout not until 11 a.m.
So if you’ve always wanted to do one, here’s your chance! We also will be glad to schedule a MM weekend for a particular group, if you come up with a minimum of 12 people on your own, we’ll come up with a weekend date that works for all of us. We have had family members all come together and it’s great fun! We’ve had one particular family that has participated in our MM weekends at least 4 times – and at least one story they’ve done twice! The story is never the same and we are able to change the ending (and the murderer) any time we want.
Please feel free to call us with any questions at all about our Murder Mystery weekends and we look forward to seeing you at one of them soon!
We’re just a few weeks away from the annual Eureka Springs Blues Weekend, one of the most popular music festivals in beautiful Eureka Springs, AR. Top headliners are Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, The Nighthawks, Chicago Blues Revue, Leah and the Mojo Doctors and EG Kight. And that’s just a few that are at the auditorium – there are 63 performances over the four-day period of the festival, June 13-16. Venues exist all over the city, including a lot outside in our wonderful historic Basin Park – for free!
The town will be rowdy and wild, but that’s so much a part of the fun! Down here at the Bridgeford House Bed and Breakfast, it’s much quieter, but it’s still a very easy walk to downtown and all the music. No security worries after dark, either, so come see us!
The first weekend starts out with one of our favorite events, the ARTrageous parade, Saturday, May 4th (2:00 p.m. – bright, colorful, loud and joyful!). Tied for first place in favorites is the 23rd Annual White Street Walk on Friday, May 17th, from 4 to 10 p.m. The entire street becomes a street fair, with resident artists opening up their homes to guests (lots of free food and wine provided by these wonderful hosts) and there are more than 40 street exhibits as well from other artists, displaying and selling art in the form of weaving, watercolors, jewelry, oils, pottery, stained glass and much more.
Sunday, May 19th, you will find Books in Bloom attracting crowds at the Crescent Hotel (just a few steps up the hill from the Bridgeford House). From noon until 5, you can meet and listen to such well-known authors as Catherine Coulter, James Grippando, and Craig Johnson (he of the A&E “Longmire” mystery series, a favorite of ours) and many others. Again – one of our favorite events – how can we have so many?
Check out a full schedule on the festival’s website. These are only a few of the major events going on during the weekends, but there are true artist events and showings during every day of the week in May. May is a beautiful month to visit our lovely little town in the Ozarks, so make your plans today!
Once a year, every year in April, a magical thing happens. Incredible sculptors come to Eureka Springs to create beautiful things out of wood – with chainsaws!
For 2013, the dates are April 19-20, and it will be the 9th year this great event was held. Carving in the Ozarks typically has 20 to 25 carvers participating each year, creating a masterpiece right before your eyes. The weekend starts bright and early Friday morning, at 8 a.m., with its first event, and a second event will start Saturday morning, same time. An auction will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, where you will have a chance to take home one of these beautiful pieces for yourself. (A percentage of the proceeds from the auction goes to local charities.) There is a new location this year, so be sure to check out their website.
We’ve got plenty of room at our place, so give us a quick call. It’ll be a great time to visit Eureka Springs!
We have a new store in town with an interesting new concept – they sell olive oils and balsamic vinegars, set up in tasting stations! And you would not believe the flavors they offer!
Fresh Harvest has an amazing amount of information on their website, so be sure to check it out. (You can, of course, order product directly off the site and have it shipped to you, although we’d certainly rather you visit Eureka, and stay with us to check it out first hand.) But basically, they feature one of the largest, freshest selections of Ultra Extra Virgin Olive Oils, fused and infused Olive Oils and aged balsamic vinegars on tap in the USA. They work with folks that have been in the olive oil business for nearly 100 years and Fresh Harvest is able to work with farmers in both hemispheres to deliver the highest quality product, all year long.
They believe that olives are fruits and that extra virgin olive oil is like fruit juice: highly perishable, healthier and more flavorful when consumed fresh and full of amazing nutrients. They post the Crush Date and Chemical Analysis on every Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil they offer.
