The Waters Hotel in Hot Springs Arkansas

The Waters Hotel is in the middle of Hot Springs National Park on Central Avenue. A multimillion-dollar historic renovation of this revered building on Bathhouse Row has yielded a boutique hotel with vintage details and up-to-date comforts and amenities. Each of the 62 rooms are unique and true to the building’s history.

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Chris, the sales manager, answered the email I sent within hours and told me he would meet with me when I arrived if I needed to get into any special areas for photos. He offered to make my reservations at the Quapaw Bathhouse and had the confirmation waiting for me at the front desk when I checked in. The Waters Hotel is partnered with the Quapaw Bathhouse and all guests get 20% off any spa services there. He even called the room later to make sure we were settled in just fine.

Parking staff was fantastic. Ashley, the valet manager made sure our truck and airstream had space to pull in, arranged further cars to ensure we’d have space to pull out, and even allowed my husband to park his own rig (because it’s his baby and he didn’t want anyone else driving it). We could even see the Airstream from our room.

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It wasn’t just the managers that were professional and welcoming. The whole staff from the valet drivers, front desk clerks, Avenue bar, to the cleaning staff were a delight. The Avenue Restaurant, attached to the hotel, was PHENOMENAL. There is even a boutique attached to the hotel called Blushed Beauty that had the cutest beauty products and a fantastic, attentive, owner on hand to answer all your questions and help you sample the items.

 

The Room

We stayed in a City View corner room that had a great panoramic view of Bathhouse Row. All the rooms are filled with art and products from local artists and companies to further immerse guests in the flavor and charm of Hot Springs.

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We were there when the leaves were changing so that added a great layer of color to the typically green spaces around the historic bathhouses.

 

Before I even realized how great the views were I was impressed by the clean lines and detailed touches in the room itself. We had a king size bed flanked by plenty of outlets and USB ports on both nightstands for our phones and tablets, which is always a struggle.

 

There was a Keurig coffee maker with a selection of pods, a mini-fridge, flat screen tv, plush chair, and full-length mirror (all things I love to have in my hotel rooms). On top of that the bathroom has a spacious shower with a fantastic rain-like shower head, a separate lighted makeup mirror, locally handmade soap, and plant-based lotion made without parabens.

One more time, I have to say that the staff, views, and room were great! I wholeheartedly recommend The Waters Hotel for your stay in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The Avenue Restaurant

Being a foodie with a house in New Orleans for the past 10 years has been fabulous. When we decided to visit Hot Springs we were focused on the thermal waters and didn’t expect to find such a fantastic restaurant in our hotel on Bathhouse Row.

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The Avenue is a full-service restaurant and a lounge which offers southern artisan- style cuisine using locally-sourced food.

 

It was so good we ate there two nights in a row. The first night we had the pork belly wontons with sambal sauce, cold smoked filet, shrimp & grits, and a couple wines for their fantastic selection. They do have vegetarian and vegan selections and their chef is committed to excellence so I wouldn’t hesitate to try anything on the menus.

 

The next night we returned, determined to order and devour the “shareable” 32oz Wagyu Tomahawk steak. We still ordered a couple of small plates to start because we had to have the pork belly wontons again and wanted to try their smoked white bean soup. We gave the steak our best shot but had to take leftovers up to the room. We did share some of it with our Cane Corso, Titan 🙂

 

The Boutique

Blushed Beauty Boutique is onsite to enhance your experience for the ultimate in convenience. They have a makeup artist, high-quality beauty products, cute gifts and handy items like hair accessories and lashes.

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The Bathhouses

So, when you stay at The Waters Hotel you are just steps away from the major attractions of Hot Springs National Park; the thermal water bathhouses! The National Park Visitor’s Center in Fordyce Bathhouse is just across the street to the right. Next to that are the Quawpaw Bathhouse and Buckstaff Bathhouse. You can be in any of these places within 20 seconds of walking out of the hotel front door.

 

The Quapaw Bathhouse & Spa is partnered with The Waters Hotel and you received 20% off of the services there. It’s undergone a recent renovation but has retained the feel of a historical thermal bath. There are four pools that you can rotate in and out of range from 94-104 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a cafe in the pool area so you can have a bite to eat while taking a break from the water. We also booked a private Microsilk bubble bath with Kneipp essential oils. Next time we will visit the steam cave and also book massages. Be sure to book well in advance because most services fill up 2 weeks ahead of time.

The Buckstaff Bathhouse is more traditional with a series of services that mirror what was done at the turn of the century. There are no cell phones or cameras allowed. It’s an experience that I am glad to have had, although Quapaw is more my style.

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Packing For CBCG American Road Trip

When the weather gets warm in my neck of the woods I tend to get the travel itch. It gets positively HOT/HUMID by April 15 on the Gulf Coast so I like to head to less humid areas. So far, some of my favorite destinations have been NorCal and the Pacific Northwest. They have such a vibrant culture, great food, beautiful vistas, and mountains!

We are heading west on I-10, north on I-5, and then east on I-90 for the first part of our 2017 #transAmericanroadtrip.  Since I really love to get a mix of everything when I travel to a new destination, I spent quite some time planning and wanted to share what my packing list is for such a trip. We will spend our days driving, setting up camp in the R-pod 180, hiking, lounging, touristing, etc. When we stay in one place for more than a day we will spend time there doing a large assortment of activities, from relaxing on the beach with a drink in hand, to lighthouse viewing, to wandering the grounds of a National Forest or National Park. Needless to say it will be a glorious trip! Below you’ll find a list of everything I packed for three months of travelling around the USA.

Bags

Ever since my first travel disaster where over-packing put a serious damper on my trip (Atlanta to Milan with two 28″ roller bags, a 22″ roller bag and a duffel), I have become a huge advocate of traveling light and bringing versatile pieces that can pull double duty. This trip was no exception! I was able to fit everything for a three-month trip in my Eagle Creek 120L cargo hauler duffel bag, Timbuk2 Wingman, and Sak cross-body purse. My favorite bags to bring along for daypacks and biking packs are the Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable Daypacks and the Timbuk2 Catapault Sling.

Clothing

Even when I think I’m being minimalist with my packing, I always seem to bring too many clothes. That said, I strongly urge you not to bring more than is listed here unless absolutely necessary because chances are you really, really won’t need it.

3 leggings – I brought 2 cotton/spandex and 1 wool. I skipped the jeans, as I find they are bulky and aren’t fun to wear when it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit out!
1 pair of convertible hiking pants – Again, not jeans.
6 tops – I brought 2 ultra lightweight wool tees, 1 tank, 2 cotton t-shirts, and 1 lightweight blouse.
3 meeting/service dresses – I had 2 knee length dresses and 1 maxi dress.
1 swim cover-up –I brought a sarong which can also double as a towel if need be.
1 swimsuit – If you’re heading to the beach for most of your stay, bring 2.
1 workout outfit
1 nice evening outfit – blouse & capris for an evening out or a nice meal.
Underwear/socks/bras – I brought 1 brown and 1 black, as well as a sports bra (they should cover all of your needs), 7 pairs of underwear and 7 pairs of socks. These can all be washed in the hotel sink if you’re in a pinch!
2 pair pajamas
2 pairs of sunglasses
1 hat
1 lightweight sweater and/or scarf – I covet the Chrysalis Cardi as a double duty scarf, but for now I just brought a red silk blend cardigan.

The weather out west ranges from arid desert to coastal rainforest so I recommend bringing lightweight layers that will work for all the temperature zones you’ll travel through. Fabrics that are good to have in this kind of weather are wool, linen/cotton and quick drying sports fabrics.

However, evenings out can get downright chilly to this Gulf Coast girl at times, so I would recommend bringing something lightweight but warm to keep you cozy during the evening. I ended up buying a fleece jacket and neck scarf at the Redwoods National Park.

Shoes

I do a lot of walking on my trips to make up for the calories I consume so I recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes, my preference is Birkenstock, just be sure they won’t give you blisters.

1 pair of trail/cross-trainer hiking – I brought La Sportiva shoes.
1 pair of strappy evening Naot sandals/wedges (or flats if those are more your style).
1 pair of walking sandals – I brought Birkenstocks (which I basically live in).
1 pair shower shoes/ hot tub flip flops.

Toiletries and First Aid

Don’t worry about forgetting something because you’ll definitely be able to purchase it there!

Makeup/Toiletries

Anything that is in your usual beauty routine. I would also suggest that you make your mascara waterproof and that your lip balm has SPF in it!
Skin – I brought travel sized bottles of: Face Cleanser, Face Moisturizer, SPF 50 Sunscreen, Body Butter (it is SO DRY out there), and Hand Cream.
Deodorant
Denman brush – this bad boy is able to brush out any knots that may be in your hair, which will be useful when your hair is all tangled up from that salty sea water.
Hair ties and bobby pins
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Wipes – These are great for freshening up and wiping off your face/body around lunch time when you may be all sandy and sweaty but aren’t ready to take a shower yet.
Bar of soap – Depending on the hotel, they may offer some complimentary soap as well. I have sensitive skin so I brought my own Dove bar soaps.
Travel sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner – I simply fill GoToob bottles with my shampoo from home.
Insect repellent – love Burt’s Bees repellant.
Emergen-C – This stuff is a dream when you’re feeling dehydrated or under the weather.
Small pack of tissues – I always carry this in my purse. You never know when you’ll be using a sketchy bathroom.
Small bottle of hand sanitizer – See note above.
Tampons – Consider the Lunette Cup instead of tampons.
Razor.

