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Hot Springs Highlights

My husband and I joined my sister and brother-in-law for a long weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I conducted research for my upcoming July 4th release, Voices in the Vapors, the thirteenth book in my paranormal mystery series, The Mystery House Series.

So, here are my Hot Springs highlights:

The four of us stayed together in a lovely AirBnB called Paradise on the Green in Hot Springs Village. This three-bedroom, three-bath, beautifully decorated split-level home backed up to the Cortez Golf Course and a lake, where players have to hit across the lake from the tee box. Nestled among tall trees on a hillside, this house afforded some amazing views. Here we are on the back deck.

Eva, Lisa, Richard, and David pose on the deck of an Airbnb with the Cortex golf course and lake behind them.

The men played golf on Saturday and Sunday on two of the nine courses in the village while my sister Lisa and I explored Hot Springs National Park and Bathhouse Row.

Eva and Lisa stand before the gate to Hot Springs National Park.

Just on the other side of this gate is a natural hot spring where you can reach over and touch the water to see how hot it is. (And it was HOT!)

Lisa reacts to the hot temperature of the natural hot springs she has just touched inside the park.

We also filled our Yeti and water bottle at a spigot across the street, where it was free for anyone to get the natural spring water--though here it was 62 degrees (thank goodness!). The people filling their bottles and jugs claimed that the water had magical healing properties, and a nearby sign indicated the many minerals that the water contained. Whether it was magical or not, it was certainly delicious--dare I say magically delicious?

Lisa feels her water bottle at a natural springs spigot.

Down the street from this spigot and across the street from the entrance to the national park is what many consider the most haunted hotel in Hot Springs--the Arlington Hotel.

The front entrance of the Arlington Hotel.

I kept waiting for that lady to move out of my photo, but she didn't seem to notice me, and more people were about to descend the steps, so I went for it. Below is a photo of the hotel signage.

The signage on the side of the Arlington Hotel.

And here's a view of the lobby with its chandeliers and golden elevator doors.

Inside the lobby of the Arlington Hotel with its chandeliers and golden elevator doors.

Right across the street from the Arlington is Josephine Tussaud's Wax Museum, at one time known as The Southern Club--a gambling den and hangout for many well-known gangsters from the 1930s, including Al Capone. Veronnica, one of my readers, happens to work at the museum, and she showed us a secret tunnel that was once used by Al Capone to travel from The Southern Club to his suite at the Arlington Hotel (suite 442). According to another reader named Mary, who stayed in Room 442 at the Arlington, the closet door in that room is nailed shut to prevent guests from exploring the tunnel.

The door in the wax museum, however, can be opened by employees. During my visit, Veronnica led my sister and me into what was once the men's room and is now the staff restroom to the secret door leading to the tunnel.

The door to Al Capone's secret tunnel in the restroom at Josephine Tussaud's Wax Museum.

Veronnica unlocked the door and allowed me to explore it. At the bottom of steep stairs, I stepped into three inches of very cold water in complete darkness. We weren't allowed to travel all the way to the Arlington, but I was able to go far enough to pick up on some really creepy vibes!

Veronnica and Eva pose together on the steps just inside Al Capone's secret tunnel.

Pictured above are Veronnica and me at the top of the steps leading down to the tunnel. And the shot below shows part of the tunnel, though it's hard to see anything but pipes and beams, even with my camera flash turned on.

Pipes and beams run along the inside of the dark tunnel once used by Al Capone.

Upstairs in the wax museum, we saw everything you can imagine. Here are some highlights: Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, along with a line of others on an escalator, greet visitors at the entrance. At the top of the escalator awaits Pope John Paul the Second. Through winding corridors, an array of interesting characters await, many situated in dramatic scenes, including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and a meeting between Richard Nixon and the royal family of the United Kingdom.

A collage of wax sculptures inide Josephine Tussaud's Wax Museum--U.S. presidents, a pope, Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and the royal family of the U.K. with Richard Nixon.

After touring the museum and tunnel, Veronnica gave my sister and me a wine tasting of eight different wines sold at $19.99 a bottle and all based on The Southern Club's original recipe (which was discovered in the basement after the property was bought by the museum). Although every flavor was delicious--these included "Original Pour," "Apple Pie," "Lemonade," "Strawberry," "Blackberry," "Watermelon," "Banana Pudding," and "Peach"--my favorite was "Original Pour" followed by "Blackberry."

The Wax Museum, Arlington Hotel, and national park are at an intersection in town that forms a V--forking around the national park. If you drive up the Arlington side, you'll eventually reach the entrance to the scenic drive up to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower and Trail. From the top of the tower, you see amazing 360-degree views of the area. Here's a selfie of my sister and me in the tower. I'm awkwardly trying to use my elbow to cover the window frame beside me so the view looks unobstructed by anything but us.

