Arkansas Sports fans in Little Rock Rejoice!

March 20th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

razorback baseballEvery Arkansan has their favorite Arkansas sports team…it might be the Hogs, or the Red Wolves, or the Trojans.  It might even be the Naturals or the Travelers.  But I think we can agree that the most celebrated team in Arkansas, with the most fans, the most merchandise and the most related culture in the state.  So it is exciting when the Razorbacks come out of Northwest Arkansas and play in Little Rock, which they will be doing on Tuesday, March 24.

“Playing in Central Arkansas is a fun way for our players to see the passionate Razorback fans in a different part of the state,” said Razorbacks Head Coach Dave Van Horn. “The crowd is always great, and playing Memphis at Dickey-Stephens Park should provide a fantastic atmosphere.”
Single game ticket sales will go on sale at on February 16, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. Phone orders will not be available. General admission tickets including all berms, bleachers and standing room are $12, reserved seats sell for $15 and box seats are $18. Fans that purchase tickets for berms and standing room are allowed to bring blankets and folding chairs to the game.
Tickets for the Arkansas Razorbacks game can be reserved before February 16 by purchasing an Arkansas Travelers full-season or mini-plan season ticket package.  To inquire about Travelers season tickets please call the Travelers box office at 501-664-7559.

So would you like to plan a Hog-filled weekend in Little Rock?  The Empress would love to be part of the fun and promise to feed you some hog (bacon or sausage) for breakfast while you are here.  You can also enjoy some barbeque at Whole-Hog Cafe and a visit to the U.S.S. Razorback while in town!

Quapaw Quarter Association’s Spring Tour Wins Award

March 13th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

qqaThe Quapaw Quarter Association includes historic homes from across central Arkansas, including the Empress of Little Rock.  The Association’s annual Spring Pilgrimage Tour of Homes took home the prestigious “Grand Old Classic Special Event” award at this year’s Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

The annual Henry Awards Banquet took place on Tuesday evening, March 10, concluding the 41st annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The conference was March 8-10 in Texarkana. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.
Governor Asa Hutchinson presided at the banquet and addressed more than 550 attendees about tourism issues in Arkansas. The speech was followed by the annual Henry Awards. Richard W. Davies, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, served as master of ceremonies and Miss Arkansas 2014 Ashton Campbell assisted in the presentation of the awards.

The Empress is proud to be a part of the Quapaw Quarter Association’s Spring Tour, and we are often featured as one of the tour homes. In support of the wonderful organization and of the amazing historic district that we are proud to be a part of, we offer a package aligned with the event every May that includes our Mother’s Day Grand High Tea.


A Romantic Valentine’s Day at the Empress

March 2nd, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

1484489_10153858213858475_6653272471218734164_nRomantic Valentine’s Day was a recent theme at The Empress of Little Rock Bed and Breakfast.  Guests enjoyed an elegant Valentine meal at Best Impressions, one of the finest restaurants in downtown Little Rock on the romantic holiday.  They were given the choice of one appetizer, one entree and one dessert from a unique three-course American Fusion Cuisine menu designed especially for this most romantic of holidays.  After their meal, the couple was invited to join the tango lessons being taught in the romantic setting that the Arkansas Arts Center presents and then returned to suites at the Empress for a relaxing soak in the jacuzzi or snuggle in front of their own personal fireplace.

Upon awakening the next morning, guests were given the choice of a group breakfast in our elegant dining room or a romantic private breakfast served in their suite.  Both choices were set with china, crystal and candlelight and all guests were served a gourmet 2-course bre10978660_10153858214098475_2412850394249782689_nakfast by our bow-tied butler and aproned maids.

The Rep presents Mary Poppins

February 19th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

THEREP_MARYPOPPINS (no credits)-page-001What’s playing next at the Rep?  Mary Poppins!

