Almost immediately after checking into the Lookout Point Inn on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas, we knew we would want to stay longer then planned. The setting is breathtaking, the owners, Ray and Kristi, as well as their innkeepers, Annette and Warren, were welcoming, and our beautiful room, Evening Shade, had French doors that opened to a patio overlooking the gardens and Lake Hamilton.
We arrived in time to enjoy evening refreshments. Wine, iced tea, cheese & crackers and sweets. Then on Annette’s recommendation, we had dinner the first evening at J&S’ Italian Villa located on the lake. Dinner was excellent and the setting was lovely.
Wednesdays are special at Lookout Point – They are known as Chocolate Covered Wednesdays, so breakfast started with a strawberry sundae – fresh strawberries over a granola and yogurt, topped with a banana drizzled with chocolate syrup. Our sundae was followed by a Black Forest Ham and Egg baked omelet served with bacon and a ricotta cheese and apricot muffin. Great start to our day.
Lookout Point is only a short drive to the historic area with the bathhouses, mineral springs, restaurants, shops and Hot Springs National Park. Your first stop should be at the National Park Visitor’ Center located in the Fordyce Bath House. There is a guided tour of the building with original baths, showers, cooling rooms, lounges, etc. You can also do a self-guided tour. Two bathhouses opened to the public, the Buckstaff Bath House which has been in continual operation since 1912 offering traditional mineral baths and services and the very recently renovated Quapaw Baths and Spa. The hot springs that feed the baths are located behind Bathhouse Row, and at the end of the street they cascade into a pool - it is a great photo shot.
We returned to the inn mid-afternoon and just enjoyed swinging on the swing by the lake, wishing it were slightly warmer to take advantage of the stone steps leading into the water. Chocolate Covered Wednesdays extend to afternoon refreshments, and in addition to the wine and lemonade, Godiva liquor was offered with chocolate covered strawberries, fudge, banana cake with chocolate chips, as well as the cheese and crackers.
Dinner was an afterthought, but how can you pass up McClards’ BBQ? This well-known eatery is a favorite, for locals as well as visiting VIPs as evidenced by the photos on the wall. However, if you go on a weekend or in-season, be prepared to go early or wait. No reservations, first come, first served – dress is definitely casual, formica top tables and paper napkins. No credit cards.
It was hard saying goodbye, but we promised we would be back. There is so much more to do and see in the area. However, for us on this trip, Lookout Point was a great place to just relax. The next time we visit we’ll see about mining for diamonds!
Please see the BedandBreakfast.com message boards for information on our trip: http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/communities.aspx