Looks Like the End

Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
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Flag of United States  , Arkansas
Saturday, October 27, 2012

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 It was dark. We drove from Batesville to Eureka Springs and, at only 7 P.M., it had been dark for a while. That's winter for ya! Eureka Springs is an authentic 19th century Victorian resort, nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and encircled by two great lakes and two scenic rivers.

After checking in the motel, the nephew, Kyle, and I headed for an evening live show. Do you like your show plain or with P. Nutt? The country/comedy show was on. 

 The Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down is a concert style performance that has been featured on "Wake Up With Whoopi", voted "Eureka Springs Business of the Year" and spotlighted in Harley Davidson's "Hog Tales" Magazine. We enjoyed this last show of the season before heading out to eat (Kyle is a teenager) and then to the motel to unpack. I had picked Kyle up after school and we drove straight to Eureka Springs, determined to make this a full weekend.

We were up early Saturday morning and, after breakfast (Kyle is a teenager), we headed for The Passion Play Park, where we would spend the entire day. Our motel was right at the entrance to the park, so we didn't have a long drive at all.
 
Our first stop was The Bible Museum. Somehow they packed over 6,000 Bibles (in 625 languages and dialects) into a relatively small exhibit space, a minor miracle that is nevertheless impressive. The museum includes the first complete Bible translated into English. We watched an informative flim on the history of the Bible, which was very interesting.

We left the park to go eat, (Kyle is a teenager).

Back to the Passion Play Theme Park, we decided to go see the Christ of the Ozarks statue.

Built in 1966, the statue is 7 stories tall and can be seen from the historic downtown area of Eureka Springs.  It stands atop Magnetic Mountain, facing west, "blessing" the town of Eureka Springs below, a gesture of thanks from Gerald L.K. Smith, the man who had searched the country looking for a town that would allow its construction.

The Christ of the Ozarks is the third-tallest Jesus in the world.  The two taller ones are in South America. Already perched at an altitude of 1,500 feet, it stands 67 feet tall. According to rumor, or legend, it originally had feet, but they had to be removed to lower the statue to its current height -- otherwise Jesus by law would have had a red warning beacon bolted to his head. The statue was the first attraction built for the Great Passion Play Theme Park.
 
Standing as a symbol for freedom from tyranny, a 10-foot section of the Berlin Wall is displayed near Christ of the Ozarks on the grounds of The New Great Passion Play. Psalm 23 was etched into the stone by East Berliners while imprisoned under Communism and is still visible today.After taking some pictures we headed to the next event we wanted to see, The Living Bible Tour.

 The Living Bible Tour is an interactive tour, complete with a full-scale replica of Moses’ Tabernacle in the Wilderness. The characters were in biblical period dress and told their stories from the first person point of view. The stories were as told in the Bible and very well done. While on the tour the characters we encountered were, The Shepherd, telling the facts of herding sheep. The Woman at the Well, tell of her incounter with Jesus of Nazareth. The Passover House, where the death angel passed over. The High Priest at the Tabernacle, Ruth, Peter, Moses, Mary-Mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, each playing their roles very well.  We enjoyed lots of Bible history and enjoyed the couple of hours it lasted.

Following the Living Bible Tour, we went to the "Top of the Mountain" dinner theater, (Kyle is a teenager). 

It was gospel and patriotic music with a comedy act included. Good food (Kyle is a teenager), good music and good laughs. It was a very enjoyable time that got us ready for the next stop of seeing "The Parables of the Potter" and "David the Shepherd". Both were  very inspiring.

Finally, it was time for “The Great Passion Play”. It has been produced since 1968. In 45 seasons, the Great Passion Play has become “America’s #1 Attended Outdoor Drama” with a total of more than 7 million people in attendance.“ The end of October night was cold and we rented blankets for $1 to wrap up in, in the outdoor theater, watching this 2 hour long play.

