The Best Things to do in Little Rock for Valentines Day

January 23rd, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Valentines Day is on Friday this year, Monday is Presidents Day, so most of us actually have a three day weekend to really enjoy a getaway for Valentines.  What a great time to do something really special with your Sweetheart and Little Rock Victorian Valentine with Scarlet Ribbons at The Empress of Little Rockis just the place to come!   Many of the Great restaurants in town will be offering special menus and dinners just to make you look like a hero Or heroine.  (Gals can do this also, Guys!).  The Empress of Little Rock even has a gourmet romantic wine dinner for guests that evening!  Don’t  forget to make reservations early because EVERYTHING will be booked early.

There will be some fun things going on in the area also:  Wildwood Park for the Preforming Arts offers the “Lantern Festival”, a uniquely magical evening designed to delight all.  “Lanterns” celebrates the first full moon of the lunar year with a profusion of  lantern light, gourmet treats, entertainment and warm beverages. Lighted walking paths and fire pits along the lake lead visitors into  magical woodland vistas from different eras, cultures, and geographical locations from Venice to Germany to the Caribbean! Fabulous!!

Murray’s Dinner Theatre also has a great new presentation,”Weekend Comedy”, a fun romp for two couples who accidentally overbook the same cabin in the woods. The fun begins when two very different generations try to make the details work and “meet” in the middle!  A great dinner goes with  the fun, live,  on stage performance.

How about a romantic the carriage ride in that full moonlight. Can’t get much more romantic than that!  Book right thru the Empress and as a guest, they’ll pick you up right at the front door and provide a one hour tour in the moonlight.  Snuggle up under our great fur throw and have some of our Brandied hot Cocoa! These are just some of the “romantic” things going in Little Rock.  Enjoy your respite!!

A Downton Abbey New Year’s Eve

December 12th, 2013 by Sharon Welch-Blair

New Year's Eve Downton Abbey Style

New Year's Eve Downton Abbey Style

Downton Abbey at The Empress

A New Years Eve Downton Abbey dinner party is our biggest special event of the year.  An elegant gourmet meal paired
with hand selected wines by our house sommelier gives everyone who loves an elegant intimate evening a chance to wear their black ties and gowns and then
dance the night away to live musicians and then toast the new year at midnight, just as they did a hundred years ago.  The event is known as the most sought
after in Little Rock and is limited to 20 couples, so make your reservations now at http://theempress.com/packages/offers/2010-new-years-eve-package/.
Or call us now for all the added details for a special romantic getaway  package which includes the dinner, two – four nights in suite of your choice,
gourmet candlelight breakfasts and special New Years Brunch on New Year’s Day.   Mention you saw our blog and get a complimentary bottle of champagne in a silver server with your getaway package (minimum two night stay, please). 

A Magical Victorian Christmas at The Empress of Little Rock Arkansas

Empress Dining Room just before New Year’s Eve preparations

 

Excitedly Anticipating The Holiday Season!!

November 7th, 2013 by Lisa

As the seasons are changing we at the Empress are excitedly anticipating the Holiday Season.  Our Christmas decorations will go up right after Thanksgiving with decorated trees in every room and our grand rotating Victorian Tree in the parlor.  Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church puts on a Christmas Tour of Homes and the Empress is honored to be included in this years itinerary.  So, mark your calendars early as we look forward to see you and sharing the Spirit of Christmas!

The fun doesn’t end at Christmas, it’s never too early to make your New Years Eve Reservations. Comhornibrook christmas treee toast the New Year with us at our annual New Years Downton Abbey Wine, Dinner & Dance. We will have live music to dance to in the Victorian Fashion, a four-course gourmet meal with wine pairings, and a toast to aud lang syne as the clock strikes twelve.  A quick stroll up the stairs as the party winds down will take you to one of our incredibility romantic suites. Seating is limited at this exclusive “Downton Abbey” style event, so make your plans early to reserve yours!.Reflections of Christmas

barber full table edited

South Main Cornbread Festival, a Taste of the South

October 30th, 2013 by Lisa

southern-cornbread-c

Only 5 blocks from the Empress is Main Street’s own Bernice Gardens, home of the Annual Arkansas Cornbread Festival.  The event will draw people throughout the state to the South Main neighborhood of Little Rock.  Focusing on the South’s  history and  one of it’s favorite dishes (Cornbread!),  the festival brings local restaurants and amateur chefs to the table to cook up their favorite cornbread recipe to win cash, prizes and Cornbread Glory!  Join the Empress along with party goers from all over  Arkansas as we enjoy delicious cornbread, local music, and handmade craft vendors the first Saturday of every November.
Follow the Cornbread Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/arkcornbread13/

https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasCornbreadFestival

 

https://twitter.com/arkCornbread13

 

Contact Information

Cindy Hedges
501-663-4181

cindyhedges@me.com

Pop Up In The Rock

October 15th, 2013 by Lisa

Last year, the Pop Up Project Street took over South Main in Little Rock.  For one weekend, Main Street was transformed with bike lanes, outdoor areas, farmers markets and food trucks.  Expect more of the same this year at 7th and Ringo on October 26th. 