A view of rolling hills from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower.

The trail below the tower is a 1.8-mile hike through the woods. There wasn't another living soul walking the trail with us, though the sign at the trailhead warned of bears!

Lisa and Eva on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail.

Here we are in the woods. I'm red-faced and out of shape, while my beautiful sister who hikes regularly isn't phased a bit!

Now, let's go back to that intersection that forms a V around the national park. If you were to walk along the road on the museum side of that intersection, you would quickly come to Bathhouse Row.

Here's a map that shows you what I mean:

A map of Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The first one we came to from that intersection is Superior, now a brewery. And guess what the main ingredient of their beer is? Yep, natural spring water from springs that run beneath the building!

My sister and I made our way down to Fordyce, which has been converted into a Visitor's Center. I was hoping to purchase an ornament there.

Eva standing in front of the Fordyce.

But the gift shop was all the way down in Lamar. So we walked past Quapaw and Ozark . . .

A view of the Ozark Bathhouse from the sidewalk.

bought an ornament in Lamar, and then returned to Quapaw to soak in the hot springs spa! I was excited to meet another reader there, Erika, who happened to work at the bathhouse. She gave us some tips on how to best enjoy the pools.

Lisa and Eva stand in front of the Quapaw Bathhouse.

Private spa rooms and massages can be booked, but all appointments were filled, so Lisa and I went into the public space, where there were four different pools each at different temperatures: 95, 98, 102, and 104 degrees. We spent the majority of our time in the 102 pool, which felt heavenly. My knee had been hurting, and the pool from the hot springs soothed it.

Lisa and Eva inside the Quapaw Bathhouse, where others are soaking in the pools.

We met quite a few characters at the bathhouse, but you'll have to read the book to hear about them!

During our visit, we ate at some delicious restaurants. My favorite was the Grenada Mexican Grill at the Grenada Golf Course in Hot Springs Village. I ordered a shrimp taco salad that was to die for!

David, Eva, Lisa, and Richard dining at the Grenada Mexican Grill in Hot Springs Village.

We also ate at the Fisherman's Wharf, but the wait was long and the food, though delicious, couldn't compete with the Grenada Mexican Grill.

David, Eva, Lisa, and Richard inside the Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

We also ate lunch at the Purple Cow where a club sandwich and fries hit the spot nicely. Others in my dinner party were happy with the Philly steak sandwich, Reuben sandwich, and chicken salad sandwich.

Lisa and Eva in front of the Purple Cow Restaurant in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

And Sunday morning for brunch, while my sister hiked and her hubbie did some work on his laptop, my hubby and I met two of my favorite people for brunch at the Home Plate Cafe and Bakery, where I had a delicious pecan pancake with sausage. Do you recognize the adorable couple below?

Quinn and Bo Loftis pose before a tree-lined road in Arkansas.

I call them the Chip and Joanna Gaines of the self-publishing world--USA Today bestselling author Quinn Loftis and her lawyer and business manager-husband, Bo! We had such a great visit. Quinn even brought me a signed hardback copy of her newest release, Kingdom of Fangs, along with a wolf pup and adoption certificate! Thank you, Quinn!

Monday morning, we said goodbye to our Paradise on the Green and headed to Shreveport, Louisiana to Bally's Casino, where I won and lost at the slots but came out ahead at blackjack. My hubby and I started with $300 and left with $700! The photo below was taken while the machine was still singing and my dollars were adding up. I turned ten dollars into sixty on this machine, but then lost it all and another fifteen. Thank goodness the blackjack turned things around! I didn't have to try very hard. The dealer kept dealing me blackjacks!

Lisa, Eva, David, and Richard at Bally's Casino in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The best part of this trip was getting to spend time with my sister, who lives in College Station, a few hours away from me. We don't see each other nearly as often as I'd like.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my Hot Springs highlights. I've already started writing Voices in the Vapors and can't wait for you to read it! It will release in ebook, paperback, hardback, and audiobook on July 4th and is available for preorder in ebook, paperback, and hardback in my store here.

Voices int he Vapors, the thirteenth book in The Mystery House Series, shown on an iPad, iPhone, and in paperback.

Here's a short reel I made about the trip:

Btw, if you don't already own The Bookworm Bible--my fifty-page comprehensive guide for book lovers compiled from articles I've written over the years on topics such as "How to Overcome a Reading Slump" and "How to Write Easy Peasy Book Reviews" with free resources such as a printable reading log, review templates, and an online reading journal--grab your free copy here.

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