Looking for a great weekend escape? Head to Hot Springs with the one you love and hide away inside the 1884 Tinkerbelle's Wildwood, a gorgeous pink Victorian home to one of Hot Springs' best known bed and breakfasts.
You don’t hear a lot about ladies of the house having a hand in woodcarving, but many of the delicate details inside this
towering home on Central Avenue were carved by Sarah Elizabeth Van Patten Ellsworth herself. The bride of Prosper Harvey Ellsworth moved from Washington, DC to the hometown of her new husband and set about organizing a home worthy of their stature. Sarah Ellsworth had her brother modify plans for Wildwood from a magazine, incorporating a host of windows by creating unusually shaped rooms that would let the light in. A different wood was used in each of the downstairs rooms, hewn and rested for three years before being worked by employees of the Pullman corporation and by Mrs. Ellsworth herself.
The Tinkerbelle part of the name comes from current owner Jeannie “Tink” Walker, who along with her husband Robert Wayne “The Colonel”
Walker has managed to restore the house to its 19th Century glory. Hosts David and Rebecca welcome each guest and chaperone a marvelous four course breakfast each morning. That’s right – a four course breakfast that includes savories, fruit,
sweets, tea and juice. On my stay, one morning’s breakfast included hot tea and orange juice, iced poppy seed bread, a stuffed savory egg and cheese croissant with fresh fruit and a chocolate muffin sundae, while the second morning’s breakfast consisted of cherry-grape cocktail and coffee, strawberry scones, fresh fruit with whipped
cream, baked eggs, biscuits and blackberry hot cakes. Each place setting is perfectly mis-matched, almost whimsically decorated china, and every effort is made to accommodate dietary needs.
Rooms are located on the second floor of the home and are decorated lushly in period antiques.
The Rose Room, a popular room for wedding portraits, is decorated in French Bombay and has a fireplace. The Barrett Browning room, named for the poet, is decorated in cream and purple, while the King David Room is full of antiques and has a clawfoot tub within. These were the original three bedrooms for the family. The Blue Parlor room is the former second floor parlor, and has its own porch with swing.
And then there’s the Rudyard Kipling suite. Popular with honeymooners, the former butler’s quarters for the house (located two steps below the second floor) is decorated in lush animal prints. It includes a large black two person hot tub and its own private outdoor entrance.
Though one of the bedroom’s windows faces Park Avenue, there’s little to no street noise within. The comfortable bed and soft surroundings, along with a flat screen television and DVD player, make curling up in this room and retreating for the weekend very, very tempting. The Butler’s Pantry downstairs always has soda and water, coffee and tea and snacks for those staying in the home. You really can spend all weekend here.
For this particular weekend, I chose a package where visits to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower and a ride on the Belle of Hot Springs were included. David and Rebecca can plan an itinerary in advance or make arrangements to visit any local attraction.
The one thing you must make time for, though, is the house tour. It includes not only the formal living quarters but a trip to the third floor to see the former servant’s quarters. Fans of Downton Abbey may be surprised to learn that the help lived in the attic here – and in sets of servant’s quarters elsewhere on the property, which have today been modified into rentable suites.
1884 Tinkerbelle’s Wildwood is half a mile north of Bathhouse Row and within easy walking distance of Central Park Fusion. A two-night minimum is required on weekends, but single nights may sometimes be secured during the week or at the last minute. Call for details.
1884 Tinkerbelle’s Wildwood
808 Park Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71901
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