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Kick back in Arkansas

© 2008 by Bonnie McKenna
All Rights Reserved

If you and your girlfriends have been thinking of taking off for a little holiday away from the family and searching for a place to be with the girls for some quality time; think of Arkansas. Yes, Arkansas. Not too far and not too expensive. If going to a pristine mountain resort nestled beside a beautiful cool lake is your idea of relaxation, then the Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa is where you want to go to unwind and get that quality time with your friends that you have been dreaming about.

Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa is located south and west of Little Rock on the shores of Lake Ouachita near Mount Ida. A wide selection of lodging is available. The rustic, but luxurious Harbor North Cottages with lake views, fireplaces and hot tubs on the porch are the perfect places to stay with your girlfriends. Each cottage has three bedrooms and three baths; able to accommodate five to six people. You wonít go hungry; The Lodge Restaurant serves up a wide selection of simple, but delicious fare. Be sure to try the onion rings regardless of whether you order a hamburger or not; they are the best. After settling into your lodging it will be time to think about visiting The Turtle Cove Spa. The spa is a first class facility with professional and personalized service. All spa treatments incorporate natural surroundings whenever possible. The spa offers special packages, specialized massages, body therapies, and holistic treatments. Debi Barnes, The Turtle Spa owner recommends trying something new. For a real change of pace, she recommends the spa's unique Crystal Energy Balance Therapy. The therapist uses tones of music on a vibroacustic sound table to lull you into a state of relaxation while you are massaged by polished and heated, locally mined Arkansas crystals. A personally selected crystal will be given to you to hold during the treatment and take with you when you leave.

The resort also has a number of outdoor activities to participate in; horseback riding, hiking, sailing and much, much more. Your time in Arkansas does not have to be all spa treatments and relaxing views. There is plenty to do in nearby Hot Springs. In the late 1800s Hot Springs rivaled the bathhouses of Europe. People came to bathe in the hot springs for relief of ailments like arthritis; drinking the water was also thought to cure many illnesses. Currently, many of the famous old bathhouses that had fallen into disrepair are being rehabilitated. At the center of Bathhouse Row is the Fordyce Bathhouse.

A self-guided tour of the bathhouse will give you an idea of what the American spa experience was like years ago; it will make you happy you are taking your treatments at The Turtle Cove Spa. Hot Springs is a great spot for doing a little shopping too, not mall-style, but there are a number of interesting shops along the main street to meander through while searching for that special gift. For dinner, while in Hot Springs, you must go to Chef Paulís. The restaurant is in a small strip center and a bit hard to find, but the food is memorable. If Chef Paul is there ask him to tell you the story of the restaurant. I guarantee his story will pull on your heart strings.

Before you leave Arkansas spend two or three days in Little Rock. Little Rock has been undergoing a renaissance since the Clinton Presidential Library was built on the banks of the Arkansas River. Museums, parks, historical landmarks are just a few of the many places in and around the city that are worth visiting. For an interesting place to stay in the city, try the Capital Hotel (www.capitalhotel.com). The hotel has been completely renovated and lovingly restored to an elegance of a by-gone ear. The hotelís mezzanine and balcony drawing room is open once again for afternoon high tea. If you are a movie buff and a fan of the movie Gone with the Wind, the old mill shown in the opening credits of the movie is in Little Rock. Just north of the city, in the middle of the Park Hill subdivision is the Old Mill. The Old Mill is extremely photogenic and represents a vanquished era.Wine, yes ladies, wine. Arkansas is the third fastest growing wine region in the nation. Altus is home to four of the state's six wineries. This area is not far from Little Rock and will make an enjoyable day-long outing. Not to be missed is the Chateau Aux Arc. Ten years ago, twenty-one year old, Audrey House purchased Arkansas' oldest vineyard of Chardonnay grapes.