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Wonderful Waterfalls of Arkansas

May 12th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Arkansas’ nickname of the “Natural State” might grab the attention of hikers in search of solitude, but it’s the hidden wilderness waterfalls that truly draw wilderness lovers. Whether sprinkling, cascading or thundering, waterfalls accent the bluff lines throughout northwest Arkansas’ forests. Nature photographer, hiker, spelunker and trail advocate Tim Ernst lists no fewer than 134 waterfalls in his “Arkansas Waterfall Guidebook.” This means there’s something for everyone, but a few waterfalls stand out for their unique characteristics.

Lost Valley Waterfalls

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With bluffs stretching to the sky below and mazes of boulders dotting the landscape, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve hiked into the “Land of the Lost” while exploring Lost Valley. A moderately easy hiking trail leads to Lower Eden Falls, arguably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Arkansas. During high water, it’s hard to hear yourself talk over the thunderous rush of water as it spirals past fern-covered ledges and pours along the base of Cobb Cave. The hike also provides views of Middle Eden falls, a smaller waterfall cascading beneath a natural rock bridge, and a series of falls dubbed Armadillo Falls if you’re willing to hike a bit off the path. Better yet, a slightly more strenuous hike to Eden Falls Cave will lead you to an underground waterfall that pours almost magically from the cave’s rock ceiling. This remains one of the few underground waterfalls open to recreational caving.

Hemmed In Hollow

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The hike to Hemmed in Hollow is not for the faint of heart, but visitors claim this difficult hike is worth the exertion. Those who brave the steep and rocky five-mile round-trip hike are reworded with the tallest waterfall in existence between the Appalachian and Rocky mountains. The waterfall has been reported to plummet between 210 and 220 feet – few people would likely squabble over the difference. Another beauty, Diamond Falls hides just around the corner from Hemmed in Hollow Falls. Both falls have received five-star beauty ratings from Tim Ernst.

Glory Hole

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Glory Hole almost qualifies as an underground waterfall, although you won’t have to go spelunking to view this beauty. Glory Hole is one mile off Highway 16 near the town of Deer, a short but strenuous hike. This leads to a waterfall that plunges more than 30 feet through a large opening in a cliff-side grotto. What’s best, you can view this waterfall from above or below if you are willing to add a short side-trek.

Cedar Falls

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Although the Arkansas River Valley isn’t bursting with as many waterfalls as the Arkansas Ozarks, the region still boats a handful of nice falls. One favorite of locals and tourists is Cedar Falls, located at the base of a forest pathway constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and maintained by Petit Jean State Park. This 95-foot waterfall received a beauty rating of 5 – the highest ranking possible – from Tim Ernst. Don’t expect to have the place to yourself, but the scattered boulders and rocks provide ample room for your own space, privacy and perhaps a picnic. If you don’t care to picnic, you can rest and replenish after your hike at the restaurant and lodge that sits at the entrance to the Cedar Valley Trail. As an extra bonus, you can view the fall from a wide, well-constructed boardwalk above. The boardwalk is wheelchair-friendly, making Cedar Falls one of the few magnificent waterfalls in Arkansas that is accessible to anyone.

What’s Going on in Little Rock?

April 28th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Ready for Summer in Little Rock, or as we like to say,  “The Rock”? Want to play like the locals do? Here are some of our favorite suggestions:
Wild Wines at Little Rock Zoo on May 2, a premiere food and wine event featuring dozens of wines paired with food from more than 40 of central Arkansas’s best restaurants. Acansa Art Festival is quickly becoming one of the most popular festivals in the state and Arts ExtavACANSA is the kick-off event for the 2015 ACANSA Arts Festival (held September 16-20 this year). The event will be held on the field at War Memorial Stadium on May 7. May 9-10, The Quapaw Quarter Association presents its annual Tour of Homes. The Spring Tour of Homes has been held since 1963 with the purpose of fostering appreciation of historic buildings and neighborhoods and the need for their preservation.

There is all of this and much more to do in Arkansas’s capitol city.  Little Rock is a small city with big city events and attractions.  The Empress is right in the middle of the action in downtown Little Rock and is the perfect place to stay and play!
Visit our Packages Page to learn about breakfast in bed, jaunts to the Old Mill from Gone With the Wind, hiking, biking and more!elephant-escapespring-tour-homes-1-638.jpg

Meet her Majesty’s Staff…Jess

April 23rd, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

The Empress gets rave reviews about the cleanliness of the rooms. People marvel about our ability to keep dust off of all of our antiques and elaborate woodwork. The fresh smell of cleanliness is present in every room…and the reason for all of this is simple: Jessica Estrada. Jess is our house manager and has been with the Empress since before it was open to the public. In fact, the owners swear that one of their conditions for buying the house was that she was willing to take care of the place.

Over the years she has taken ownership of the mansion, and it isn’t out of the ordinary for repeat guests to ask after her when calling to book and going out of their way to see her while they stay. For all of this and more we are proud to introduce you to Jess.
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Sculpture Show and Sale at the River Market

April 10th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Sculpture At The River Market (SATRM) will present its 8th annual Show & Sale on April 24-26, 2015 in the Pavilions at the River Market – located at 400 President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock, Arkansas.

de la vega 1Artist: Angela De la Vega

The weekend begins with the Preview Party, an advanced ticketed event held on Friday night, April 24. Tickets available here.  Hundreds of sculptures, from internationally recognized artists juried into the 2015 Show & Sale, will be displayed and sold in a party setting in the River Market Pavilions. This exquisite evening, featuring food, libations, live entertainment by Pop/Soul artist Heather Batchelor and more, allows party guests the first opportunity to meet and visit with the artists while viewing and purchasing works. Additionally all patrons at the Preview Party will vote for their favorite proposal from the semi-finalists works for the up to $60,000 Public Art Commission Competition (funded by SATRM).

taylor 1Artist: Monty Taylor

As the Preview Party ends, Bronze & Brewskis begins! This is the do-not-miss event for young professionals (and the young at heart) as the look and feel, along with the food and libations change up. Live entertainment by John Willis and Late Romantics. A perfect way to end an ART-ful evening. If you haven’t purchased your tickets in advance (click here) you can still get them at the door!

penn Artist: Ed Pennebaker

On Saturday and Sunday (April 25-26) admission to Sculpture At The River Market Show & Sale is free. Thousands of visitors will populate the Pavilions to see and purchase works of all media, style, subject matter, and size. The sculptures will be on display throughout the weekend in the River Market Pavilions and in the adjacent area of Riverfront Park. This is a great opportunity to visit with the artists, learn about their inspiration for their sculptures, and more.

shangraw 1Artists: Stephanie & Scott Shangraw

At the end of the weekend, the winner of the 2015 Public Art Commission Competition will be announced, and the winning sculpture will be installed prior to the 2016 Show & Sale.

On Saturday and Sunday, Segway of Arkansas and Bobby’s Bike Hike will have special tours, and there will be a Docent-lead tour of the Sculpture Garden.  On Sunday, the Food Trucks will be on site – Hot Rod Wieners, Loblolly Creamery and Clean Eatery.

Riverfest Comes to Little Rock

April 8th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

riverfest 15Riverfest is a celebration of visual and performing arts that is held annually over Memorial Day weekend on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. Riverfest is the largest single event in the state of Arkansas with a rich 38-year tradition. Approximately 250,000 festival-goers attended the 2014 event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million on the community.

Time to Book your Summer and Fall Weddings

April 3rd, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

From: The Empress of Little Rock <hostess@theempress.com>
Subject: Weddings, Showers, Honeymoons and more at The Empress of Little Rock
Reply: hostess@theempress.com
The Empress of Little Rock Presents

The Empress”Downton Abbey” Weddings
We specialize in all-inclusive wedding packages.  Our motto is “bring your groom and your dress, we’ll do the rest!”

Imagine a wedding venue that allows your special day to be filled with elegance and grandeur…with that touch of nostalgia that makes everyone feel as if this were De ja vu!  The Empress is proud to offer you a wide variety of wedding packages. From intimate elopements to outdoor ceremonies with up to 150 special guests, this beautiful Victorian boutique facility will provide a stunning backdrop for your special day. Whether this is a destination wedding, or simply an opportunity to have your local wedding venue special, our staff will assist in every detail.

Romantic “Downton Abbey” Honeymoons
Sweep your bride away to a Victorian Mansion with modern, luxurious conveniences.


The Empress of Little Rock is quite possibly the most amazing boutique inn in Arkansas, and it’s perfect for your honeymoon lodging or romantic getaway. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, but in fact you are only minutes from great restaurants, quaint shops, fun nightlife, attractions, and more. Accommodations vary but you’ll find jacuzzi tubs, aromatherapy spa showers, cozy fireplaces, comfy king beds, and a 200 foot veranda for enjoying the beautiful gardens that thrive year-round at The Empress.

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“Downton Abbey”
Rehearsal Dinners
Celebrate the night before the big day with family and attendants.

The Empress offers a full-service rehearsal dinner in our elegant dining room or spacious conference center. Let our aproned maids serve you and your loved ones a delicious meal after you practice walking down the aisle!
The Empress provides everything: the food, the service, the cleanup and the atmosphere!  The bride and groom can relax on their last night before becoming Mr. and Mrs.

“Downton Abbey”
Bridal Showers and Teas
The unique Victorian feel of the Empress is perfect for a gathering of the ladies.

In this day of instant everything, the Empress is offering a special high tea experience in an elegant Victorian atmosphere. Victorian High Tea accompanied by your host’s warm hospitality is a hallmark at The Empress.
Bridal and Engagement Pictures
The parlors, gardens and rooms of the Empress provide the perfect backdrop for romantic or dramatic photographs.

And bridal portraits are included as part of your wedding package!  Others may call and book an hour of photography in any of the public locations at the Empress (parlors, cardroom, gardens and veranda) for a fee.

Family Lodging
Family and friends can enjoy a romantic escape to The Empress while attending your wedding.
Invite your loved ones to share in the romance of your Empress of Little Rock Wedding by booking the whole house!  We offer rooms at all price points and a wonderful array of parlors for guests to gather in and enjoy the time spent with family. Puzzle Picture

Ready to Book Your Big Day?

For questions, price quotes, reservations or appointments, call the Empress at 501-374-7966 and speak to our event coordinator or innkeeper.  You can also learn more by visiting our website at www.theempress.com.
The Empress of Little Rock | 2120 Louisiana Street | Little Rock | AR | 72206

Community Bakery is a Community Favorite

March 31st, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

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Community Bakery is an amazing find in the heart of Little Rock’s SoMa district to relax, read the paper, browse the web, enjoy the laid-back vibe and the great freshly made sandwiches and desserts.

There are two sections to the bakery.  One side is a gigantic display case with a great selection of pastries and bread, and on the other is the cafe section that will serve you up sandwiches and various morning dishes.  The made-to-order food is light and tasty, and the pastries are sweet and delicious.  There is also a strong selection of coffee that is always hot, fresh and flavorful.  In the mood for a board game?  No problem, they have a nice stack available to all.  Want to surf your morning away?  Easy.  Wi-Fi is also available.  I advise you to show up early for the best selection of pastries.  Although Community Bakery is a gem, it isn’t exactly a hidden one…the line starts early as people eagerly await their donuts, sausage rolls and sugar cookies.  But once you have your pastry and cookie, you should hang out for a bit and enjoy the ambiance.

And if you want to take your goodies to go, it’s nice to drive or walk around the historic Quapaw neighborhood and reflect on your morning. The Empress of Little Rock is only a few blocks away and it always looks beautiful with dew on the morning roses.  If you are passing by after an early lunch, the 11:30 historic tour of The Empress is a real treat.  You can also go through the Community Bakery drive-thru and then enjoy your meal outside at Bernice Garden if the day is nice.

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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 www.Travs.com 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.

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