Go on in and meet the owners, Troy Johnson and Steve Ketchersid, who created Fresh Harvest, the one and only, and is committed to providing you with the healthiest and best products in the world at what is basically wholesale prices compared to high end stores. Their motto: Chase the Crush! Be Healthy!
A zip line adventure has been on my bucket list since seeing them on a Travel Channel cable television show about six or seven years ago. I almost did a zip line tour in Honduras while taking a land excursion on a five-day ocean cruise. The zip line operators only accepted cash and all I had were credit cards, so no zip. It was probably a good thing as I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about the safety of that operation.
Fast forward about six years. A zip line operator installed a ten line (so far) attraction in Eureka Springs just a few miles from my bed and breakfast inn. As a “soft” opening for the new attraction the managers invited the merchants, restaurateurs, attractions and lodging owners for a complimentary zip line tour for up to two employees of the local business. I jumped at the chance to experience the new zip line as well as being able to tell my guests first-hand about the adventure in store for them. I would like to thank Will and Kendra Wall, the managers, for making this available and making it a fantastic experience.
I watched as some of the zip lines were being built in Branson, Missouri, and in the Ponca, Arkansas, area in the last few years. While I haven’t done the zip lines in either Branson or Ponca, in my opinion, the Eureka Springs installation and experience is an authentic tree-top zip line experience. The entire tour exceeded my expectations.
Before You Go
You would think this type of “extreme adventure” attraction would have some rigorous requirements to participate, but the requirements are much less than you might imagine. Check the Ozark Mountain Zip Line website for the official list of requirements to ride. They have had riders as young as three years old (with a guide) and as long as you can hike a little ways, you’re good to go. I had no physical challenges zipping all ten lines.
Closed toe shoes are recommended and shorts can be worn. In hindsight I recommend wearing a shirt you can easily tuck in to your pants as it makes putting on and adjusting the harness easier. Moderately-sized back packs seemed wearable while zipping. You can carry your DSLR or camera phone in your backpack as there are opportunities to photograph and video others in your group riding the line when you’ve already done your turn. I recommend not having anything in your front pants pockets that you’re going to want to get to while between lines as the harness can make it hard to access those pockets. I couldn’t get to my iPhone for photos without undoing and redoing my harness. Plan ahead. You’ll be wearing a helmet while zipping so you might want to leave hats and caps in the car. Sunglasses on a sunny day are a must. It’s a two-hour tour to do all ten lines so you might want a small bottle of water available between lines.
You will need to call the Ozark Mountain Zip Line office in Eureka Springs to make your reservation. Plan on arriving one-half hour early to the office before your tour time to meet the friendly crew and staff and to complete your waiver, customer information and make payment. The paper work takes about 10-12 minutes. After completing the paperwork, you’ll be taken to the harness room where you’ll be fitted with a helmet, gloves, a harness and a “truck”. A truck is tethered to you and the zip line while you’re on it and allows you to glide along the line, steer and brake. After “harnessing up” you’ll be loaded on the bus to be transported to the zip line site. It’s about a 5-minute ride on the bus.
The Ozark Mountain Zip Line property is a beautiful 30 acre tract covered with trees with high hills and deep valleys. We call ‘em “hollars” (hollows) in Arkansas. The first zip line is for acclimation – getting used to riding the zip line, learning to steer and the all important braking function. The guides are extremely patient, clear and deliberate in explaining what they are doing when they “hook you up” to the line and how to ride and use the brake. I felt extremely comfortable with the interaction with my guides. The safety and equipment seemed first class and I always felt secure on the platforms and the lines themselves as well as the harness. During the tour, one of the guides zips the line first to the receiving platform. This guide is there to signal your braking, catch you (if necessary) at the platform and for traffic control. The other guide remains to hook you up and send you down the line when the other guide signals “all clear”. After you and the members of your tour ride the line, the remaining guide zips over and you start again in the next line. My first zip was a little challenging as I was so enthralled with zipping along I ignored the braking signal from the forward guide and had to be caught before I hit the tree. I was patiently sent back for another try where I perfected my braking technique. The brake is really effective so other than using it to stop at the end of the line you don’t really need to use it lest you get stalled in the middle of a zip trip. If you do, you can hand-over-hand on the line or a guide will come out and get you.