Pop Up in the Rock is an urban demonstration of what is possible on a given street and within the city.  There will be demos of transportation, including walking, cycling, public transit and automobiles.  Also included are activities for families.
 
Below is a map of some of what you can expect on the big day:
 
popupintherock

Halloween at Moss Mountain Farm!!!

October 7th, 2013 by Lisa

moss mountain halloween

A spectacular event is planned for October 26th at Moss Mountain Farm!  Celebrate Halloween in a totally unique way, with a bonfire, music to dance the night away and a Halloween feast provided by Scott McGehee, the genius behind ZaZa’s, Big Orange and Local Lime!  The event benefits the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Interested in the Menu?  I sure was!

Hors D’oeuvres: Goat Cheese with Fig and Peach Jam, Thyme and Toasted Hazelnuts.  House Made Country Pork Terrine with Dijon, Cornichons and Pickled Onion.  Caponata with Eggplant, Peppers, Tomato, Currants, Pine Nuts and Green Olive.

Dinner: Turkey and Pumpkin Chile with Fried Sage and Sour Cream (vegetarian version will be available).  Ruby’s Skillet Cornbread with Fresh Corn and Green Chilies.

Sweets: Arkansas Black Apple Caramel Apples with Spiced Pecans.  Ginger Cake Squares with Salted Butterscotch and Crème Fraiche.  S’mores Bars with Bruleed Fresh Made Marshmallow Cream.

So are you ready to sign up?  Tickets are $150 per person and space is limited.  Call 501-519-5793 to book!

Need a place to stay?  The Empress would love to have you!  Call us at 501-374-7966 for a room!  We are decked out in creepy decorations and ready to celebrate!

TSO Comes Back to Little Rock!!!

September 16th, 2013 by Lisa

trans siberian orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) is an American progressive rock band founded in 1993 by producer, composer, and lyricist Paul O’Neill, who brought together Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli  (both members of Savatage) and keyboardist and co-producer Robert Kinkel to form the core of the creative team. The band gained in popularity when they began touring in 1999 after completing their third rock opera, “Beethoven’s Last Night.” By 2007, The Washington Post referred to them as, “a touring juggernaut” and describing their music as, “Pink Floyd, meets, The Who, meets Yes.”  TSO has sold more than 9 million concert tickets and over 8 million albums. The band’s musical style incorporates classical, orchestral, symphonic, and progressive elements into hard rock and heavy metal. The band has released a series of rock operas: Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven’s Last Night, The Lost Christmas Eve (the final installment of their Christmas trilogy), and their two-disc Night Castle. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is also known for their extensive charity work and elaborate concerts, which include a string section, a light show, lasers,”enough pyro to be seen from the international space station”, moving trusses, video screens, and effects synchronized to music.

Both Billboard Magazine and Pollstar have ranked them as one of the top ten ticket-selling bands in the first decade of the new millennium These numbers are even more impressive when you factor in that TSO is the first major rock band to go straight to theaters and arenas, never playing a club, never having an opening act and never being an opening act.

See this amazing show in Little Rock on Friday, December 20, 2013!  This show sells out nearly every year here in the Rock, so get your tickets now!  Bring your friends or your significant other and enjoy a weekend at The Empress topped off by the TSO playing The Lost Christmas Eve!!!

Cooking Classes at Eggshells

August 27th, 2013 by Lisa

diver scallops at eggshellsLooking for something unique and interesting to do in Little Rock?  How about a cooking class at Eggshells Kitchen Company?  The very best local chefs come into Eggshells to teach you how to make a signature dish of theirs.  Recent classes included a fresh pasta class with Scott McGehee, restaurateur of Zaza, Big Orange, and Local Lime and a chicken and dumplings class from Matt Bell of the fabulous new South on Main.

The next class available is on September 9th at 6pm and sounds like a deliciously-fun good time! John Masching of 1620 Savoy will be teaching participants how to make his mouth-watering diver scallops with Sofrito, Jalapeno, Oyster Mushroom, Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce and Bacon Lardons.  Sounds just divine, right?

You will be offered a glass of wine with this class and all the free water you can drink.  You are also welcome to bring any beverage you wish to enjoy during your lesson and the subsequent eating frenzy.

