Hot Springs Arkansas...Friday, July 3 – The Heavens Open…

All I can say is this – When it rains in Hot Springs, it POURS!  We had been hearing the thunder and the raindrops pummeling the Oriental-inspired metal roof throughout the night, but that really didn’t prepare us for the deluge that provided our breakfast backdrop.  All of the Manor’s 11 guests had elected to dine on the front porch; we provided a small but select captive audience for a symphony of showers with accents of lightning strikes and resultant accompanying tympanic thunderclaps, some of which were proximate enough to (literally) coax a standing ovation out of us!

Given that we had minimal plans for the day, we followed our slothful inclinations and hung out at the Manor.  I spent most of my morning on the porch with the computer, grateful that someone had recommended that I bring at least one pair of long pants with me.  The temperatures under the low-hanging cloud cover lingered in the low 70’s, and intermittent bursts of rainfall punctuated the calm aftermath of the substantial storm that had buffeted us earlier.  Eventually I completed the first draft of Thursday’s post and carried the electronics back to our room for Gary to peruse prior to the actual blogging.

The remainder of the mid-day hours were truly indolent, even though I had to descend the stairs to the porch several times in search of an adequate Wi-Fi signal to accomplish some editing.  Weary of my inactivity (is that an oxymoron?), I decided to walk the perimeter of the substantial property that accrues to the Manor, and managed to startle an adorable chipmunk, a very industrious squirrel and a large brown thrasher out of their complacency in the underbrush.   All too soon, however, the persistent grayness of the day compelled me to return to the Rose Room and take a nap (not that I had done anything to earn it; it just seemed like the thing to do…).

Later in the afternoon the sun finally triumphed over the rainclouds, so we headed back downtown to grab our usual late lunch before embarking on the Art Walk that is a feature of the first Friday evening of every month in Hot Springs.  The galleries are clustered toward the southern end of the Historic District, and spotlight the talents of local artists, artisans and explorers.  We saw some gorgeous creations, and were fortunate enough to converse at some length with one artist whose brilliant paintings were the high point of our evening.  Other offerings included pottery (both ceramic and porcelain), sculpture, jewelry (always one of my preferred art forms!), American-landscape focused photography, African masks, and some fascinating mixed media objects.  An amalgam of styles was represented, and the Walk also provided the perfect opportunity for people-watching, as the art (and artsy) aficionados promenaded up and down Central Avenue.
One recurring and jarring theme of our time in this lovely area is the decrepit state of so many once-proud edifices in the Historic District.  There are so many of these interesting buildings that could and should be rehabilitated; they would make spectacular places to live and/or to house businesses that would add even more depth to the existing commerce.  From our various discussions with locals we understand that currently it is a matter of politics and corruption that prevents such revitalization, and one can only hope that hoped-for changes in that regard will put Hot Springs back on the road to a fresh renaissance.

The day was winding down (as were we), but it wouldn’t have been complete without a sweet treat of some sort, so our path led us back to Kilwin’s for the requisite delicious dip of ice cream in a waffle cone.  Heaven!

More tomorrow!

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