When visiting such a unique and beautiful town as Eureka Springs, you need a place to stay that’s as equally interesting. The town is home to famous lodgings like the 1836 Crescent Hotel and Spa and the Basin Park Hotel, but if you’re wanting something more intimate, then Rose Cottage is where you need to hang your hat.
(above photo : Original painted turquoise floors add to the beauty of Rose Cottage. One-of-a-kind antiques and upscale furnishings are placed throughout the home.)
This tranquil dwelling is a Gothic Victorian Cottage with panoramic views of the Ozark Mountains. Cathy Collins and her husband, Jeff, purchased the property in 2011 that had fallen into disrepair. The couple designed it with comfort in mind during a $100,000 renovation, which preserved the beautiful wainscoting and original painted floors.
The couple admitted that they tend to fall in love with dilapidated properties. The tranquil rooms feature numerous one-of-a-kind antiques and upscale furnishings that make it stand out against any hotel room in town or for that matter, in the state. Cathy cites the windows as her favorite amenity since they make the space light, open and airy.
“[Rose Cottage] is a perfect getaway for two couples or a girls’ weekend,” she said. “We have tried to think of everything a guest might want for ambience and comfort. We even have a gas fireplace to enjoy on those frosty evenings we have sometime in Eureka.”
Originally built in 1900 as a summer cottage for a family who came to Eureka to enjoy the healing properties of the many springs, Rose Cottage was a “Perkins” construction, which was a well-known local lumber company and builder. It lies in a secluded location above Spring Street and adjacent to Harding Park, which holds one of the main springs in Eureka. While several fires swept the town over the years, Rose Cottage remained out of reach and untouched by the flames. A walking path from the front makes downtown accessible with only a brief stroll, during which one might encounter deer, birds or the white squirrels that inhabit the forest. As Collins said, “It truly is a peaceful, dreamy getaway from the everyday grind.”
Rose Cottage has been featured in several publications including Mary Emmerling’s Cottage Book, Country Living and Cottage Style.
Collins and her husband own rental properties around the world, but Eureka Springs holds a special place in their heart.
“To me Eureka Springs is a history museum in the form of a small Ozark town,” she said. “As you walk the many paths and streets you are able to see hundreds of examples of Victorian Architecture in the cottages that are tucked away in the Ozark Mountains of this beautiful village. All of them have names. The downtown, with all of the shops and artists, is fun to explore and the restaurants offer food worthy of the most sophisticated gourmet. It is just a fun place to be.”
Currently they host 200-250 people a year. Most weekends are full with the busiest time of year being March through November so book your stay well in advance. The property is available for rental on VRBO.com, property number 423718. You can find open dates, reviews (5-star), pictures and other information, or call Collins at 515-360-7322 to book it personally.
Eureka Springs stands out as one of Arkansas’ top tourist destinations. Often called the Little Switzerland of the Ozarks, its offbeat attractions and laid-back vibe attracted over 1 million visitors last year according to Gina Rambo, publicist for the city’s advertising and promotions commission. Originally, the town grew to prominence for the supposed healing powers of its hot springs. Hotels and restaurants sprang up to cater to these travelers and the city has remained a popular tourist stop ever since.
Today, shoppers can browse through the boutiques in historic downtown, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Galleries feature original work by over 400 local working artists. Eureka Springs has dozens of chef-owned restaurants to suit anyone’s appetite, everything from down home southern food , to romantic candlelit dinners. Award-winning restaurants serve savory Czech-German dishes, authentic Italian cuisine and spicy East Indian fare. Other culinary delights include Mediterranean, Chinese, Irish, Mexican, Cajun, and Thai. If you’re looking for a different eating experience, try the dining car at Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway.
In 2016, the seven-story Christ of the Ozarks, a major landmark, and the Great Passion Play celebrated 50 years. It’s a huge hit for families. Lovers of architecture will definitely want to visit Thorncrown Chapel. Named 4th best architectural achievement of the 20th century by the American Institute of Architects, the building was designed by Fayetteville resident and Frank Lloyd Wright protege, E. Fay Jones. Comprised of steel, stone, wood and over 400 windows and surrounded by forest, this gorgeous structure is a must. Other highlights include Downtown-n-Underground Tour, a tour of the remains of the town from a century ago.
If you’re into the outdoors, Eureka Springs is brimming with activities. The town is surrounded by two rivers and three lakes with great fishing, smooth water for canoe or kayak float trips, boating, jet skiing and paddle boarding. Plus there is a 1600-acre city park crisscrossed with 25 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Summer is always exciting in the town. Each year during May, Eureka Springs takes its love of the creative life to the next level with a month-long festival celebrating visual and performing arts. This month is the 30th annual May Festival of the Arts. The festival is packed with one-of-a-kind art exhibits, demonstrations, performances, culinary arts, free music in the park and more. You can see the work of more than 350 artists that live in the community, all of whom have the opportunity to display their work. Highlights include the ArtRageous Parade that kicks the month off. It features dancers, musicians, jugglers, art cars and, of course, floats. Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 6 at 2 pm. Also, they display an art installation at Basin Spring Park throughout the month. This year, artist Janet Alexander and engineer John Stallings are teaming up for The Four Seasons Project, four separate mobiles, each unique and about 6 to 8 feet in diameter, that represent the beauty of our four seasons. Art walks and music will take place throughout the month as well.
Other fun events include Opera in the Ozarks (June 24 to July 21), Fat Tire Festival (July 14-16) and the Volkswagen Festival (August 24 to 27). You don’t want to miss out on these.
So if you’ve made up your mind to head to Eureka Springs this summer, you’ll need a place to stay.
If you want to be in the middle of the action, consider the Flatiron Flats, located on Spring Street across from the Basin Park Hotel. It is one of the most photographed buildings in town and offers four suites: Flatiron, Grandview, Parkview and Penthouse. Amenities include complimentary wine, cheese and fresh fruit; bedside chocolates; complimentary soft drinks; a wet bar with a microwave and refrigerator; luxury two-person jetted tubs with bath salts; and private balconies overlooking downtown Eureka.
If you’re looking for a more eccentric dwelling, Eureka Springs is known for its treehouse lodging.
Treehouse Cottages was the original in the area and they have 10 locations in and outside of town. Another company, Eureka Springs Treehouses, also offers hobbit caves, caverns and even a castle location. Enchanted Houses has three locations and is located in town, minutes from Spring Street.
For those who are looking to be a bit adventurous, take a safari without leaving the States at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, which hosts a variety of species from leopards to tigers and even ligers. In 1992, Don and Hilda Jackson and their daughter Tanya founded the sanctuary. They had owned two lions for several years. In a seeming act of fate, 42 big cats were given to the family, who established the organization for the preservation of abused and neglected big cats. Today, Tanya serves as president of Turpentine Creek and runs it with her family and their staff. These rooms help fund the nonprofit sanctuary, which receives only private donations and admission fees.
Channel your inner Hemingway and stay in one of their African themed rooms – Kalahari, Okavango, Kilimanjaro, or Serengeti. The Safari Lodge offers amenities such as a fire pit, a hot tub, gorgeous wildlife artwork on the walls, and a beautiful view of the Ozark sunset along with modern comforts such as queen sized beds, wi-fi and television.
No matter where you choose to stay, the town is certainly a jewel in the Natural State. As Rambo said, “You just have to visit Eureka Springs to experience it. It’s hard to explain, but you don’t feel like you’re in Arkansas anymore.”
:: By Kody Ford :: Photography by Meredith Mashburn