I consider myself a “big chicken” when it comes to spooky things. I loath Halloween haunted houses, scary corn mazes, and slasher films, but I absolutely love a good ghost story. The kind of ghost story that has been passed down from generation to generation. When Barry and I travel, we always book a haunted city tour. They give the best tours! You get a wonderful history lesson on top of local legend and folklore. A few of my favorites have been The Myrtles Plantation, The Queen Mary, Tombstone, Rome, and of course, New Orleans.
This past March, Barry and I had to travel to northern Arkansas for a wedding in Rogers. Neither one of us had ever visited this area, so we were excited to go exploring. Eureka Springs was highly recommended and we booked a one night stay at The Crescent Hotel. We arrived too early for check-in, but the perfect time for a delicious lunch. The hotel stored our luggage and loaded us into the free shuttle. The driver recommended a quaint little restaurant in the city center named “The Local Flavor” and it did not disappoint. After the meal, we decided to walk around for a bit and do some window shopping. We strolled for about an hour before finding an escape room. If you have never tried one of these, they are so much fun. You and your friends are locked in a small, themed room and you have to find clues and solve puzzles to escape the room. You have one hour to perform the feat. Sadly, Barry and I were close, but we did not escape. Our theme was “The Speakeasy” and we had so much fun.
The Crescent Hotel looms over the quirky little town of Eureka Springs. You have to wind your way up the mountain through narrow streets to get to the property. The day we arrived, it was an overcast day with a slight drizzle, which set the perfect scene for our spooky adventure. By the time we made it back to the hotel, our room was available. It was located at the end of a dark hallway and we had to use a regular key to unlock the creaky door. This is not a chic, modern hotel complete with keyless entry, but one with old world character for sure.
Did I fail to mention that The Crescent Hotel offers nightly ghost tours? You need advance reservations to attend the nightly tours. These can easily be made online. Our tour guide was fantastic! He gave us so much history about the area and the hotel itself. This historic building was a grand hotel, a college for women, but sadly its claim to historical fame was due to a swindler named, Norman Baker. Mr. Baker turned the building into a hospital for cancer patients. He would send flyers in the mail advertising his cures and information about his hospital in Eureka Springs. Hopeful and desperate patients flocked to his establishment believing in the possibility of a cure. It was tragic because his injections were said to be painful and of course they did not work. The patients were not given pain medications to ease their suffering. They were locked in a noise proof area of the hospital when the pain became unbearable and left to their torment. Our tour guide stated that Mr. Baker had a knack for determining when a patient was close to passing and he would send this patient home stating they were cured. Unfortunately, the patients usually passed away on their way home or just after arrival. For those unlucky patients who passed away at the hospital, their bodies were taken to the basement morgue and Mr. Baker would perform autopsies. In 1940, Mr. Baker was sentenced and served four years in prison for mail fraud. A judge determined that the mail flyers were illegal and resulted in the swindling of so many people. Ironically, Mr. Baker died of cancer, but I bet he had pain medication to ease his suffering. Our ghost tour ended in the basement where the autopsies were performed. During some needed renovations, construction workers found buried jars of human substances around the property and these are now displayed in the basement.
The most popular room at the hotel is room 218. It is reported to be the most active when ladies are present. If you want to book a stay in this room, you better get your reservation in early. It books years in advance!
After my brief stay at this iconic hotel, I will definitely return for a repeat visit. I would love to explore the city center more throughly and to take advantage of the hiking trails around the area. I am not brave enough to reserve room 218, but I have to say my stay at the hotel was very pleasant. My next visit will be perfect if I have a hot beverage in front of the huge fireplace in the lobby or outside on the patio watching a sunset. Until next time, and stay eerie, Crescent Hotel!