Eureka Springs Offering “WOW!” This Holiday Season
Are the gifts you buy for your loved ones every year kind of like a plate full of chocolate chip cookies? Sweet. Tasty. Nice… but nothing “WOW!” That can all change this year when holiday shoppers sojourn over to Eureka Springs. There they will find “WOW” (“Wonderland Of Wonderful”) gifts. Dozens of eclectic shops and galleries are this Victorian village’s trademark. Inside these twinkling shops and galleries holiday shoppers will actually find those one-of-a-kind gifts. The kind of gifts that will have the recipients audibly saying “WOW!” after the wrapping paper has been frenetically ripped away.
When shopping in this Dickensian setting, holiday visitors will find themselves actually smiling, enjoying the execution of this required annual task. Many will chuckle upon realizing that the humming of a tune about Santa Claus coming to town is escaping from behind their smile This is the pre-Christmas experience being offered unassuming holiday celebrants once they have arrived in Eureka Springs, the authentic holiday town.
“If we hear one thing repeated by those who holiday shop in Eureka Springs is that it is fun and authentic holiday shopping experience,” said Amanda Haley, board member for the Eureka Springs Main Street Program (ESDN). “What organizations like ESDN, the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce, 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, and others do is to then work hard to embellish these three magical Christmas shopping weekends with festive, experiential activities and events.
“During these weekends, visiting shoppers might find themselves passing a ‘living window’ or nibbling on a hot S’more while the sounds of Christmas carols surround them in the park. They can also couple their holiday excitement with a spa-like time of relaxation for what we locals are calling jubilee rejuvenation in one of America’s Distinctive Destinations.”
For those who enjoy the words, “I’m just looking.” there are two special events just for them. Spectators line the streets early for a good view of The Ozarks’ most festive holiday parade the evening of December 5. Sponsored by Arvest Bank, this multi-unit spectacle in motion brightly winds its way along Eureka’s historic loop from the Carnegie Library through downtown past Basin Spring Park. The other “observers only” occasion is the next day on December 6. The Eureka Springs Preservation Society’s “Holiday Tour of Homes” each year welcomes more than 2,000 sets of eyes to see not only beautiful turn-of-the-century homes but homes gaily decorated.
“Many people can spend one of these three holiday weekends adrift somewhere in a concrete city circling a shopping center or big-box store looking for a parking place only to feel like, once inside, a sardine in a sea of humanity,” noted Haley. “Here in Eureka our ‘seafood’ is served as an entree, not herded into a never-ending check-out line.
“Visitors complete their Eureka holi-day weekend relaxed, not frazzled, which makes that seafood or steak served in one of our highly-acclaimed, non-chain restaurants even more pleasurable. Only one thing left to do, travel a block or two and sleep in a bed turned down ‘just for you’ waiting for those dancing sugar plums to appear.”
It is said when you add up all the shops and galleries of downtown, uptown and outlying areas, this nineteenth century Ozark hamlet festooned in its holiday finery, boasts more than 100 retail businesses. “And none are more than a few steps, a few minutes away one from the others,” Haley explained, “with no fear of getting ‘mall’ed!”
To pluck just one from “the 100” to serve as an example of what shoppers can expect when holiday shopping in Eureka Springs: Iris At Basin Park, located downtown at 8 Spring Street, adjacent to the 1905 Basin Park Hotel. This typically eclectic Eureka Springs combination art gallery/gift shop features the work of about 150 American artists, many local. Some of their art is wearable, hangable, has a utility or is just fun to display in that special focal point in a home or office. A wide variety of items in a full range of prices allow shoppers with any size budget to come away with a treasure to wrap up and place under the tree; guaranteed to produce a “WOW!”
For more information about ways to enjoy Eureka Springs these three special weekends of the holiday season, one should go to Eureka Springs’ shops and galleries, ESDN Christmas Events, Greater Eureka Springs Chamber’s Calendar of Events, Christmas At The Crescent, or simply go to EurekaSprings.com.