May 20, 2008

Hot Springs

Two days ago, Matt and I spent the day in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was a wonderful place where we spent our time leisurely walking around and enjoying the warm weather. The town is nestled among the trees of the Ouachita forest. Along the main, historic street in town, one finds “Bathhouse Row.” Most of the hot springs in the immediate town have been developed by these bathhouses and this is where visitors must go to access and enjoy the hot springs. The bathhouses are historic and gorgeous and date back to the early 20th century. The first bathhouse was built in the 1890’s. Some of these bathhouses are now combined spas/hotels, but several bathhouses along historic “Bathhouse Row” are no longer in use. The buildings are vacant and falling into disrepair which is shocking. Matt and I didn’t bathe in the hot springs, basically because we were too cheap to pay for the spa services and we both have bathed in natural hot springs before.

There were also several antique shops in Hot Springs. I love antiques, but the vast majority of antique shops I’ve been to in Michigan are mostly overcrowded with items of no value whatsoever. Matt and I found an antique shop in Hot Springs that is, by far, the most amazing antique shop I’ve ever seen. Matt and I agree that probably half of the items in that shop could be in museums. Almost all the items are European and most have historical significance. For example: King Louis XV of France’s leatherbound portfolio cover, the “Cup of Souls” from the coronation of Nicolas Romanov (the last Czar of Russia), items from Napoleon’s residences, wooden figurines from China that are over 1,000 years old. Granted, these items are naturally quite expensive; I believe there were some “bargain” jewelry items for $250. For any significant purchase, one would really need to be prepared to spend AT LEAST $6,000 but likely much, much more. To me, some of these items would be well worth the price simply for their historical value. Maybe someday I can start an amazing collection of historical items such as these, but for now, well…let’s just say the income of two newlyweds can’t quite afford these luxuries. And the lovely owner of the shop gave us a tip and sent us off to some gorgeous botanical gardens about 20 minutes outside of Hot Springs.

It was a great day, and that night, I fell asleep pretending that one day I’ll be able to have my own, private collection of historical pieces and perhaps that one day when I retire, I’ll open a little antique shop of my own. But -- that does conflict with my plans of retiring to my own big house in the mountains of Montana, complete with lots of land and lots of horses. Ah….choices, choices.

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