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Archive for the ‘The Empress of Little Rock’ Category

Rock City Ramble Bicycle Scavenger Hunt

March 19th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

 

Join Bobby’s Bike Hike and the Little Rock River Market for tscavenger bikehe 3rd annual Rock City Ramble!, a city-wide bicycle scavenger hunt. Clues will be hidden around downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock for teams on bicycles for a fun and interactive competition (via a provided map) to find the clues. For the competition, there will be three divisions: a competitive division, a family division, and an all new Locally Labeled division!

“What’s a Locally Labeled division?,” you ask. The Locally Labeled division will take participants on an adventure to our local breweries, distillery, and craft food establishments.

If you don’t have access to a bike, it isn’t a problem, you can rent one at Bobby’s Bike Hike for a discounted rate. The winners can look forward to being rewarded with accolades and prizes. Cyclists are invited to  feel free to sign up as an individual or with a team (individuals will be grouped together as a team). Teams can be various sizes, from 2 to 5 member teams.

The Empress is a great place to stay for this fun and active event in Little Rock this spring (Sunday, April 10, starting at 11 am) and we hope to be your bicycling headquarters.  We offer covered bicycle storage!

Check Bobby’s Facebook page for more events!

Easter Sunrise Service in Little Rock

March 11th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

sunriseservice

Celebrate Easter Sunrise Service  Sunday, March 27th at 7:00 a.m. at the First Security Amphitheater in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas.  Every year, thousands gather on the banks of the Arkansas River and proclaim the good news that Christ is risen.

The service will also be broadcast live on KATV Channel 7.

The Annual Community Easter Sunrise Service is an ecumenical worship service sponsored by Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.

Want some history on the event?  In 1989, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church utilized the newly built Amphitheater on the banks of the Arkansas River to provide an ecumenical community-wide Easter Sunrise Service. Long time PHUMC member, Swann Kohler, was the founding coordinator of this new service. Then Little Rock mayor Buddy Villines, Audrey Crites, Skip Rutherford and the late Tom Williams were the first participants. Beautiful music was offered by the combined choirs of Pulaski Heights UMC and Philander Smith College Choir. In the last 26 years many members of our community have participated in worship, including a US President, our congressmen and women, Arkansas Governors and other state officials, actors, athletes and TV personalities, students and clergy, dance teams and orchestras, brass ensembles, many soloists and school choirs from our county and city. The Gospel has been proclaimed and prayers have been offered. Offerings have been gathered to help local charities do good work in our community and around the state. Over 100 volunteers, plus monetary contributions of so many, make this event possible.

Special guests of this years’ service will be:

  • Rev. Carissa Rogers,  Pastor of Quapaw Quarter UMC
  • Rev. William Robinson, Pastor of First Baptist Church, NLR
  • Kevin Scanlon, Former Arkansas Razorback Football Team
  • Mallory Brooks, Channel 4 News Anchorperson
  • Eric Gilmore, Director of Immerse Arkansas

We hope to see you at The Empress this Easter weekend!

Purse-onas exhibit at Esse Purse Museum

March 3rd, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

ESSE Purse Museum is pleased to showcase the Purse-onas photo exhibit by  JasonTravis , which features photo portraits of people of all ages above a photo of each person’s bag or purse and its contents, offering an intimate look into the lives of others.

In conjunction with the exhibit’s opening, ESSE will resume “The ESSE Purse Project,” an online exhibit of visitors’ and other willing participants’ purses/briefcases/backpacks and their contents.

The beautiful photos by Jason Travis seem tailor-made for the purse museum’s permanent exhibit, “What’s Inside: A Century of Women and Handbags.” The permanent exhibit focuses on the 20th-century American woman and her development, as shown through handbags and their contents. Travis’ photos (and “The ESSE Purse Project’) bring the concept into the current decade – and include men.

Purse-onas and ESSE go together as well as your mother’s matching purse and shoes. Don’t miss the chance to see them together!

Purse-onas by Jason Travis runs Wednesday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, March 13. ESSE Purse Museum & Store is open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. everyday but Monday.

