Looking for beautiful art and local gifts? Don’t miss SoMa’s fun Holiday Pop Up Shop at Studio Main with Erin Lorenzen, The Green Corner Store, and many local artists and products! Open weekends from now until Christmas, the shop includes local artisans Robinson Lane Jewelery, Julie Holt Pottery, Eco Social Events, David Monteith, Vincent Griffin, Michael Church, Kent Walker, Loblolly Creamery, Honeysuckle Cheese, Geek Eats, Bo/Knit/A, Southern Girl Soapery, Southern Salt, Kat Wilson and more! The following facebook pages can provide more information on these fun holiday sales:
This Holiday Pop Up Shop would be a perfect addition to the Empress of Little Rock’s shopping package . Bring your purchases back to The Empress for our “elves” to wrap while you cuddle up in front of a roaring fire! Don’t forget that the Christmas decorations are now up and the Empress staff is ready to make your holiday stay merry and bright!
Have you decided what you are doing for New Year’s Eve yet? If not, do we have a great event for you!
New Year’s Eve “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 as one 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.
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.
Victorian “Girls at Work”
Black Tie Event
Seating limited to Maximum of 40 guests
*$200.00 per couple with a night stay, 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!
SEATS ARE AVAILABLE FOR WINE DINNER DANCE WITHOUT PACKAGE. PLEASE CALL FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS
*18%Gratuity added to all Wine Dinner Dance Reservations.
The Empress of Little Rock is excited to be a participant in December’s 2nd Friday Art Night with the 10th Ever Nog-off, a friendly competition for the best eggnog in town! Join us at the Historic Arkansas Museum on December 12 from 5 – 8 pm and enjoy Live music, the opening of two new exhibits, and (of course) lots and lots of eggnog!
The Noggers (to date): Cache Restaurant, Capital Hotel Bar and Grill, Copper Grill, Loblolly Creamery, The Empress, Bridget Fennell Farris; John Selig, and Stone’s Throw Brewery. There will also be celebrity tasters present.
We can’t wait for this culinary celebration of a favorite holiday drink, and friendly competition for the best eggnog in town. Three awards will be given with the prize being bragging rights: The People’s Choice (by popular vote), The Taster’s Choice (awarded by celebrity tasters) and new last year, The Not Your Great, Great, Great Grandfather’s Eggnog award for the best unconventional entry. This award alludes to past winner, Nicholas Peay’s Eggnog, a traditional eggnog which actually is Museum Director Bill Worthen’s great, great, great grandfather’s eggnog recipe.
Book your room at the Empress and get a head start on the festivities by tasting some of our eggnog in front of a roaring fire in the Holiday bedecked parlor! Call now for the best choice of rooms, or check us out online at www.theempress.com
First Security Amphitheater in Downtown Little Rock is really going all out with this year’s holiday celebration and will be transformed into a winter wonderland of lights this holiday season. Visitors are invited to enjoy a ten minute light show that has been specially choreographed to music. This amazing exhibit will be on display throughout the holiday season. What else will be offered in the downtown area? There will be a meet & greet with Santa Claus, and an official lighting ceremony on November 29th. All ages are welcome to the River Market Pavilions to enjoy holiday cookies, beverages, crafts, games and much more!
And don’t forget one of our favorite Little Rock holiday traditions, the Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade! The Annual Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade, sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau (LRCVB), will return to Little Rock Saturday, December 6, 2014. Serving as this year’s Grand Marshal is Miss Arkansas 2014, Ashton Campbell.
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.
Campbell will join Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudy the Reindeer and many of their friends for this year’s highly anticipated holiday parade. Bring your camera and kids to watch decorated floats, marching bands, dancing troops and more make their way through the streets of downtown Little Rock.
Make sure to book your weekend at The Empress of Little Rock and attend one or all of these fun events! Call us at 501-374-7966 to reserve your room today!
The Holidays are quickly approaching and lighting displays will soon be popping up all over the Little Rock Metro area. Over the next few weeks we will discuss several of these displays and the celebrations surrounding them, but we would be remiss if we did not start the Holiday Celebrations Series with our own SoMa district display. Thursday, December 4th will be a very special night in our very special neighborhood. Area merchants and The Bernice Gardens welcome you to celebrate The Bernice Garden Tree Lighting and SoMa Holiday Open House. From 5-8 p.m. Santa will host an evening of music, treats, shopping and more! The fabulous Bernice Garden Christmas Tree will be illuminated at 5:30 to kick off the holiday cheer!
The Empress is the perfect spot to begin and end your SoMa holiday celebration. Lounge in front of a warm fire in our parlors or your own cozy suite, and then slip into your scarves and gloves for a short walk to Bernice Gardens. When you return to the mansion, enjoy our Victorian Holiday Wonderland as you peruse all of your new purchases. The softly playing Christmas music will help you maintain your Christmas spirit long after the celebration ends! Call today to book your suite in the nearest lodging to the party, The Empress of Little Rock.
The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) is announcing plans for a 10-day citywide celebration with many local partners taking place over November 9-18, 2014 in honor of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library’s tenth anniversary.
It’s been nearly ten years since the opening of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library on November 18, 2004; a true landmark that has drawn millions of visitors to Little Rock, and has spurred unprecedented cultural, economic and social progress.
The opening of the Clinton Center (Clinton Presidential Library, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and the Clinton Presidential Park) has forever changed the landscape of Little Rock, and was undoubtedly the catalyst that has propelled more than $2.5 billion in economic development to the central Arkansas area.
“The 2004 opening of the Clinton Presidential Center put Little Rock on the map as a true visitor destination,” said LRCVB President & CEO, Gretchen Hall. “Tourists from around the world have come to Little Rock specifically to see the Library, and have chosen to extend their stays to experience our wonderful city,” she added.
The Empress is proud to be a part of this wonderful, fast-growing city and has grown with the city this past decade. “When the Presidential Center was built, we had five room,” says Sharon Welch-Blair, owner of the Empress of Little Rock, “but we have felt the need to grow with the city and now offer an additional four spa-suites in addition to those five original rooms.” A part of the thriving SOMA district, which has also taken advantage of the economic boom in Little Rock, The Empress urges guests to come enjoy the history of Little Rock as well as the progress. “The Empress occupies the historic Hornibrook Mansion,” says Welch-Blair, “which is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic Queen-Ann Architecture in the region. We are also surrounded by the Quapaw Quarter Historic District, an area of lovely homes and buildings that have maintained their historic identity while the area has adapted to the new era.”
The video below is a timeline of the past decade and the changes that Little Rock has seen during this time. The city continues to grow and thrive and The Empress hopes to be a part of the future as well as the past!
It is the time of year for holiday parties, lavish decorations, and…shopping…!!! Lots and lots of shopping! Brown paper packages tied up with string!!! I think you get the point…
Join us from November 1st thru November 24th for a two night shopping getaway with your sister, your Mom, or your best friend, for an old fashioned Christmas Shopping Getaway-Miracle on 21st Street Shopping Package! Time to shop ’til you drop, and then join us back at The Empress for Hot Apple Cider (spiked if you like) and a massage to loosen up those muscles and rejuvenate those tired aching feet. Then enjoy a wonderful dinner at one of our many outstanding restaurants (let us make your reservations for you) Ciao, Brave New Restaurant, Ristorante’ Capeo, Bruno’s, Cache, they’re all great.
Join us for breakfast each morning and be pampered with Pumpkin Puff Pancakes with Hot Cider Sauce, or Ham Bundles with Hollandaise and then shop all over again, OR relax by the fire, sip on hot cocoa, eat peanut brittle, and enjoy the relaxation while an elf wraps your packages! The miracle will be that you ever shopped any other way!
Two nights in the room of your choice
Directions to all the best shopping in Little Rock
Two Gourmet Breakfasts to start the each day off right
one hour massage for each of you (pkgs. quoted for 2 people)
Pre-Christmas goodies!! (we make a whale of an old fashioned eggnog!!)
