Hey, morsza, remember when we were talking about bathhouses the other day? Guess where my husband took me this weekend, without even knowing about our conversation?
HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS!
Ok, yes, it's in Arkansas, but it has HOT SPRINGS!
He recognized that I was about to go loopy, and booked a rest and relaxation weekend for us. My mom watched Michael and Matthew. After we dropped them off at school, we packed for the weekend. Scott didn't tell me where we were going, and had me pack all sorts of things. We went to the airport, and he actually moved from gate to gate so I didn't know where we were going until just before boarding.
The funny part? When I was trying to guess where we were going, as we were at home packing, my first guess was San Antonio, TX. My second guess was Hot Springs, AR. I was just throwing out names, and Hot Springs was on my mind because I had talked to morsza just the other day about bathhouses. I had no clue I had gotten it right! I've never been, and had never really said anything about wanting to go. It turned out to just be a coincidence.
When we got in, I found we were staying at The Arlington Hotel, Resort and Spa. The Arlington has been in existence since the 1800s and is also home to one of the traditional bath houses. Not one of the ORIGINAL bathhouses in Hot Springs - there is only one of the originals on Bath House Row still active - but still extremely old. I was getting pretty excited about this trip. The leaves were changing colors, so the hillsides looked BEAUTIFUL! I really miss mountains and trees! We had a great view from our room, which was on the top floor. In order to have quiet, they put us on a restricted floor, so nobody except the 10 other guests on the floor could come up there.
Here is a picture of one of the original bathhouses (I forgot which one), and the outlet for the springs out front. Those suckers are HOT! You can't keep your hand in it very long.
Friday night, we ate at an Italian place and then went for the Gallery Walk Hot Springs hosts on the first Friday of every month. All of the galleries are open until 9 pm and the artists are there for you to talk to. Amazingly, our only purchase was a vintage brooch turned into a necklace. When we got back to the hotel, we went out to the hot tub. It's a GREAT tub, on the side of the mountain (as is the whole hotel), fed from the springs and it is HOT!!!! They have the spring water tap next to the tub, so you can keep hydrated. The pools are heated (and a tacky green color, as you can see from the picture), but we stayed with the hot tub. The hot tub is what looks like a small hut off to the side of the pools.
Believe it or not, that was the LEAST relaxing day of the weekend.
Saturday, we took it easy early in the day and just walked around looking through shops downtown. We had an appointment for 2 pm at Chrysalis Spa. It was a couples day!!!! Chrysalis is one of the 'new age' type of day spas, with low lights, candles, planetarium music, and quiet voices. You will NEVER be seen nude there, as they are masters of the towel, sheet and robe. First, they had a hot hydrotherapy tub ready for us, which we got to sit in for 20 minutes. There were lights under the tub, rotating colors, and we got to scrub each other for our first official 'bath'. At the end of the 20 minutes, we dried off, put on our robes, and sat down for lunch - a salad with roasted chicken, and some cheesecake. Lunch was followed by a pedicure (Scott's first). Then it was on to the 'salt glow'. We were on table right next to each other, while our attendents scrubbed our body with oiled salts. They remove several layers of skin, exposing that which I think is JUST FORMING. :) We went to shower that off, and came back for our 'chocolate wrap'. It's basically a mud wrap with some chocolate in it, rubbed all over your body, and then you are wrapped in plastic and a heated blanked is put over you. The shower after that one took a LOT longer *laugh* Took teamwork to get that stuff off. Finally, we both went back for massages. It was, overall, a great intimate and romantic day together.
Four. and. a. half. hours.
I love my husband!!!
After the spa, we stopped in a place called The Winery that has a bunch of local wines. We did a tasting of about 20 wines, and ended up purchasing six bottles. We ran into a couple from just a few minutes away from our home! They had been suckered into thinking the Winery was within walking distance, and gone through some pretty rough sections of town to get there. We talked and laughed with them and the employees of the Winery, and ended up giving the couple a ride back to the hotel - they were staying at the same hotel. How weird to go on vacation and end up talking with people from the same place you live?
Then we ate dinner at a steakhouse and then went to the bar next door to watch a band our pedicurist had told us about. They were GREAT! Unfortunately, my Zoloft has been wreaking havoc with my stomach, and it really hurt after dinner. I sat there for an hour and a half, because I know Scott was really enjoying the band, but I had as much as I could take and we headed back to sleep.
I wanted to make sure we got to do at least one traditional bath, since our Saturday was more of a 'modern' spa experience. I booked both of us for the works at the Arlington Bath House. This meant we were seperated at the desk and didn't see each other until it was over. I got undressed, and they wrap you in a sheet. The traditional bathhouses are nothing like day spas. They are bright, white, and loud. They also don't have a problem with nudity. My attendent, Rachel, took me into a small room with a very old, weathered tub. She poured me an extremely hot bath, fed from the springs, out of large, exposed copper pipes. The sheet was then pulled off of me (wasn't expecting that one, folks - I was expecting the usual 'I'll step out of the room and you can get into the tub') and I was asked to get in. As I got in, I noticed the 'Model 100 Turbine' strapped to the side of the tub, and snaking up to an industrial plug about four feet above the tub. Umm. A turbine engine? Yep! When she turned that sucker on, the water started ROLLING. I was left there to soak for 20 minutes, listening to the laughter and voices all around me. At the end of the 20 minutes, Rachel came back with a loofah and some soap and scrubbed me down. I don't think anyone other than my husband has ever given me a bath. But if I found it weird, I can only imagine my husband's surprise when a large black man named Derek began loofah'ing his body! *laugh* I would have paid money to be in that room! After the bath, I was put into a menthol steam room with several other ladies. I found out later, Scott opted for the wet steam box. Remember old pictures of people in those metal steam capsules with just their head sticking out? Yep. One of those. After a while - you don't remember judge time well in a steam room - Rachel came to get me and laid me on a table for my 'hot towel treatment'. Really hot towels were put under me, then wrapped around my legs and arms. She then came towards me with what I assumed was another hot towel to put on my face. NO! ICE COLD! No warning at all. I almost jumped out of my skin. It felt good, until she took it off and all of the blood rushed back into my face. I heard her swishing the towel, and the ice cold came back onto my face. Same rushing when I was finally unwrapped. I went from there to Yolanda, for my massage.
When I got dressed and went out to meet Scott, the first words out of my mouth were 'Daddy! I want to ride again!'. The 'works' at the Arlington, which is about an hour and a half of heaven? $60 each.
Unfortunately, we needed to eat, and would be flying out in the afternoon. So, we ate Sunday brunch in the dining room. It's a great, old room, with grand chandeliers and leaded ancient mirrors.
On our way back to the airport, we stopped off at some gem shops and bought the boys some grab bags (later to find out they had shark teeth, arrowheads, marbles, and random gems. They LOVED them!). That was the capper to a perfect weekend.
I would go back in a heartbeat, and think it would also make for a good girls weekend instead of Vegas. There is a small airline that does roundtrip between Dallas and Hot Springs for $70 round trip.
Why did we have to come home???? Oh yeah. The amazing love we got from our boys when we got here. Michael rubbed my face and said "Momma, if you weren't already married to daddy, I would marry you!" :)