Day 80: Where History and Nature Meet


time of year

Blue Cake Honey Pies, Little Rock, AR for Possum Pie, named for the possum’s ability to fake someone out. It’s a thing in Arkansas. It’s basically vanilla pudding covered by chocolate pudding covered by whipped cream in a pie crust.

Boulevard Bread Company, Little Rock, AR for lunch. Make sure you check your order before you leave – we didn’t and our order was totally wrong.

After what felt like a long drive we finally made it to Hot Springs, AR, the weirdest National Park I’ve ever been to. I’m fact, the whole town is a little bit odd. The downtown walking area is only about a mile or so long with close, old buildings. Starting at one end of downtown there are 2 burlesque/strip clubs, a magic show, family oriented shops and restaurants, then the historic Bathhouse Row, part of the Hot Springs National Park. Just beyond that is a giant historic hotel and then a couple of miles on, pretty good hiking, also part of the National Park. We went in to check out the National Park run Ouchita Bathhouse (25/person to get in). The baths are a little smaller than I had expected and we were told to expect them to be crowded and even long lines waiting in the morning when it opens tomorrow due to the weekend and the stormy weather. The Park’s Visitors Center has a good museum that talks about how the Bathhouses were designed and run and how they used the hot springs water back in the day. If you go for a walk on the Promenade above town you’ll see how they capped the many hot springs for safety (the way ranges from 144-150F, burning hot) and below there are 3 open springs that you can put your fingers in to experience the heat and feel the steam from them.

A quick stop at The Pho House – The Viet Kitchen and Cafe, Hot Springs, AR where I got a vegetarian Pho for dinner. It’s so fresh and delicious. Definitely recommend this restaurant if you’re in the area.

Time to check into Candlewood Suites, Hot Springs, AR.. It’s really nice with a full kitchen and even a walk in closet. We’re just about 1 mile down the road from Oakwood Racing and Casino. The Arkansas Derby will be run here April 1st. The winner earns $1.25 million and a chance to run in the Kentucky Derby.

Price: $96/night

For our after dinner hills we chose Balanced Rock, Hot Springs National Park (2.4 total out and back, 260’ elevation). This trail is fairly steep at the beginning and the footing is mostly loose rock but it’s quite easy otherwise. We had a great time looking for arrowheads and scrambling around the boulders. We had the entire trail to ourselves which was extra nice after being in such busy towns for the rest of the day.


difficulty: 3.5

We got Tropical Smoothies for an evening treat in the way back to the hotel.

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