Other

E-reader/books/magazines – My iPad is the best purchase I have ever made! It allows me to download my Kindle books so I never need to worry about packing a ton of heavy books.
iphone and earphones
GoPro Camera and memory card
Chargers for all of your devices
Waterproof phone case – my iPhone 7 is waterproof.
Selfie stick – I just bought one and it is SO much better than long-arming it.
Reusable water bottle – It’s so important to stay hydrated wherever you go! I love Hydro Flask because it keeps your water cold for 12 hours.

Additional Packing Tips

Use packing bags and cubes (like from Eagle Creek) to save space in your suitcase, compress, and organize your things.
Put all liquids in a ziplock bag to avoid leaks.
Make sure that all clothing pieces work well together – try to stick to neutral colours, with 1-2 accent colours.

 

California RV Park Reviews

Needles, CA

Desert View RV Park was very nice for an overnight stay. Easy check in, clean, organized, quiet, with privacy shade shrubs on both sides of every pull though. Has a suitable dog run. Offers Wi-Fi, electric, water, and sewer. Pool at the small, dated clubhouse. Only $35. Desert view TV.com

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Our spot at Desert View RV Park in Needles, CA

Bakersfield, CA

River Run RV Park was super easy to find, and had a very nice aesthetic. It has a beautiful modern clubhouse, pool, and hot tub. They give you the gate access code to walk along the river on the sandy bank. Trees and grassy spots at each lot. Nice paved streets to walk your dog on. We paid $45 for a pull through.

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Our spot at River Run RV Park in Bakersfield, CA

San Rafael, CA

We stayed with friends there and had a glorious time in the hills. We visited Farifax, Inverness, Olema, Novato, San Anselmo, and Petaluma.

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Visiting the Fairfax Kingdom Hall

Highway 101, NorCal

We stayed at wineries! I found a site called Harvest Hosts where you pay just a $44 annual fee to stay overnight at over 500 scenic wineries and farms. You must arrive early, before dark, to meet your contact and find out where to park. That day or the next day you can tour the farm/winery, pick your own fruits/veggies, or do a wine tasting. Visit harvesthosts.com to sign up. If you sign up please let them know that countryboycitygirl username “CBCGblog” referred you 🙂

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Crescent City, CA

Here we stayed at a campground in the Redwoods State and National Park. No hook-ups, but lovely. The drive up CA 101 and CA 128 was also spectacular. The park, established in 1929, is 6400 acres with approximately 50% old growth coast redwood and 8 miles of wild coastline. The park is a World Heritage Site & Biosphere Preserve.

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Now… off to Oregon!

 

Trip Gear 2017

I went a little crazy ordering gear and clothing for our 3-month trip through Mexico and Belize this summer. I read a lot on how to combat going through multiple climate zones with minimal luggage and decided to try a couple of base layer ultra lightweight wool t-shirts for some of our trip through the highlands and UPF clothing for the sunny coast. I will video reviews of the clothing and luggage once we return.

LUGGAGE/GEAR

  • Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Large Duffel
  • Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Extra-Large Duffel
  • Timbuk2 Wingman Carry-On
  • Eagle Creek Pack-It Large Garment Folder
  • Eagle Creek Spectre Folder 18
  • Running Buddy XL Pouch

CLOTHING

  • Woolly Clothing Men’s Merino Wool V-Neck
  • Woolx Men’s Daily Boxers
  • Speedo Men’s UPF 50 Swim Tee
  • Woolx Women’s Sophie Merino Wool Tee
  • Kanu Surf Women’s Rash Guard Tee
  • Holysnow Women’s Yoga Board Shorts
  • Woolx Women’s Mia Tee
  • Woolx Women’s Perfect Capris

SHOES

  • Men’s Five Fingers Men’s
  • Naot Business
  • Women’s Birkenstock Gizeh
  • Women’s Naot Prophecy

VITAMINS/SUPPLMENTS

  • Megafood Women’s One Daily Vitamin
  • Megafood Multi for Men
  • Reset 360 Vanilla All-In-One Shake

ELECTRONICS

  • iKlip Selfie Stick/Tripod
  • Otterbox Waterproof Phone Case
  • Garmin Nuvi 2757LM GPS
  • Viper Car Alarm

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