You can sign up for the class at Eggshell’s Website and the cost is $50 per person. Why not combine a great nights getaway with your favorite guestroom at The Empress?  Call us for all the room details and other great ideas to make this a really special getaway!  501-374-7966.

 

Little Rock “Staycation” Anniversary, Part 2

August 6th, 2013 by Lisa

I think we left off with me sitting on Pinnacle, crying like a 3 year old…

 

green corner store bench

Fun bench outside of The Green Corner Store

green corner store ice cream

Salted Caramel Ice Cream at The Green Corner Store

So to continue my little kid ways, I demanded…ICE CREAM!  And where better to get ice cream than the Green Corner Store and loblolly creamery.  My husband had some sort of delicious double scoop concoction of Aztec Chocolate and Toasted Coconut and I hit the jackpot with Salted Caramel Ice Cream with bits of waffle cone, salted almonds and swirls of caramel on top.

 

 

 

Then the husband and I drove across town to Ava Bella Day Spa for a relaxing couples massage.  We enjoyed the candlelight, the music and of course, the massages!  We were now feeling ready to climb a mountain (figuratively speaking as we had already failed in that endeavor) and also were REALLY hungry.  So we drove out to The Promenade on Chenal to a place I had been dying to try…Local Lime.  We had a scrumptious variety of dippables.  We started with the 3 salsa sampler (we had tres chilis, tomatillo and mango) and then added the creamy dreamy cheese dip and the made to order guacamole.  All of this with crisp fresh chips.  I was in Mexican food heaven.

 

Energized and ready to get physical again (if for no other reason than to prove my fitness after the epic fail earlier in the day, we decided to head out to the River Trail and do some biking.  Having left our bicycles at home, we went to the RiverMarket and Bobby’s Bike Hike.  We rented two hybrid bikes (maps were included in the package) and headed out on the 15 mile loop that is the RiverTrail.  The scenery was beautiful, especially on the North Little Rock side of the trail and we enjoyed the beautiful setting sun off of the Big Dam Bridge. We went back to the room and showered (in the amazing aromatherapy, hydromassage shower) and then went to dinner.  I wanted dinner in the Hillcrest area, so we decided to go to Acadia.  So glad we did.  Travis loved his oven roasted duck breast and I wanted to marry my buttermilk fried quail.  Yes, it was that good.  The spicy cabbage slaw on the side also made me want to do a happy dance. After all of this fun and excitement, we regretted having to pack our bags on Sunday morning and leave Little Rock behind.

The Deck at Acadia

The Deck at Acadia

local lime bar

The bar at Local Lime

river trail ride

Arkansas RiverTrail

big dam bridge sunset

Big Dam Bridge Sunset

A Little Rock “Staycation” Anniversary Part 1

July 31st, 2013 by Lisa

This past weekend was my 3 year anniversary (yay us!) and I had big “go out of town” plans.  Unfortunately, these coincided with vacation plans of Bob and Sharon (the Empress and her consort).  So I would be spending my vacation at The Empress.  After a brief moment of disappointment, I realized that this was a blessing in disguise.  There was no way I was ever going to find a hotel or B&B nicer than The Empress (in my humble opinion), so I set out to plan an amazing “staycation” anniversary right here in Little Rock.

 

rm-hemmingway

 

 

To start the weekend off with a bang, we stayed in The Hemingway Suite, which I personally believe is the best room in town.  Check out this luxurious room:

 

 

 

 

lulav table

 

 

 

Thanks to a restaurant.com suggestion, we had dinner at Lulav Italian Kitchen.  I must add that this restaurant was also recommended by guests from the week before who said that I absolutely must try to Portobello Mushroom appetizer.  And I did.  And it was every bit as delicious as they claimed.  I had a filet mignon that was heavenly and my husband had Shrimp and Lobster Newberg…I was tempted to lick his plate!  Check out their menu.

 

 

 

root cafe outsideroot cafe painting wall

 

 

After a night in a super soft feather bed (and a whirl in the Jacuzzi tub) we were ready for a busy day.  We got up early and had breakfast at The Root Café.  Only blocks from the Empress on Main Street, this local favorite is a must-do for vacationers.  My eggs banh mi were amazing as was Travis’s omelet and it was all filling, but not so heavy that we couldn’t participate in our next activity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pinnacle mountain sunset

 

Hiking up Pinnacle Mountain.  I was so excited about this as it is always one of my favorite activities.  Unfortunately this is not one of the times where everything went smoothly.  I somehow lost the path and decided to blaze the mountain with no trail.  Horrible idea.  30 minutes later I was sitting on a rock whining about the pain.  Those trails are marked for a reason people!  Follow them!

 

 

Check out our next blog for lunch, dinner, massage and ICE CREAM!  And the rivertrail!!!