August Fun in the Ozarks
I usually end up taking my vacation from my “day job” in August. I say from my “day job” because I’m not sure writers ever take a vacation from writing or from thinking about writing. I’m still officially on vacation until Tuesday. I’ll spend the remaining days doing some home maintenance and plotting out a new stand-alone novel.
As I’m writing this blog, I’m eyeing the unpacked bags stacked on my living room floor. A few hours previously, I’d returned from a three day trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas with a side trip on Tuesday to Branson, Missouri. A three day trip required two soft-side suitcases, my laptop, my camera, an ice chest, and a tote for miscellaneous stuff that wouldn’t fit into one of the other bags. I hate lugging so much stuff in and out of the hotel and car, but I just can’t seem to do with less. I count this last trip as a success since I didn’t forget to pack anything vital and I didn’t leave anything behind. (Note: whoever was staying the cabin 1003 before me left behind a green cotton t-shirt – sized small. It’s still hanging in the closet if you’re looking for it.)
Speaking of cabins, my brother and I stayed at a cabin at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Last year we stayed in regular rooms in the hotel proper. The cabins were a much better experience! I love visiting old buildings, but I like sleeping in new ones with air conditioning and updated plumbing. The cabin we stayed in was wonderful – two bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen, fireplace, deck, three flat screen televisions, excellent satellite reception, and wireless internet. With the floor to ceiling windows on the side facing the valley below – it felt like we were staying in a very elegant tree house.
The Crescent Hotel is a famous destination for weddings and – since being featured on Ghost Hunters – a hot spot for ghost tours. We were there for the ghost tour. Last year’s tour was wonderful – this year’s not so much. Have you noticed whenever something really good also becomes very popular, the quality almost immediately goes down? The first time there were about 20 people taking the tour. This week’s tour included almost three times that number. Everyone was stepping on each other in the narrow hallways, snapping photos of the back of someone’s head, and trying to hear the tour guide over the murmurings of the crowd. I’m sure the ghosts found better places to hang out – about halfway through, I did too.
But even with an absence of ghosts, the time I spent sitting in a rocker on the hotel veranda, watching an evening thunderstorm roll in, made the whole trip worthwhile.
On Tuesday we drove to Branson and went through the Titanic Museum. The self-guided tour included many interactive exhibits. Nothing like sitting in a lifeboat and listening to the stories of survivors of the sinking to put an Atlantic chill in your bones. Don’t confuse this museum with the traveling Titanic exhibits with items salvaged from the ship. The Titanic Museum in Branson offers fun doses of history and replicas of some of the ship staterooms and radio telegraph equipment, but no recovered items from the actual sunken ship. This museum is a great destination for history buffs and kids of all ages. I really wanted the “Rose Doll” (modeled on the character in the Titanic movie) sold in the gift ship, but I refrained. My house already has too many dolls – and I hardly ever play with them!
I did buy a book while I was away, In the Woods, a mystery by Tana French. I’m about a 100 pages into it and I’m hooked. Can’t wait to finish it.
I hope everyone managed some type of vacation this summer – even if it’s just a few hours on the deck with a good mystery!