Hot Springs Redux – Hot Springs, AR

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Boats on the beach at Lake Ouachita

We’d felt sort of cheated when we were in Hot Springs in the spring. It was cold and wet, and walking around when we were last there seemed pointless and miserable. This time, we were able to stroll outside in very pleasant weather, and we toured the National Park Bathhouse Row – and in particular, Fordyce Bathhouse.

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The water of Hot Springs is 140 degrees, so it is definitely hot to the touch
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It was definitely green when we were there
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The old Army-Navy hospital at Hot Springs

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It seems a lot of the bathhouses are undergoing restoration in order to turn into specialty shops and restaurants
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Fordyce Bathhouse built in 1915

We both found Fordyce Bathhouse a bit gross and creepy. I had previously commented that my view of bathhouses was that they would likely be as hygienic as swimming in the Cermak Pool in the 70’s, and my opinion has not changed. While not the communal bathing facilities I had envisioned without stepping inside one our first time there, I have a sneaking suspicion that bathhouses of the early 1900’s is something I would have avoided. While the Fordyce Bathhouse offered individual baths for its clients, it was sort of weird to imagine sharing one of them with thousands of people a year. No thanks.

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Bathers in the upper crust could enjoy a setting like this, which is on the upper floor of Fordyce bathhouse

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With a gym, pool table and piano player, Fordyce was definitely designed to be the “go to” spot
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Changing rooms
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Note that there were no overnight accommodations. This room is simply for changing and hanging out before or after your bath
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The women’s parlor
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There were LOTS of baths in little enclosed areas or rooms just like this
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A very well-used bathtub. Each bathtub had a temperature gauge on it so they could regulate the natural 140 degree water of Hot Springs with a balance of cold stuff
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I took the opportunity to see if I could shed a couple pounds while I was there
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I have to assume the one of the left is for washing your feet
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Just some pretty stained windows
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I’m sure Fordyce wasn’t a cheap place to build
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They had a pretty nice gym there
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Sort of looks like the equipment from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. They had some odd devices lying around that were likely more quack-medicine than anything
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A specialized bath for those challenged with disabilities. I’m sure in 1915, hot water in a tub like this would have been a real treat given the typical household plumbing of the day

Following bathhouse row, we went to revisit Ouachita National Forest and Lake Ouachita (pronounced WASH-i-taw). The 85 degree weather and fair skies made it much more pleasant this time. I napped on a local picnic bench while Alayne took pictures. I’m glad the weather in Hot Springs was different this time.

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The marina at Lake Ouachita
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More of Lake Ouachita
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A much nicer and warmer day than the last time we were there

Well, that largely ends this summer’s report. We are heading back to Texas tomorrow, and both of us are looking forward to starting the next chapter in our retirement. More on that later.

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Our penultimate campground stay at the very pretty Cloud Nine RV Park
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