Hot Springs, Arkansas, A Quick Dip

It had been thousands of miles, a dozen towns and 2 oceans since our last bath, since San Francisco to be precise. Living on the road means showers only, and sometimes it’s just the slight stream of water from a water bottle. We take them any way we can, so it’s no wonder we dream about baths.

Hot Springs, Arkansas is no ordinary place to take a bath, here they are the main reason tourists visit. From the name, you might guess it is home to natural hot springs, and they are so abundant that there was rightful cause for the area to become a national park. When the area was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase, interest in the springs rose and it quickly became known as a place for healing. Over a million people visited the springs each year and in 1921 it became our nation’s 18th national park. Several bathhouses were constructed along “bathhouse row” and gave rise to glorified bathing in beautiful environments, with decorated tiles and marble floors.

Community bathing went out of fashion for a short time, and as such the park lost its figurative, not literal, steam. Good news for us, community bathing is back and the park has been brought back to life.

We visited the Quawpaw bathhouse and had not one but 4 baths, all at different temperatures. They recommend an order of jumping in and out for maximum relaxation. It was not exactly the bath I dreamt of as there were no candles or glasses of wine and nudity was forbidden, thank goodness.  But it was luxurious just the same. Gazing into strangers’ eyes across the large baths, while you whisper, “this is so nice,” to your partner is absolute heaven. There are many other services offered that we were too poor for, but our $20 experience was worth it.  As Matt would say, “it was everything we could soap for.”

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