The Esse Purse Museum is only blocks from The Empress and is the only purse museum in North America!  Check out the museum, and then head next door for lunch at The Root Cafe or across the street for ice cream at The Green Corner Store.  Soma is the place to be this spring!

Arkansas Flower and Garden Show in Little Rock this weekend

February 26th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

2013_arkansas_flower_and_garden_show_58_36The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show is the largest three day celebration of gardening in the state.  The goal of the Show is to cultivate interest in the Natural State through what is grown for beauty and sustenance. Visitors come to learn about gardening and shop for their homes and gardens February 26-28, 2016

What will you learn at the Show?

  • great design for home landscapes
  • latest new plants
  • best cultivars for our climate
  • cutting edge floral design
  • garden to table ideas
  • fun stuff for children

What can you shop for at the Show?

The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show brings to one place, experts in the fields of plant cultivation, propagation, and plant disease prevention and treatment.  This year’s show includes leading nurserymen, designers, naturalists and artisans.  There are over 140 vendor booths at the show selling everything from plants, tools, furniture, and bird houses to organic cosmetics, housewares, and jewelry.

Where does money generated by the show go?

The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show is organized by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with proceeds from the show funding scholarships for students majoring in horticulture or related fields at Arkansas universities and community colleges.  Proceeds from the Show also fund the Greening of Arkansas grant program which provides grants to Arkansas communities for public spaces to enhance the beauty of our Natural State.

What’s in it for you?

Awesome weekend full of great speakers, wonderful designs, fabulous plants, and the best place to shop for plants or anything for the home and garden.

Spring Break in Little Rock

February 17th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

springbreakLittle Rock Spring Break is coming quickly teachers, parents, vacationers and everyone else who likes to get away in March!  The Empress would love to be Spring Break headquarters for your couple, family or group.  With rooms ranging from affordable to super luxurious, we have an option for everyone.  Need some examples of our amazing rooms?  Check out all of our options here!

 

So what is going on in Little Rock next month?  How about some of these great things:

  • Purse-onas exhibit at ESSE Purse Museum
  • Historic Neighborhoods Bicycle Tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike
  • An Iliad at Arkansas Repertory Theatre
  • Little Rock Marathon
  • Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights Tour
  • Bella Rustina Vintage Market
  • and much, much more!

Need a little more motivation for a stay?  Add a romantic package, like our breakfast in bed or a gourmet picnic.  Plan a hike to the top of Pinnacle Mountain and enjoy the view from the top.  Or stay in the South Main neighborhood, home of the Empress and enjoy lunch at The Root Cafe, home to locally sourced foods in a fun and funky atmosphere and dinner at South on Main, one of Little Rock’s favorite restaurants with upscale southern favorites…the possibilities are endless and so much fun!

 

