If you plan to visit Eureka Springs, Arkansas, you shouldn’t miss Historic Downtown and the Ghost Tour at the Crescent Hotel.
Take good walking shoes for your tour of Historic Downtown, included in the National Register of Historic Places, because you’ll want to see everything. There are over 20 art galleries, a wide variety of gift shops (one with bunnies on staff!), and plenty of restaurants to stop in when you need to rest and refuel, all in an exquisitely preserved Victorian setting.
The galleries and shops offer a stunning variety — original paintings, framed and unframed prints, sculpture, pottery, handmade jewelry — something to fit every taste and budget. Even better, the owners are friendly and knowledgeable. After an initial greeting and offer of help, they will leave you to browse in peace, but are happy to answer questions and chat about the artists, the artwork, and Eureka Springs in general if you like.
All that shopping may make you hungry. If the weather is nice, consider lunch at the Balcony Bar and Restaurant at the Basin Park Hotel. The Balcony overlooks Spring Street, so you can continue to observe the downtown hustle and bustle and perhaps decide which shops to visit next.
Another excellent choice would be DeVito’s on Center Street. Featured in Bon Appetit, Southern Living, and the New York Times, DeVito’s serves Italian dishes made fresh from family recipes and trout dishes made with fish from the family’s nearby trout farm.
After lunch, you’ll probably have plenty left to see downtown, but if your feet are getting tired, save time to relax and recharge a bit for the evening. After dinner, get thee to the Crescent Hotel for the Ghost Tour. And don’t forget your camera! Featured on Sci-Fi Channel’s series Ghost Hunters, this is the real deal. During the tour, you’ll learn the haunted history of the hotel, see the video clip from Ghost Hunters, and get advice on where and when to take pictures for the best chance of having a few surprises show up.
The Crescent acquired its first ghost, Michael, during the building’s construction. The young man fell to his death into what is now room 218. Many of the other ghosts seem to date from the Crescent’s years a cancer hospital. Norman Baker, who presented himself as a doctor despite no medical training whatsoever, claimed to be able to cure cancer. Unfortunately his patients found ineffective treatment, horrible experiments, and painful deaths.
Many people have reported seeing nurses in the Crescent, sometimes pushing a patient on a gurney.In addition to sightings, guest frequently report happenings such as trouble opening the door to their room or possessions being moved.
Tour Guides recommend not deleting any of the pictures you take during the tour until you’ve looked at them on your computer screen. Look carefully for orbs and faces, particularly in mirrors.
Enjoy your time in Eureka Springs, and don’t forget those walking shoes.