Howdy Pilgrim

Victorian stylings and architecture draws couples to Arkansas’s Ozarks
for weddings and cozy escapes.
By Sally M. Snell

Romantic visions draw couples to Eureka Springs by the throngs. Elise Dilfield, proprietor of the 1881 Crescent Cottage Inn, said guests want to re-create the romance of the Victorian era.


Above: Rooms at Angel at Rose Hall drip in Victorian elegance.

Below: Red Bud Valley Resort allows couples to be cozy inside stylish cabins. Michael Snell photos


“They think of the romance of the Victorian age: big hoop skirts and parasols, and all that,” Dilfield said.

And this charming northwest Arkansas town tucked in the Ozark hills offers visitors a variety of places in which love can be rekindled. Here are three bed-and-breakfast inns that make a lovely getaway for you and your valentine.

The 1881 Crescent Cottage Inn, located at 211 Spring St., in the Silk Stocking district, is the oldest inn in the region. It was built to be the temporary home of Powell Clayton, the first governor of Arkansas, and later U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

Two large verandas on the back of the house overlook the valley and the Christ of the Ozarks statue. The Crescent Cottage Inn has four rooms, two of which are suites. The accommodations are cozy, furnished to suit a variety of tastes.

“People are looking for a Jacuzzi; they are looking for old-fashioned; the gourmet breakfast; the getaway,” said Dilfield. “Life in the fast lane in Eureka Springs is life in the past lane. Lots of people come here for honeymoons, anniversaries, birthdays and weddings,” said Dilfield, adding that her husband is licensed to perform marriage ceremonies.

Eureka Springs has an extensive trolley system, making the entire community easily accessible. Angel at Rose Hall, Eureka Springs’ only AAA four Diamond property, is located at trolley stop 75, 46 Hillside Ave.

“Because we just have five rooms, we are able to make their experience here a very personal experience,” said proprietor Susan Misavage. Though the building is new, its design blends seamlessly with the town’s Victorian charm, and the size of the rooms suit the needs of bridal clients who can spill out across the expansive suites as they prepare for their parlor or garden wedding. Every room is considered a suite by hotel standards, with king-sized beds, two-person Jacuzzi tubs, private baths, private balconies and fireplace.

“I feel like I’m their caretaker, and I try to welcome my guests like my friends and family. I have so many guests who need to be cared for,” Misavage said. “They are exhausted. They’re stressed out. I’m just here to be dedicated to them, and I am so honored that they chose us for their special getaway.”

She generally serves a three-course gourmet breakfast every morning. Room rates are discounted for AAA members.

Small weddings take place in front of the fireplace with the bride making her grand entrance down the staircase.

“I don’t watch any more because I usually cry,” said Misavage. “Even though I’ve done hundreds of weddings, I still get excited over them. I really love my brides.”

One and a half miles east of downtown off state Highway 62 on county road 340, the Red Bud Valley Resort, a AAA three Diamond property, offers guests a distinctly different type of romance: rustic cabins tucked deep in the woods. Nine cabins are designed for the couple seeking romance with heart-shaped Jacuzzis, fireplaces and king-sized beds. Discounted rates are available to AAA members.

“We do a lot of anniversaries and romantic getaways,” said Tandy Maxfield, marketing director at Red Bud Valley.

Eureka Springs is second only to Las Vegas in the number of weddings per capita each year, and between 150 and 200 are held in the resort’s Little Glass Wedding Chapel situated at the edge of a small private lake or in the garden. Groomed walking trails give visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area, “sit, meditate, dream, and write poetry, if that’s what they want to do,” said Maxfield.

Sally Snell is a contributor from Lawrence, Kan.

Jan/Feb 2009 Issue


For more information, contact:

• 1881 Crescent Cottage Inn, (800) 223-3246,;

• Angel at Rose Hall, (479) 253-5405,;

• Red Bud Valley Resort, (877) 373-3283,

To visit Eureka Springs, Ark., first stop by your nearest AAA service office for maps, reservations, TripTiks® and TourBook® guides. List of offices to serve you.


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