Getting High in the Ozarks
The next two lines were a little longer and a little higher in the trees. Many of the zip line platforms are suspended from trees or perched in the side of the high hills, so you’re zipping from tree to tree on many of the lines. There is a small uphill hike to reach a couple of the lines, but generally you’re going from line to line. My favorite was the longest and highest line. I won’t spoil it by revealing too much detail but it was a breathtaking ride over the trees. The trees were naked when I did my tour, but I imagine it will be even more breathtaking when the trees have their leaves come spring. When I looked back at the originating platform upon completing my “long” ride, I had trouble believing that I rode suspended on a cable that long and that high. On this ride the wind was blowing through the “hollar”. The wind has a tendency to twist you around as you traverse the valley, but the steering by the truck is very responsive and I had no trouble keeping my body pointed in the direction of travel. Some people like to twist in the wind, but you want to be facing forward when you land at the platform at the end of the line.
The guides were great, the equipment was substantial, comfortable and secure, and the lines and platforms look to be engineered beyond requirements for safety and security. I do a fair amount of repair at the bed and breakfast (a 130-year-old building next year) and I tend to over-engineer everything; I had nothing but confidence in the security of the lines, platforms or equipment. This tour definitely got my adrenaline going and my heart rate up without any overt exertion. I was very saddened when I realized we had done ten lines and were done with the tour. I definitely wanted to go again. Look for the announcement of additional lines as well as “tours by torchlight” (night tours) coming in the future.
If a tour like this isn’t on your bucket list it should be, and here is a great place to get it checked-off and have a great time!
Jeff and Nadara (Sam) Feldman – and Sophie, too! (although not on the zipline!)
You don’t have to go far to find a world-class winery – we have one right here inside the city limits of Eureka Springs, AR. Keels Creek has a beautiful retail wine sales facility in a Spanish-style building, which also houses their Keels Creek Art Gallery. They also have a wine tasting room and most recently have expanded their wine production facility right behind the sales building, now open to visitors on their wine tours.
Keels Creek Showroom
These are award-winning wines, so well worth the trip to do some tasting – we even have a package that includes a wine tasting for two (the Fun, Food & Wine package debuting in March, which also includes dinner out and tickets to the Intrigue Theater). They currently produce about eight reds, three whites and a couple of blush varieties. They intend to keep the winery as a boutique winery, small and friendly, using local grapes harvested from their own vineyard and 3 other local vineyards.
Keels Creek is open every day of the year, except Christmas, I think, so it doesn’t matter what season you come, you can always enjoy a good glass of wine. Come see us!
Just a 5-minute walk down from the Bridgeford House Bed and Breakfast is one of our favorite day spas, Gryphon’s Roost. It’s where we send all our guests when they purchase a package, and from whence they return as loose as a “wet noodle”, as my old boss used to say.
Unique to one of our many spas in town, Gryphon’s Roost has an outdoor hot tub on their back deck, which overlooks the Christ of the Ozarks statue and West Mountain.”Oh, the water…” is a favorite package item of our guests, which include 1/2 hour soaking in the hot tub, following by one of their awesome 1-hour massages. Of course, they also have facials, wraps, a cedar sauna and hot rock treatments. We always books our folks into the “couples room”, which we believe is unique for the spas in our town. So romantic!
They also have a very colorful gallery on their street level that includes art, jewelry, bath and body items. It is truly a delight for your senses.
So always remember one of the number one things to do when you come to Eureka Springs – relax! And visiting one of our many spas is the best way to do it. Sophie is just disappointed that they don’t do pet massage. At least not yet.