We invite you to have “More Fun Per Gallon” in Arkansas this year. Each day we will be blogging on different Arkansas destinations which can be reached on one tank of gas or less. This is basically every corner of The Natural State. We hope these suggestions help you in planning a trip to remember.
Today’s Trip: Heber Springs
I’m a keeper. Not a hoarder – a keeper. I do purge stuff – albeit some stuff easier than other stuff. Old notebooks, full of old notes, seem to be something I have a hard time parting with. If I’ve already written the article, I no longer need the notes, so I don’t know why I don’t just toss them. Sometimes I find papers stuck in the notebooks, like recently when I found an agenda from a writer’s workshop I attended in December of 2006 (yes, 2006).
Scratched on a side border was a quote from freelance writer Georgie McIrvin of Heber Springs. It read, “Everybody ought to have to go to Heber Springs before they go to Heaven so it won’t be such a shock.”
Well, if that doesn’t make Heber Springs worth at least one tank of gas, I don’t know what does.
Heber Springs was founded as a health resort in the mid-19th century. Today it serves as a gateway to Greers Ferry Lake and the Little Red River. I have to agree with Georgie that the scenery in this area is pretty heavenly. Greers Ferry is among the state’s five largest lakes and is tops in providing great fishing, water sports, boating and camping. Corps of Engineers campgrounds and commercial parks are available. You can also try your hand fishing for trout on the Little Red River below the Corp of Engineers Dam. It’s internationally known for producing world-record trout. Resorts and outfitters are abundant. The lake and river have served as national models for environmental cleanliness.
In addition to the great outdoors, Heber Springs’ historic downtown district has an Americana square with a stately county courthouse, museum, antique shops, art galleries, and gift shops. Spring Park, which attracted settlers to Heber Springs in the 1830s, is located in the heart of town along east Main Street. The park has picnic tables, shade trees, a basketball court, skateboard ramp, playgrounds, two outdoor amphitheaters, public restrooms and is wheelchair accessible. It’s also the backdrop for many festivals throughout the year including Spring Fest and Old Settler’s Days.
World-class resorts, hotels, motels, and campgrounds can be found to suit any budget. I’ve had fine meals at Lindsey’s Resort on the Little Red River and at the Red Apple Inn Resort, but there are plenty of other places to try also, whether you’re looking for fried catfish or steak.
Don’t miss a trek up Sugarloaf Mountain, championship golf courses, Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery, William Carl Garner Visitor Center, and the Trumpeter Swans on Magness Lake each winter.
Heber Springs has some excellent events, like the annual World Championship Cardboard Boat Races (July 28 this year), and the city’s annual holiday lights show.
So fill up your gas tank and make plans to see Heber Springs’ little slice of heaven. I’m going to go throw out a notebook from 2006. I suddenly don’t feel like I need it anymore.
Jill M. Rohrbach