Feature

Getting the flavor of ... Arkansas’ hottest spots

During the “Golden Age of Bathing,” thousands of patients flocked to Hot Springs, hoping to be cured by its natural springs.

Arkansas’ hottest spots
Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, Ark., is a “significant landmark in the culture of leisure,” said Nancy Trejos in The Washington Post. During the “Golden Age of Bathing,” thousands of patients flocked to this small Arkansas town, hoping to be cured by its natural springs. Today only a few bathhouses remain open. I had my first soak at Quapaw Baths & Spa, where guests can choose between a private bath or one of four public pools, each set at different temperatures. (I found that 101 degrees was plenty hot for me.) At Buckstaff Bath House, which first opened in 1912, I had an even more authentic experience. A female attendant wrapped me in a blanket, “toga-style,” scrubbed me with a loofah, and had me soak in a bath whose whirlpool-like waves were much stronger than any Jacuzzi. As a final step, she put me into a steel “steam cabinet” that “truly looked like a torture device.” To my surprise, it felt great.
Contact: Hotsprings.org

Georgia’s unspoiled coast
Though only 110 miles long, Georgia’s coast is awash with wonders, said Josh Noel in the Chicago Tribune. This rugged shoreline is home to “twisting trees heavy with moss,” picturesquely decaying mansions, and “landscapes shifting with the tides.” Steering south on Highway 17, on the way into the laid-back beach town of Tybee Island, I cruised by roadside stands selling okra and live crab. The next morning I traveled to Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, a 2,800-acre former military airfield that now swarms with snakes and alligators. A “whirlwind day” ended in Darien, a shrimping town where boats with names like Amazing Grace “trawl for America’s dinners.” My final stop was Jekyll Island, a barrier island that once was a playground for the “moneyed East Coast elite.” I rented a bike and rode along the old boardwalk, watching as the “clouds turned pinker and pinker over an endless, swaying Atlantic.”
Contact: Visitcoastalgeorgia.com

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