Traveling is not only considered booking a flight, getting on a plane, and going out of the country. Traveling is not just going to the liveliest city you can find in the United States. Every year for the last six years, I’ve made it a point to go to three new places I’ve never been and in between those three places I go places I may have been already. This year I’ve traveled one place a month (by accident — I just can’t stop traveling.) It doesn’t matter how I get there or how far it is, whether it’s a bus or plane ride away if there’s something new for me to see, I consider it traveling. Traveling can be by plane, bus, boat, car, etc.
I’ve always told myself before I leave Texas I want to see all there is to see. There’s a few places within “close” proximity of Dallas, so why not see all there is? So far I’ve been to Austin, Houston, Oklahoma, New Orleans which was a seven-ish hour drive and I’ve tried to explore every inch of Dallas that I possibly could. A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to go to Arkansas for the weekend — and I’m not going to lie to you, I was like what the heck is in Arkansas? That was one place that was NEVER on my list of places to go, but sometimes the quick road trips help you explore, relax, and regroup. Plus, I wasn’t driving so why not? I got to catch up on lots of reading and do a day’s worth of exploring there so I’d like to share with you guys the little gems and the not so good stuff I found out there if you ever end up in Hot Springs, Arkansas. You’re probably thinking “why would I?” Well if you’re ever passing through on your way to your next destination, it’s worth the pit stop.
We originally headed there for the hot springs, but plans quickly changed when we got there. After googling and looking on Pinterest to get an idea of what I should actually expect it made it seem like the hot springs were outdoors, but unfortunately they were not. I’ve been wanting to go to an outdoor hot spring for years. At that point that was the main part that excited me about going to Hot Spring, because I saw NOTHING else online about it. When I got there I noticed there was something called “Bathhouse row” but there were only two hot springs on that “row” and everything else was called a bathhouse including restaurants, bars, etc. Confusing to say the least but I’ve heard there’s a lot of history behind it. The one bathhouse we went to was at capacity (which didn’t really look that full to me) but unfortunately we were told to come back. It literally looked like a few public pools side by side so I wasn’t too impressed anyway and the other one was very traditional from what the worker told us. So needless to say if you’re headed to Hot Springs just for that, definitely save yourself a trip and go somewhere with more creative hot springs. But, there is so much more to see aside from the hot springs.
If you don’t have a clue of what to do there when you’re visiting because there’s not much online about this place, they have a bulletin board on the street called “Happenings.” The board lets you know what’s going on there! The minute we parked I noticed a winery that said “free wine tasting.” As we continued walking through this cute town I noticed quite a few signs for free wine tastings. Of course they had me at free and wine, so I tried it and the wines were delicious. So, if you’re looking for something free, fun, and quick to do go taste some wine! They also had a place for virtual rides. I didn’t try it, but I remember it being super cheap! They also had places for henna/ reiki sessions and a candy store right next door. They also had a Christmas store which I HAD to go into, they had SOOOOOO many Christmas decorations. I don’t know about anyone else but I love the holidays (even though we’re nowhere near Christmas.) It really brought out the little kid in me. I’ll be sure to share pictures of the Christmas store in my gallery because I took PLENTY.
I found a coffee shop called The Kollective, I didn’t get to eat there but it was the CUTEST coffee shop. I’ll be back for that they had the cutest little menu too with options on their menu like “blissful balance” — like why wouldn’t I want to try that? We ended up going directly across the street to eat breakfast and the place was pretty small. Usually I try not to discuss the less positive aspects of places, but I’ve been told that my feedback is just as important as the rest of my trip. I don’t even remember the name of the restaurant, but it’s directly across from The Kollective. The restaurant was a cute small town feel. The bathroom was passed the kitchen with a small single Christmas light to indicate that someone was in the bathroom. All I’ll say is that if you have a weak stomach I wouldn’t even go to the bathroom before eating, it could ruin your appetite. I ordered a stuffed french toast stuffed with strawberries, which was decent but the strawberries tasted more like jelly than fresh fruit to me. I would definitely give that restaurant a 3/5. There seemed to be way more fun and far more appealing restaurants in the area.
We also went to an Oxygen bar, which was a mix of an oxygen bar, massage place, a regular bar, and who-even-knows what else. This was my first time going to an oxygen bar but you sit down at the station, I believe it was $15 for 10 minutes of oxygen (don’t quote me on that) and there’s all different flavors. The station I was at had the flavors beach and one for sinuses. I honestly don’t even remember feeling a difference but it was a cool experience. They had wine in a glass case where they give you a card for the wine and you put it in, take a glass, and it pours out for you. They also had ice cream that was topped with champagne or mimosa. Sounds cooler than it was, it was $9 for ice cream in a plastic cup. But, they did have regular mimosas which are always enjoyable and actually came in a glass. And the wine card was definitely worth it for their selection of wine and they only load as much money on it as you request.
We also went soap shopping, because of course with a town called Hot Springs with a street called Bathhouse row why wouldn’t they have a ton of soap shops? The one we went to had soap that looked like a slice of cake, how cute is that? Not to mention, they all had different names and scents. I bought a few because they all smelled so good. The ones I remember standing out to me was sun dried cotton and white linen, smelled so fresh and summer-like. It reminded me of my childhood and drying clothes outdoors, especially when I would stay in Jamaica. Definitely visit this place if you’re in Hot Springs, the soaps are homemade and they have the cutest sayings in the front window like ” don’t take a bath without us” and “happiness is homemade” which is what drew me to go in there in the first place. Shops like these definitely gave me small town vibes, which I looooove.
We decided to go to dinner off of Bathhouse row because I found a restaurant six minutes away that looked so good. I’ve let you guys know my love for ramen before so I definitely wanted to check out this Vietnamese restaurant. This restaurant is the only attraction on the street its on. But, it’s so pretty and has a nice vibe outside. They had a huge bubble tea menu, I don’t drink bubble tea but from what I heard it was SO good. I wanted to try one of their shrimp bowls but also wanted to try their ramen. I asked if they had a small ramen bowl and they said yes they had a small vegetable noodle bowl, so I ordered both things. When my noodles came out it was HUUUUUGE. She definitely down played the sizing of it. Typically when I go to restaurants for ramen they don’t have large amounts of spicy ramen with out meat so I usually end up modifying something on their menu. But, this place had vegetable noodles that was spicy and they even told me they could make it spicier if I wanted. I usually have to pour so much hot sauce in my ramen to get the taste I want. THESE NOODLES WERE THE BEST I’VE EVER HAD. I didn’t even get to finish it and they were able to give me a container to take it to go but unfortunately it did not taste the same when I had it later the noodles didn’t even feel the same. So don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach and just order one thing. The shrimp bowl came with the same noodles in the ramen just not in broth, but it was so good too. The shrimp bowl had more of a sweat taste with shrimp, peanuts, noodles, and vegetables. The shrimp was grilled so well. Everything there was so good, I did not need both but I’m glad I tried it. Definitely a must try.
Of course after dinner we had to get dessert. We went to Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Shoppe. We originally saw the sign way down the street but they changed locations so your GPS will not take you to the right place but it is easy to find. The line was long but not as bad as you would think and definitely long for a reason. I had very low expectations because usually when food looks good that’s all, it looks good. But, the new place was so nice the walls were painted so vibrantly and they had the coolest things to buy. They sold magnets that said snarky little things, astrology pencils which described the personality of each sign, oven mitts that said things like “bitch I am the secret ingredient” and t-shirt’s that said things like “it aint gonna lick itself.” This place was so cute and fun, well as much fun as a cupcake shop could be. They had a ton of different flavors and different names for their cupcakes and they had pictures of the women wearing lingerie for each cupcake name. And if you bought 5 you got the 6th one free! I got the vanilla on vanilla cupcake and the churro one. The cupcakes were so good and moist. I ate the second one the next day and it tasted just as good as when I first got it.
This is definitely a place you can spend a day exploring and still see a lot because everything is so close to each other! Even though I had no intentions of ever going here, I’d definitely go back just to explore the more outdoorsy things. I want to experience the hiking and the bike riding. I also want to check out their brunches aside from the restaurant that we went to. It seemed like all the breakfast restaurants closed relatively early. One closed at 12:45pm, I don’t think they know that’s when brunch is just getting started?! After looking at all the pictures I’ve shared with you guys, I’ve realized this was actually the CUTEST place ever. Can’t wait for you guys to see it for yourself!