Sunday, March 28, 2010

My weekend at The Park Hotel and the races

This weekend we took my younger daughter to the horse races in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  She had a wonderful time and loved the races as much as I do.  Such beautiful animals they are a joy to watch. 

We stayed at the 20's era Park Hotel, which is next door to the Arlington.  It costs almost as much as staying at the Arlington, but nowhere near the class of that fine old hotel.

The Park has apparently been undergoing some renovations, and to someone like me who is dedicated to the idea that we should cherish and preserve these fine old hotels, a welcome respite from the usual chains of Hamptons, Economy lodges and Holiday Inns, this is a wonderful process.  However, they seem to be doing this on the cheap and taking a wrong turn.

This hotel is a 20's era somewhat Art Deco construction.  They have attempted to give it some kind of Italian flair, and are gilding some of the fine old architectural details and adding a lot of fake Tuscan crap to it.  Why oh why do they do this?  It is beautiful in its simplicity, leave it alone and restore!  The redeeming feature, which doesn't seem to go with the rest of it, is the bookstore in the lobby area.  Its a civil war bookstore/library and is a wonderful space that looks like a fine old wood paneled library, which you can imagine was a men's library/smoking lounge/club area.  It is dark wood bookshelves, and has a fine old roll top desk and one of those great rolling ladders.  Beautiful haven in garish fake Italian.

Our reservation was for 2 adjoining rooms with 2 double beds.  When we arrived we were told one of the desk agents had given one of our rooms away and the other one was not ready yet.  So we were given a key to a room in  the "new" area, which is an area maybe added on to the original hotel at some point, and under renovation.  We were told they would call us when the room was ready, so we went to our room.  Total shock, all white, tacky curtains, horrible view.  Very small, one double  bed.  A 20's era chest with a small tv on it, and 2 plastic upholstered chairs from the 60's.  Industrial carpeting.  And no phone in the room.  My daughter and I left to walk down to Central Ave for some shopping and found the front desk agent polishing brass out front.  I told her we had no phone, and she said there was one in the hallway, that they had not installed phones there yet.  okaaaaayyy...

When we returned it was 4:30 pm and still no other room.  We checked at the desk and they said it was ready, gave her a key and we went to find it.  Much better, it was in the old part.  Window on the front of the hotel, view of the park, still small, one double bed, 60's era early american furniture.  A small, small shower, but much  better than our room. Our reservaion was for rooms next to each other, we were 2 floors apart.

I went back to my room, to rest and it became increasingly chilly in the room, so I asked my husband to turn up the heat.  He found a thermostat and turned it up.  Then turned it up some 75 degrees. Nothing ever happened, so he took out his cell and called the front desk.  They brought us up a portable electric heater, which might heat the room up a couple of degrees in several hours.  They said there was no heat in this part of the hotel.  It  became apparent to us they had put us in a room that was not ready to rent.

To their credit, they tried to make it better and comped us 3 dinners in their resturant, which is a very good Italian resturant, and we had a wonderful dinner there.

Would we go back?  Maybe, if the room rates were the same and we got rooms in the old part of the hotel.  In old hotels you dont expect the amenities you get in some places, but you do expect a phone and heat!  I hope they don't do this renovation so much on the cheap and make this hotel live up to its former splendor.

By the way, I ended up losing about $25 at the track, but still had milk money for school on Monday.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday - the First Day of Spring

Here are some lovely pictures taken out my front door on Sunday, the first day of Spring!

Yes, thats right...we had 13.5 inches of snow. Yippee...

Here it is on my patio can see how deep it got.

My garden bunny is covered...and behind it you can't even see the daffodils that had bloomed...they are covered up and now they are drooped! Today, Tuesday, it was almost 70 degrees and most of it is melted.  It was weird sitting outside on Monday, with several inches of snow on the ground, and we didnt even need a jacket!
See more sights at:


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I don't have a picture today for Outdoor Wednesday, although my daffodils are blooming!  I did add some more pictures of some tags I made for a couple of friends. 

I'm now making tags for Easter and Mother's Day for my friends.  This is a creative outlet I am really enjoying.  I am going to try to make sure my friends all get one so they know they are special to me. 
Go under my "TAGS" page at the top of this blog to see the new ones.  For some reason I am too challenged to get posts on these, so I just update them.  If anyone has a suggestion, I am certainly open to them.

I am off next week for vacation and I hope to get out in the yard to do some work.  I"ll take pictures!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Postcard Friday

This is the Park Hotel in Hot Springs, AR. It is still in operation and we are staying there in a couple of weeks when we go to the races. It is next door to the Arlington Hotel and I am looking forward to staying there!

Hopefully I won't forget the camera and get some pictures.  It still has an elevator you can ride that uses an operator.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dear Friends....

Yesterday I lost a friend who came into my life in high school, more than 40 years ago.  She lost the battle after several heart attacks and hospitilization for over 8 months. I spent the afternoon with her Friday, her 60th birthday, and she seemed to be doing well, and was transferred from an ICU unit to a rehab hospital. We were all so hopeful and expectant that she would be coming home.  But it was not to be.

She faced this last trying time as she faced everything...with grace, fortitude and an incredible sense of humor. She never lost her faith, or her concern for others. 
She was a loving and dedicated wife, mother and friend. She was a talented artist and musician.

I will miss her more than I even know myself.

She has gone to be with her maker, her faith will take her there...
I love you Linda Lou.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Today's recipe

Here is my favorite recipe for Shrimp - a Low-country boil.  I don't have pictures yet, just the instructions. 

Louisiana Shrimp Boil  (Low Country Boil)

Fresh Shrimp with the shells on and the heads off, washed.
About ½ to 1 lb per person (depending on how much they like shrimp!)
2 lemons
2 white onions
Small red potatoes ( about 4 to 5 per person, depending on the size)
Corn on the cob
(break the ears in half and cook a couple for each person)
One package Crab Boil
( this is a small bag of mixed spices you can buy in the grocery)
Hot sauce or liquid Crab Boil ( if you like it spicy)
Optional - 1 lb. Smoked sausage sliced ( I like the cajun spice variety).

Use a big pot for this, and preferably out of doors. Fill about ⅔ full of water, slice up the onions and lemons and add to the water, along with the bag of Crab Boil. Bring the water to a boil, add the potatoes, cook a few minutes, then add the corn, let this boil about 5 minutes. Add the sausage( if you want to use this in it ) when you add the corn. Add the shrimp and let this boil until the shrimp turn pink and are floating. Use a big strainer and dip the whole thing out on a big platter or a pad of fresh newspaper and paper towels on a picnic table. You have to allow for some water drainage, so pad this with the paper. If you want it hotter, add the hot sauce or liquid Crab Boil to the water. You might want to cook one batch, then take it out and throw in another batch with the hot sauce. Be sure to leave the bag of spices and as much of the lemon and onion in as you can for the second batch. Serve this with hot french bread and a salad.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First buds of Spring! and Outdoor Wednesday

Today it is 18 degrees out, but I saw the first buds of spring on my way in to the office! They may have been there a couple of days ago, but I just now noticed them. So I went outside and took a picture of the cherry trees in bud. Of course the flash didn't go off because it is so bright outside, so they are in the dark, but there they are! This is exciting, it means Spring is actually on the way....

For more Outdoor Wednesday entries, visit Susan at: