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New Year’s Eve in Little Rock

December 22nd, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

New Year’s Eve in Little Rock means our “Downton Abbey” Wine Dinner Dance hosted by Sharon Welch-Blair and Bob Blair. Book your reservations now for this annual New Year’s Eve  “Victorian Affair”.  Known asone of the top New Years Eve events in Central Arkansas area, The Empress of Little Rock will host an evening of food, wine, dancing, entertainment, excitement and the beginning of the New Year in a Downton Abbey experience .  Our own wine sommelier has hand chosen the “fruit of the vine” for each elegant course.  Our chef, the “Victorian”  Martha Stewart has watched over the preparation of each of the four courses so it is served at the height of perfection.

New Year's Eve Downton Abbey Style

Downton Abbey at The Empress

Step back to New Year’s Eve,  December 31st, 1889, the Hornibrook family’s first new year in their magnificent mansion.  The butler ushers in the specially invited guests arriving in their flowing gowns and tails. The elegant food is all prepared. The Victorian mementos are elaborate and arranged, waiting for you, their invited guest.  Music from the 1870’s square Steinway wafts throughout the house. The laughter, magic and anticipation are mounting with each minute that draws closer to midnight.  Draw your loved one closer, the witching hour approaches.  It’s time for a champagne toast to “Auld Lang Syne” and a kiss to last the years…..
Join us December 31st for a magnificent wine dinner dance beginning at 8:00 p.m. followed by dancing in the parlors just like “the olden days”of Downton Abbey.  Receive custom made Victorian mementos.  Dine to the strains of the 1870’s Steinway piano and live musicians. Make a Champagne toast at midnight. 
  • Black Tie Event
  • Seating limited to Maximum of 40 guests
  • *$200.00 per couple with a night stay (minimum 2 nights for 2015 due to Friday holiday please), plus the price of your chosen room.
  • *$250.00 per couple without stay. *Limited Seating.
  • Book three nights during this extended New Year’s Eve holiday, and receive your fourth night FREE.
  • Call for great price for extra 5th night.

MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS EARLY FOR THIS EXCLUSIVE EVENT.       501-374-7966 for details!

Ride the Streetcar

December 8th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

 

Ever see those big yellow trolleys cruising the downtown area and wonder, “What are those?”  Three replica vintage streetcars operate on the 3.4-mile route linking some of the most vibrant destinations in the River Cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The streetcars operate on an overhead power supply and travel across the Main Street Bridge over the Arkansas River to connect the two cities. Passengers not only have great views of the river and the Little Rock skyline, but are quick to spot the U.S.S. Razorback , a World War II submarine now owned by the City of North Little Rock and anchored on the river’s north shore. METRO Streetcar operators provide information on historic sites, restaurants, museums and current community events from your vantage point on the heated and cooled streetcar.

Among the points of interest along the streetcar route are the 220,000-square-foot Statehouse Convention Center, the River Market, numerous loft apartments, hotels, two city halls, the historic Argenta neighborhood, the 18,000-seat Verizon Arena, the state-of-the-art Dickey Stephens Park, the Historic Arkansas Museum, Arkansas Museum of Discovery, the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System, two chambers of commerce, courthouses, the Robinson Auditorium concert hall, First Security Amphitheater, dozens of office buildings, fascinating shops and art galleries.

Holiday Tea…Bring on the Brie!

December 4th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Our Holiday Tea is almost upon us!!!

Join The Empress of Little Rock on Sunday, December 6th at 3:00 p.m for the first annual Holiday Christmas Grand High Tea and Tour of the Hornibrook Mansion. Start  your holiday season in the elegant “Quapaw Quarter” with a tour of the beautiful and elegant “Hornibrook Mansion” now known as The Empress of Little Rock Bed and Breakfast, in the Quapaw Quarter section of Downtown Little Rock.  There will be magical Victorian decorations depicting the 1890’s era of the Hornibrook Mansion, known regionally as “The Grande Dame of the Ozarks” for it’s  elaborate detailed Gothic Queen Anne Architecture.  After an elegant repast of American Grand High Tea, including many refined traditions  lost to us in our modern “technological” world, a detailed history  of the family that took such pleasure in building this amazing architectural triumph and a tour and discussion of 1890’s Christmas traditions will follow.  This is a time to enjoy customs and family values that made us who we are today.  Bring your Granddaughters, yours Mothers, your Grandmothers to experience the joy of an 1880’s Christmas to begin your holiday season.

To celebrate the success of the event, we would like to share on of our favorite tea sandwich recipes with you.  Bob and Sharon have been having tea around the world for years, and though they have had some amazing sandwiches, they still think nothing compares to this Empress original:

 

Using desired biscuit or cookie cutters, cut shapes from slices of

bread (whole grain, Italian or sourdough)*

Spread one side of each cutout with butter

Spread the unbuttered side of the break cutouts with fig preserves.

Top preserves with a favorite cheese – Brie, white cheddar,

crumbled blue or goat cheese

Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up

Grill with a panini press or in a skillet, turning once, until cheese

melts and bread is toasted to a golden brown.

Garish with a dollop of preserves and a sprinkle of minced green

onion.

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care

December 3rd, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there!  They are hung, they are hung, the stockings are hung.  The Empress is getting dressed in her Christmas best and we are so excited to see the tinsel, the garlands, the trees, the presents, and yes…the stockings! taking their place around the parlors.

Each room in the Empress is graced with its own tree and the mantles are all clad in greenery and hung with stockings.  Lights are blinking and Christmas music is playing.  It is indeed “the most wonderful time of the year”.

Schedule your getaway, your tour or your grand high tea now, while the house looks its absolute finest!

 

Reflections of Christmas

Christmas images at The Empress of Little Rock

Santa Brings the best gift of all to The Empress

All the Stockings were hung by the Chimneys of the Empress with care

Even the stockings take on Victorian Flair at The Empress of Little Rock

Christmas dining at The Empress captures the esssence of the season

Decking the tables,mantles with fruit, candles and scarlet ribbons at The Empress

Arkansas Civil Rights History

November 30th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Did you know that Arkansas is known nationwide for it’s importance in the history of civil rights?  You can now visit Little Rock and enjoy an

Arkansas Civil Rights History Tour

DOWNLOAD THE FREE MOBILE APP HERE

  • Central High School Desegregation Crisis 1957
  • Mosaic Templars of America – International Fraternal Organization
  • Vibrant Historic African American Business, Entertainment and Residential Neighborhoods
  • Historic Black Colleges, Public Schools and Churches
  • Native Americans, Jews, Japanese Americans, Latinos

Discover the vibrant and diverse communities in Little Rock and their quest for civil rights, from the early 1800s to the present. Visit 35 sites which help tell the story of African American life and the interaction with whites and other ethnic groups. View historic images of buildings and the people who lived, worked and entertained in these neighborhoods.

The tour takes you from Historic West Ninth Street through residential neighborhoods to Central High School and other schools, churches, cemeteries, parks, museums.

The tour begins at Broadway and West Ninth Street, but you may start at any location on the tour. Look for the numbered decals on the sidewalk that correspond with the sites on the app.

Download the free audio files to your computer to use in your MP3 player or burn to CD.
Direction for downloading:
Click link below
Choose desired folder
Select the desired .mp3 files and click downloadArkansas Civil Rights History Tour Audio Files

The project is funded in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council and Department of Arkansas Heritage.

The Little Mermaid at The Rep

November 25th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

TheLittleMermaid

Not far from the Empress of Little Rock in downtown Little Rock is the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  This world class theater features top-notch performances of some of the world’s greatest plays.  This month welcomes another amazing production of a family favorite.

From the creators of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Little Shop of Horrors, this enchanting musical features an infectious score that includes the popular songs “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl.”Adapted from the beloved fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson into one of Disney’s most popular animated films of all time, The Little Mermaid is now a lavish theatrical spectacle you won’t want to miss. Plunge into the colorful depths of an undersea wonderland as The Rep’s stage is transformed into an aquatic playground underscored by a funky Calypso beat.“A heart warming musical for the entire family,” said Bob Hupp. “From Hans Christian Anderson to Disney to The Rep, generations have fallen in love with the young mermaid who dreams of love and life on land. This musical has it all: a great story, lush designs and all the songs you sang with your kids. You’ll certainly want to make The Little Mermaid part of your world this holiday season.”

Fall in love with The Little Mermaid’s bubbly sense of wonder, romance and rollicking fun all over again.

Evening performances on Wednesday-Sunday are at 7 p.m. Matinees performances are at 2 p.m.
December 04, 2015 – January 03, 2016

Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade

November 23rd, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

HolidaysInLR_tst

 

 

 

 

 

Break out your festive attire, get out your calendars and get into the holiday spirit; the 27th-Annual Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade, sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau (LRCVB), will march through Little Rock on Saturday, December 5, 2015.

Serving as this year’s Grand Marshal is former NFL and Razorback running back, Peyton Hillis.

Beginning at Second and Broadway, the Holiday parade will start at 3:00 p.m. and travel south on Broadway, turn west onto Capitol Avenue and end at the State Capitol. The lighting and fireworks display will follow at dark or approximately 6 p.m.  Both events are free and open to the public.
Hillis will join Santa, Rudy the Reindeer and many more of their Legendary friends for this year’s highly anticipated holiday parade. Bring your camera and kids to watch decorated floats, marching bands, dancing troops, members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus and more make their way through the streets of downtown Little Rock.
School marching bands and non-profit community organizations will again have the opportunity to win cash prizes as part of the parade’s float competition. The band cash prizes will be $1,000 and $500 for first and second places and $1,000, $750 and $500 for the top three winners among non-profit entries. Local guest judges will evaluate the competition and will be positioned along the parade route at an official judge’s stand.  Winners of the float and marching band competition will be posted on www.HolidaysinLittleRock.com after the conclusion of the parade.
“We are thrilled Peyton Hillis, a Central Arkansas native and former Arkansas Razorback accepted our invitation to be this year’s Grand Marshal” Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau President & CEO Gretchen Hall said. “The Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade (coupled with the lighting of the State Capitol) has become a much anticipated family tradition.  We welcome Payton and his family to lead the parade route.  We hope to see everyone come out and enjoy the floats and special guests including Santa himself.”

8th Annual Celebration of Lights

November 18th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

CelebrationOfLights_postcard_tst

Start (or finish) your holiday shopping at The Promenade’s 8th Annual Celebration of Lights.  Bask in the merry music and bright lights during the Promenade’s Celebration of Lights Saturday, Nov. 28 while enjoying FREE photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, musical entertainment and a special tree lighting ceremony.  Take pictures with princess and elf cutouts, (perfect for the kiddos), enjoy the hot chocolate station sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation and get a free movie ticket with a donation!

You can also indulge your children’s every “Frozen” dream with a photo with the Snow Queen, Ice Princess and Olaf the Snowman.  Make sure you take advantage of the money saving coupons offered here.

All of this adds up to a magical holiday experience for everyone in the family!  Or leave the kids at home, book a night at the Empress and enjoy a holiday escape!

 

Coca-Cola Exhibit Comes to the Clinton Library

November 13th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

coke_timeline

The Clinton Presidential Center will celebrate the art and history of the Coca-Cola Bottle’s 100-year anniversary during its upcoming temporary exhibit, Coca-Cola: An American Original. Opening on November 7, 2015, the exhibit is divided into two sections and will occupy both the Garden View room, located on the first floor, and the Temporary Gallery, located on the third floor.

Illustrations of an American Original will be located in the Garden View Room and will have as its focus the now-iconic images and advertising campaigns that have helped define the Coca-Cola brand. Illustrations will include three original paintings by Norman Rockwell, an American artist who created a total of six paintings that were ultimately used in finished Coca-Cola ads. The three others, known as the “Missing Rockwells,” have yet to be located. Additionally, Illustrations will feature several images of Santa Claus, including the first Coca-Cola Santa painted by Fred Mizen that appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in December of 1930, as well as nine original Haddon Sundblom illustrations.

An American Original at 100 will be housed in the Temporary Gallery, bringing together historic bottle “firsts.” It will feature a 13-bottle chronology, including an original glass bottle produced in 1902, a replica of the prototype contour bottle created by the Root Glass Company in 1915, and a prototype of the aluminum bottle that debuted in 2008. Also, the exhibit will showcase pop art by Andy Warhol—including videos, photographs, prints, and other original works—and folk art by Howard Finster, who incorporated the Coca-Cola bottle into dozens of his pieces over his prolific career. Another portion of this exhibit is dedicated to American presidents and their connection to the global brand. An American Original at 100 was recently on display at the High Museum of Art Atlanta.

In addition to Illustrations of an American Original and An American Original at 100, the Center will also display a full-size antique Coca-Cola delivery truck produced in 1949 by the White Motor Company and a spectacular hanging installation comprised of more than 750 3D-printed, ribbon-shaped interpretations of the bottle’s classic shape.

Coca-Cola: An American Original is the Center’s 42nd temporary exhibit. It will close on February 15, 2016. Admission to temporary exhibits is included in the price of Library admission.

– See more at: https://www.clintonfoundation.org/get-involved/take-action/attend-an-event/coca-cola-american-original#sthash.jyCMGpvm.dpuf

Traditional Holiday High Tea

November 10th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

hd-christmas2

Join The Empress of Little Rock on Sunday, December 6th for the first annual Holiday  High Tea and Tour of the Hornibrook Mansion. Start  your holiday season in the elegant “Quapaw Quarter” with a tour of the beautiful and elegant “Hornibrook Mansion” now known as The Empress of Little Rock Bed and Breakfast, in the Quapaw Quarter section of Downtown Little Rock.  There will be magical Victorian decorations depicting the 1890’s era of the Hornibrook Mansion, known regionally as “The Grande Dame of the Ozarks” for it’s  elaborate detailed Gothic Queen Anne Architecture.  After an elegant repast of American Grand High Tea, including many refined traditions  lost to us in our modern “technological” world, a detailed history  of the family that took such pleasure in building this amazing architectural triumph and a tour and discussion of 1890’s Christmas traditions will follow.  This is a time to enjoy customs and family values that made us who we are today.  Bring your Granddaughters, yours Mothers, your Grandmothers to experience the joy of an 1880’s Christmas to begin your holiday season. Learn More…
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