Cross Country 2022

Day 3 ~ Thursday ~ Memphis, Hot Springs, & Jail

After one day of rest Jules and I looked at each other and mutually agreed, let’s kick this trip into overtime and get our mileage over 1,000 by day 3!

And so we did.

We knew we had a long way to go on Day 3 and boy did we pack it in–both planned and unplanned.

First stop was Beale Street in Memphis. I was very excited to share Beale Street in Memphis, home of the Blues, with Jules and the kid but unfortunately much has changed since my last visit to the city. Homelessness, garbage, general griminess has overtaken much of Beale Street.

World famous burgers!

Of course the last time I visited was in 1989 so apparently things can change in 35 years.

We coincided our visit to the home of Blues with lunch and chose Dyers, an eatery that goes back over 100 years where they are known for using (and straining) the same grease for over 100 years to prepare their burgers. When I explained that tidbit to the children, Eva became excited while Hunter and Acadia thought it was disgusting.

Following lunch no one thought anything was disgusting and not a single morsel of food was left on any plate.

After lunch in the home of the Blues we were back on the road.

Our next stop was an unplanned one, Little Rock, Arkansas. As a political and government buff, I enjoy visiting state capitals around the nation with the kids. It was just after 5pm when we arrived and though Google said the dome was closed the building was still open for a state trooper graduation taking place in the center of the building.

A woman’s and man’s place…is in the House.

We used this opportunity to explore their capital building. The steps leading into the capital as well as the drive through tunnel underneath the granite stairs are very reminiscent of the United States Capitol. And while the interior has nice features there was nothing uniquely compelling about this statehouse. As the new state troopers were marching into the rotunda we may our exit so as to not interfere with the proceedings.

Back on the road our next visit was a park we have overlooked repeatedly–Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.
After leaving the highway and traversing 10 or so miles of four lane divided country highway we entered the Hot Springs downtown.


It was shocking to see the state of so many buildings that had been abandoned–both just outside of town and just inside the town limits. Honestly, it was depressing and my initial thought was, ‘this was a mistake’. We drove a little further and Jules noticed rotting teeth on some of the folks on the street–possible sign of the meth epidemic inhabiting the community.

Then we round a corner and there is this massive art deco mini Empire State building with blown out darkened windows. Clearly a jewel at one tine. Now–abandoned.

With the day getting late, the miles on the trip adding up, and still 90 minutes until we reached our lodging for the night, this was not seeming a prudent stop on our journey.

We drove the length of the historical district and viewed the bathhouses that made Hot Springs famous. When we reached the end of the main drag we did a U-turn and returned to the start of the historic row. Our restaurant of choice was the Superior Bathhouse Brewery. I mean the name is Superior, why wouldn’t we stop?

Truthfully we stopped because they advertised a bier garten and after Deutschland, we are always going to stop for a bier garten and two, they had nozzles spraying mist along the perimeter of their outdoor seating which on this 100+ degree day was enough to entice us (because why would we choose indoor air conditioning right?).

The food was amazing. Eva ate the burger while the rest of us shared a Bahn Mi, Steak sandwich, and carne asada fries. It was amazing. While dining and chatting up the staff I learned that the Ukrainian Mob runs the town so that was interesting.

Also amazing were the table games available as well as the bathhouse history everywhere you looked throughout the building.

Like true champs, the Floreskis closed that place down–Eva even knocking the ‘closed’ sign off the door as we exited. The family indulged me and we walked bathhouse row studying the historical buildings and reading the information plaques as we went.

Hunter being helped back out of a well by his sisters.

We noted a magical pizza joint located across the boulevard from bathhouse row called Grateful Head Pizza–it looked as if it would be dining in the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse with Christmas lights.

We turned back toward our car parked next to the Arlington Hotel and the family again indulged me even at this late hour and we entered this historic hotel. It was under renovation and our bier garten server had mentioned the current owners were renovating but the ball room was original.

This hotel did not disappoint. If you were to costume guests in Great Gatsby era clothing, one would believe you were transported to that era. Acadia could not get over herself. She would not stop talking about how she would love to stay at this hotel or maybe even mom and dad should stay at this hotel. It was cute.

After nightfall we returned to the car and began our 90 minute journey to the jailhouse. Yes, I had booked a night at the historic Washington, Arkansas State Park jailhouse.

This is easily the best find of our young trip. Arkansas has turned a former town, Washington, into a Shelburne Museum/historic Jamestown where they have already renovated some of the village and are continuing to reclaim other buildings. Additionally, the private owners in the village take pride in the houses they own within the historic district. As part of their renovations, they purchased the former jailhouse and have completely remodeled the interior as a bed and breakfast. The room we had was spacious, modern, with a historical feel to it (including wi-fi and 30 cable channels and no, the television did not turn on during our stay).

No mortals or apparitions to greet us as we arrive.

Arriving with the driver as the only person awake under moonlight only made our night stay even better. What’s more, the air conditioning in the other rooms was being upgraded so we were the only ones sleeping in the haunted jail that night!

It was great to get on the road hit so many stops–Memphis, Little Rock, Hot Springs, Washington!

Quiet homebody.

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