With music and lyrics by the Academy Award-winning Sherman Brothers (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, Charlotte’s Web, The Aristocats), with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure) and a book by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey), Disney’s stage musical Mary Poppins is based on the similarly titled series of children’s books by P. L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film.
Including a score filled with timeless classics such as “Feed the Birds,” “Jolly Holiday,” “Step in Time,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and the Academy Award-winning “Chim-Chim Cher-ee,” the Broadway production opened in November 2006 and received nominations for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, six Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical and nine Olivier Award nominations.
The Banks family live in a big house in London on Cherry Lane, and things are not going well. The children, Jane and Michael, are out of control and in need of a new nanny. While the children have their own ideas about what sort of caretaker they should have, their parents—and in particular Mr. Banks—prefer someone strict for the job.
When a mysterious young woman named Mary Poppins appears on their doorstep, the family finds that she’s the answer to all their prayers. While Mary Poppins takes the children on many fantastic adventures, Jane and Michael aren’t the only ones she changes.

Sound exciting?  It does to us as well!  A stay at the Empress of Little Rock will get you in just the right frame of mind to enjoy this tale about a nanny in Victorian times.  We invite you to book you favorite suite and sit in front of the fire, perhaps enjoying a cup of tea.  You can even rent the Disney classic film and enjoy it in your room!

Fun at the Little Rock Marathon

February 12th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair




Ready for the marathon but not sure what to do afterwards?  Check out Gretchen Hall, CEO of Little Rock’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau giving marathon runners pointers on where to find fun in the Rock!


This year we celebrate the 13th Anniversary of the Little Rock Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. The world’s largest finisher’s medal is a fun draw for runners from all over the country. The race welcomes walkers, but does enforce an 8-hour time limit. Tons of volunteers with loads of southern hospitality line the streets for all 26 miles. This is truly a race with personality! The Little Rock Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K are a running and walking tour through the scenic streets of Arkansas’ capital city and offers a variety of events to participants.

We hope to see you at the Marathon and at The Empress on March 1.  The Empress provides a healthy bag breakfast for runners who need to be up early and a full breakfast for friends and family who can spend a bit more time in bed.

Mardi Gras in the SoMa District

February 12th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

10155251_10153624388593135_11807581590026035_nMardi Gras in Little Rock?  Valentine’s Day isn’t the only holiday in February, although it is generally a bit quieter than one of the others it shares this short month with: Mardi Gras. This year, South Main is pulling out all the stops to change that.

SoMa will host the Sweetheart Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday, Feb. 14, at noon on Main St. from 12th to 24th. The parade includes floats, riders, walkers and more, as well as grand marshals Craig O’Neill and Jane Hankins.

But that’s just the beginning. Following the parade, The Root Café’s beard growing contest (yep) will take place in the Bernice Garden, joined by Stone’s Throw Brewing, Little Rock Central High Jazz Band, food trucks and tarot readings by Summer Wind.

There will also be a free exhibit of handmade Kwendeche masks, who will then give a presentation at 1:30 p.m., at the Esse Purse Museum. Midtown Billiards is hosting a New Orleans Umbrella Contest, and Moxy Modern Mercantile will have all sorts of Mardi Gras goodies.

It’s not a party without food, but you don’t have to tell SoMa that. Community Bakery will have king cake, there’s a specialty flavor of Loblolly ice cream, South on Main is preparing a Mardi Gras/Valentine’s brunch and, of course, there will be plenty of étouffée.

Stay Friday night at the Empress of Little Rock and you will have no problem making it to the parade by noon.  We hope to see you this romantic and exciting weekend!

Brew Bus Connects Brewery

February 11th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

b7c55d998090286c2c8ce5c9f5713d7aThe “Brew Bus” is a new transportation service in Little Rock that seeks to connect the growing craft brewery scene in the city. It is the idea of Little Rock transplant Donavan Dossett, who moved to Arkansas from Denver in December and saw the need for a transportation system that he says are plentiful in Colorado.

He bought a bus with 191,000 miles on it a month ago, giving it a new engine and stereo, turning it into a 15-person party van to transport people between breweries.

“The microbreweries are not just little mom and pop things,” Dossett said. “These are organizations and industries that are up and coming.”