Holiday Gift Wrapping (gifts must be boxed; wrapping done by good naturedelves who need plenty to time to do it justice)
Prices start at $276 per person (tax and gratuity extra)
Please call for prices and reservations!! 501-374-7966
We are so excited to be selected for a feature in the Special Christmas Issue of Victorian Homes Magazine!!! The 8 page article perfectly describes The Empress as a Victorian treasure from the 19th century. It tells about the grand history of the mansion, from the original owner’s death shortly after completion in 1888, to becoming Arkansas’s first women’s college, all the way up to present day as an Award winning Bed & Breakfast.
“We’re delighted that the editors choose to feature The Empress of Little Rock, with all of her Christmas flair. From the smell of pine cones wafting through the foyer into the sitting parlors and guest suites, to fireplace mantles graciously decorated and an electric train that circles the glittering, heavily ornamented Victorian tree, we hope to give our guests a true Victorian Christmas,” says owner Sharon Welch-Blair. “We’re especially delighted they chose to highlight our Downton Abbey New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance, which has been an area favorite for New Year’s Eve for years. The small intimate nature of this exclusive dinner party which is a throw back to the 19th century, is designed to celebrate a simpler but more elegant way of connecting with the good things of life we’re having trouble discovering in today’s hectic lifestyle.
This year we will decorate at the beginning of December, just in time to be showcased in this year’s Christmas in the Quarter, a tour of homes conducted around the historic Quapaw Quarter of Little Rock. We hope everyone can come experience the yards of live garland, festive Christmas music, and several Christmas trees from different eras that delight our guests every year! Join us for our daily tours at 11:30 a.m. & 3:00 p.m. during the holiday season and see what Victorian Homes Magazine was so excited to feature, a true old-fashioned Christmas in an amazing Victorian mansion. The cost is $10.00 per person.
One of Little Rock’s favorite festivals, The Arkansas Cornbread festival will happen on Saturday, November 8 in SOMA! This festival has quickly become a regional favorite and will even appear in an upcoming edition of Food Network Magazine.
Since its inception in 2011, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival has exploded in popularity, far exceeding the modest expectations of founder and South Main Street advocate Anita Davis, who hoped to “bring people in our community together for good food, music and conversation.” Originally hoping for “800 to 1,000 people, we were absolutely thrilled that thousands of people from all over the city and state came to see what makes South Main Street thrive,” Davis says. Some might ask, “Why cornbread, and why South Main?” Davis has easy explanations. “Cornbread is an integral part of our southern heritage, and we live in a community steeped in history and tradition. It just seems to be a good fit for a festival in Little Rock.” As for the South Main (SoMa) location, “one of the reasons the festival is important is to bring people to our area who have not seen the changes in our part of the city.”
Check out the festival website here, and be sure to book your suite at The Empress, the closest lodging to the Arkansas Cornbread Festival and SOMA!
The Empress of Little Rock has long been known for the amazing breakfasts that are served daily in the grand formal dining room. Bob Blair and Sharon Welch-Blair have created a menu influenced by both their travels and their many years as owners of The Empress. Each day at The Empress promises a new and even more delicious entree for you to eat by candlelight. Some of our favorites include Ham and Asparagus Bundles, Grand Marnier French Toast and warm Toasted Cheese Strata. But one of our most popular dishes is only served in the fall and winter, and guests await impatiently for Pumpkin Puff Pancake season to roll back around. The Empress is now serving this delectable dish, but we are including the recipe here, so that all of our friends can enjoy them at home as well.
Good luck on your version of our well-known autumn favorite, but if you want to get them directly from the source, book a night at The Empress now!
PUMPKIN PANCAKES USING BISQUICK
2 Cups Bisquick
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (check color of mixture to make sure this is enough can go up to ¾ cup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
2 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons oil
4 egg whites beaten till they form peaks
Combine milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, & oil to Bisquick- stirring just to blend.
Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. Check thickness – if necessary add more milk
HOT CIDER SYRUP:
3/4 CUP APPLE CIDER
1/2 CUP BROWN SUGAR
1/2 CUP LIGHT CORN SYRUP
1/2 TEASPOON LEMON JUICE
1/8 TEASPOON GROUND CINNAMON
1/8 TEASPOON NUTMEG
Combine ingredients and heat 20 minutes to reduce