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Published: March 12th 2017
I spent a wonderful three weeks with my sister Vonda and brother-in-law Dave. Vonda cooked delicious meals for us and Dave took us on many interesting outings. I got to sit back and be a passenger which was great. We also got in a lot of pinochle games and watched many holiday movies.
We made a trip to Blanchard Springs Caverns which are located in the Ozark National Forest. The cave rooms are breathtaking and the surrounding area is beautiful. On the way back we stopped at Petit Jean State Park which was Arkansas first state park. Mather Lodge is located here on a bluff that overlooks Cedar Creek Canyon. It is a really cool looking lodge with great views. The state park and the mountain got its name from a French girl who disguised herself as a cabin boy to accompany her fiancé Chavet to the New World to explore the Louisiana Territory in the 1700's. They camped at the mountain for the summer but Petit Jean became extremely ill with a fever and her identity was discovered. She asked to be buried on the mountain if she did not survive, so when she died they buried her there.
Vonda and I went to Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs for a mineral bath and massage which felt amazing. I could probably forgo the mineral bath and just do the massage next time. It was interesting to walk through the exhibits in the one bathhouse that is setup as the visitor center. The town has a very colorful history. We also at a later time visited the Arlington Hotel to see its Gingerbread House which was amazing.
I helped Vonda do some of her Christmas decorating and baking ten kinds of cookies for their annual neighborhood party the first Saturday in December. We ended up having three Thanksgiving meals; one at the church the week before Thanksgiving, one at Rotary lunch and then the one on Thanksgiving which were all delicious. Vonda made me a pumpkin pie which I had been craving. I love my pumpkin. She also made be a Strawberry Rhubarb pie which is probably my second favorite. I was definitely spoiled while I was there.
The Garvan Woodland Gardens has an amazing Christmas light display that you walk through on the garden paths so you get an up close view of the scenes which
were wonderful. Then the final of the night was to visit the Thorncrown Chapel which is breathtaking. It is beautiful at night with the light shinning from it and I have also seen pictures of it during the day and there are no words to describe the beauty of it.
One day we made a quick trip to Little Rock to visit the Little Rock Central High School Museum which was really interesting especially since it is located across the street from the school which is still used today. It had a lot of information from the actual students who lived this monumental moment in the history of our civil rights movement. We also visited the Capital Building to see the huge Christmas tree.
I am sure I missed some of our outings, but it was an amazing time spent with family and I will cherish the memories. Thanks Vonda and Dave!
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