This just in from the local news: Dec 4, 2012
 EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. -- A long time attraction in Eureka Springs, Arkansas has closed the curtain for the last time.
The Great Passion Play is closed and will not have a 2013 season.
Cornerstone Bank of Eureka Springs is in the process of taking over all of the play's assets. 
Charlie Cross, president and CEO  of Cornerstone Bank, tells KOLR10 News that process could take a few weeks.
The livestock from the show have been sold to new homes.
Cross says the bank hopes to find a buyer to commit to restoring the Passion Play to its iconic status in the Ozarks.
The Carroll County News reports the play "experienced a marked drop in attendance during the past four years, leading to an appeal two months ago for donations to keep it going."
The Great Passion Play has been producing live shows in Eureka Springs since 1968.

Note: A Save the Passion Play charity has been launched to raise money to save the Play. The deadline has arrived and the last word is there is just a few thousand dollars still needed. So, maybe the play will continue. At this point, it's unclear.

If this is the end of the Passion Play Park, I am extremely glad Kyle and I saw the very last performance.

This was a long day, finishing up around 10 P.M. 

We went to McDonald's (Kyle is a teenager) then, back to the motel feeling excited about what we had seen and done on this Saturday.

Sunday morning we go to breakfast, (Kyle is a teenager). Then, onward for our days' adventure.

Amazing!
You walk down a wooded trail, move around a curve and there stands a majestic glass chapel- so beautiful- so close to God. Nestled in a woodland setting, Thorncrown Chapel rises forty-eight feet into the Ozark sky. This magnificent wooden structure contains 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass. It sits atop over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone. The chapel's simple design and majestic beauty combine to make it what critics have called "one of the finest religious spaces of modern times." Welcome to Thorncrown Chapel.

Sunday started out cold but we had lots to do. We made a stop at this awesome chapel.

 Thorncrown was the dream of retired school teacher, Jim Reed. In 1978 Jim enlisted the help of renowned architect E. Fay Jones to design a place of worship for the visitors to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The result was a forty-eight foot tall wooden structure with 425 windows.

 Since the chapel opened in 1980, over six million people have visited this woodland sanctuary. It has won numerous architectural awards such as the American Institute of Architecture's Design of the Year Award for 1981 and the American Institute of Architecture's Design of the Decade Award for the 1980's. Recently, members of the American Institute of Architects placed Thorncrown Chapel fourth on its list of the top buildings of the twentieth century.

We went inside the Chapel and sat in silence for a while. It was very impressive and so beautiful. Attending a service here must be a moving experience.

After leaving the chapel, we enjoyed some snacks we had in the car, (Kyle is a teen-ager).
 
Have you heard about the Michael & Theadora, the "Ghost in the Morgue", the "Girl in the Mist", or the Lady in the Victorian lingerie in room 3500? Take the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour to hear all of these tales....in "America´s Most Haunted Hotel"!

We were at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs.  If you wanted to take the ghost tour you could hear of legendary haunts and ongoing investigations being conducted by the trained staff. We would not be around for the ghost tour, but we decided to tour the hotel on our own. We went through the interior and explored the grounds out back of the hotel as well.The long history of the hotel is represented through the ghosts that still inhabit it's halls and walls.We were glad we didn't miss this interesting place. We went downstairs and upstairs. Then we went out back and looked at the views from there. We went up the three flights of outdoor stairs for another view.

Kyle eats some more snacks we have in the car. (Kyle is a teenager).

On our way to the horse stables, we passed the Razorback Tower and decided we would have to stop on the way back and climb this thing.

We drove out of town to find the stables and had a fun ride through the woods for a while. Then, back to the tower.

 This 100' tower gives a commanding view of the area surrounding Eureka Springs. We bundled against the cold and wind and headed up the stairs. The climb was fun and we got some good exercise in addition to the great view.

After a little souvenier shopping, it was time to head back to Batesville. A busy but fun weekend had to come to an end. Some more very nice memories stored away for Kyle and myself. I think this is what life is really about. 
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