The bus will begin running on Saturday February 14, running in 30 minute loops so people can come and go to each brewery as they please. It will start at Diamond Bear Brewery in north Little Rock and then travel to Vino’s, Stone’s Throw, Blue Canoe, Lost Forty, Rock Town Distillery, and Flying Saucer before returning to Diamond Bear.

“We supply the transportation and have fun,” he added.

Tickets for the bus cost $20 a piece and runs between 4 and 8 p.m.

For more information on the van and how to schedule rides visit Dossett’s website here.

Valentine’s Day and a Play

February 6th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

So yValentine's Day showing of Camelotou’ve booked your romantic Valentine’s Day Weekend room at the Empress and you are wondering…what now? One amazing option is the Celebrity Attraction‘s version of Camelot playing all weekend at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

Experience CAMELOT’S “one brief shining moment” as Lerner and Loewe envisioned it in one of theatre’s most legendary musicals. Recount the time-honored legend of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table in an enchanting fable of chivalry, majesty, and brotherhood in this four-time Tony Award® winning show. Intimate and fresh, never has this story of passion, pageantry and betrayal been more captivating. The celebrated score includes the classics “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” and the title song, “Camelot.”

Enjoy the show about medieval chivalry and then return to the Empress for Victorian Romance with modern conveniences—the best of all time three time periods for Valentine’s Day!  If you haven’t booked your room yet, there are still a few left for single nights over the weekend.  Call us now at 501-374-7966 or check out our accommodations page.

Downton Abbey Weddings at Bridal Show

January 27th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

bridal showThere’s the romantic high of the proposal, the shiny new accessory for the left hand, the thrill of sharing the news with friends and families…but after that first, all-important question there are about 500,000 others that follow in short order.Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Bridal Show offers help and some fun to engaged couples.  It was a don’t want event with more than 200 vendor booths ready to help brides plan their wedding. In addition there were contests, DIY workshops, giveaways, fashion shows, entertainment and live music.  A man cave kept the lucky newly engaged  men out of trouble while their future brides checked out venues, bakeries, photographers, caterers, florists and more.

The Empress made an impressive appearance at the Bridal Show on January 18, showing brides what a Downton Abbey wedding looks like in Little Rock.  The highlight of the booth was the Victorian-Lace wedding gown that graces our 2nd floor hallway, but brides also fell in love with the elaborate rugs, the lace tablecloths, the crystal candelabra and the stunning pictures.  We met so many beautiful brides and we hope to see many of them at The Empress planning their dream wedding day Downton Abbey style!

New Years Eve, Downton Abbey Style

January 6th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

winedinnertableNew Years Eve, Downton Abbey style,  proved an elegant and vintage end to 2014. Guests at the Wine Dinner Dance were met in the entry parlor by an appropriately aproned maid with flutes of wine.    Gifts of handmade Victorian paper and ribbon medallions announced them as honored guests.  Hosts, Bob and Sharon, owners of the Empress, escorted the elegantly clad guests to the formal dining room to feast on a four-course gourmet meal featuring: Pumpkin and Fig Autumn Soup with a Pumpkin-Nutmeg Creme Fraiche, Victorian Rosewater Sorbet, Beef Wellington Duxelles accompanied by Gruyere Sausage Stuffed Onions, Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad with toasted Almand Croutons; Pear-Parsnip Velvete’ with Cognac, and a dessert finale of Apple Butter Pie and fresh creme.  Each course was paired with a unique wine chosen by the house sommelier to compliment the distinct flavor of each course. winedinnerbobsharon

During dinner, lively conversation sprang up among guests representing Britian, Israel, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and various cities around Arkansas.  After dinner, up came the rugs in the main parlor for dancing and live musical entertainment began, provided by Jeff Long and Mary Kai CLark, well known local entertainers.  Flames danced in the fireplaces, candles and oil lamps throughout the parlors of the mansion, as well guests.  At the witching hour of midnight, guests toasted the New Year in with a glass of champagne to the strains of Auld Ang Syne.

It was a memorable evening and we are glad to be able, once again, to host so many wonderful guests for this New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance, “Downton Abbey style”!  We hope you’ll join us next year.  Sign up for our newsletter to catch all the wonderful events throughout the year.