Best Romantic Restaurants in Little Rock

February 10th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Have you booked your romantic valentine’s reservation at The Empress for Valentine’s Day yet?  We aren’t full yet (but you better book quick, we only have a couple of rooms available!) If you have already booked your room and all of your romantic add-ons (click here to see more)  then you might need some romantic restaurant recommendations.  Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Brave New Restaurant is an old standby, but they still impress.  They serve contemporary American cuisine by the Arkansas River.  The seafood is always top notch.  Brave New Restaurant has a romantic atmosphere and some of the best views in the city.  Located at 2300 Cottondale Lane. Brave New Restaurants accepts reservations.
  2. One Eleven has a great atmosphere, nice seafood selections and steak.  The Capital Hotel has long been a destination for romance, and One Eleven is no exception.  The upscale atmosphere and top notch service make this a great place for a special evening.  Located at 111 W. Markham St.  One Eleven at the Capital accepts reservations.
  3. The Pantry has some of the best food in the city and a nice, casually romantic atmosphere.   The menu is a mixture of European flavors and never fails to please.  These would be a great place to take a foodie date.  Located at 11401 Rodney Parham Road.
  4. Bonefish Grill has been around for a while, and remains a favorite.  The seafood is a good bet, but they also have chicken, pork and beef.   The atmosphere is casual upscale, but it’s nice for a date. Located from 11525 Cantrell Rd.  Bonefish Grill accepts reservations.
  5. Sonny Williams Steak Room is the perfect place for a carnivore date.  Many consider Sonny Williams’ steaks the best steaks in central Arkansas.  They also have chicken, pork and a salad bar. The atmosphere is white tablecloth, upscale casual.  Located at 500 President Clinton Avenue. Sonny Williams Steak Room accepts reservations.
  6. Vesuvio Bistro offers authentic Italian cuisine.  They are one of Little Rock’s more upscale Italian Restaurants, and make for a special evening out. They have a nice wine list. Located at 1315 Breckenridge Drive. Vesuvio Bistro accepts reservations.
  7. YaYa’s Euro Bistro has a classy atmosphere, top notch food and great service.  They have a European inspired menu with pizza, pasta, seafood and more.  Located at 17711 Chenal Parkway, in the Promenade.  YaYa’s Euro Bistro accepts reservations.
  8.  Bruno’s has a romantic atmosphere with checkered tablecloths and authentic Italian food. Their pasta dishes are always a hit.  They now offer free valet parking. They can be crowded on Valentine’s, but it’s worth the wait.  Located at 310 Main Street, Suite 101.
  9. South on Main has a modern vibe, with live music on some nights. The menu consists of upscale Southern cuisine like dumplings and cornbread dressing.  It’s a great place for an evening out, and is located only blocks from The Empress! Located at 1304 South Main Street.

Grand High Tea at the Empress

January 15th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Grand High Tea at The Empress

Grand High Tea at The Empress

In a time and city that seems to always be in a hurry, it is sometimes nice to slow down and enjoy life’s luxuries.  The Grand High Tea at The Empress of Little Rock is the perfect place to do just that.

Grand High Tea at the “Downtown Abbey” –Sundays at 3:00 p.m. by reservation only
Capture the essence of the traditional high tea with all the pomp and circumstance of your Grandmothers’ day. Everything is handmade in our kitchen and includes our specialty hot tea, three specialty desserts; three gourmet finger sandwiches, Empress scones, clotted cream and fresh fruit!  Served in the formal dining room with candlelight and Victorian music.  Discover the traditions of  100 years ago that have been lost in our hurry scurry world.  Wear your hat and gloves, the occasion warrants it!! After tea, enjoy a detailed historical tour of The Empress and all of her owners from the late 1800′s to present time.

  • $40.00 per person / $45.00 per person on holidays/  all tea reservation will have 18% gratuity included.

Group Grand High Tea-

  • $40.00 per person / $45.00 per person on holidays
  • Weekdays- 10 person minimum (50 person maximum)
  • Weekends- 12 person minimum (50 person maximum)
  • Holiday Prices Vary

High tea evolved from the custom of ladies of the Victorian era taking a mid-afternoon respite to an elegant and formalized excuse to showcase one’s finery while entertaining friends. High tea was traditionally more of an evening meal; today’s high tea experience showcases dainty tea sandwiches, specialty teas, elegant finger sweets, scones with clotted cream and lemon curd. Today it’s an opportunity to don one’s gloves and pull out grandmother’s china, crystal or silver, and have a time set aside to focus on ourselves and our friends. In this day of instant everything, the Empress is offering a special Little Rock, Arkansas high tea experience in an elegant Victorian atmosphere designed to calm the mind and foster relationships. Victorian High Tea accompanied by your host’s warm hospitality is a hallmark at The Empress. Call us to help you plan a delightful event for yourself or your local ladies’ group and enjoy one of our delightful tea and tour events at The Empress.

School Tours Haunted Legends

January 12th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — On Thursday, kids at the Hot Springs Intermediate School got a lesson in state history they will not soon forget.

It was about the haunted legends that lurk throughout Arkansas, and it got us here at THV11 thinking– what are some spooky stories here in Little Rock?

Many will tout the Allen House in Monticello or the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs as the scariest. And while they might be, it doesn’t take away from the ghouls that creep around one bed and breakfast here in Little Rock.

“You know it’s home to me,” said Sharon Welch-Blair, who owns the Empress of Little Rock Bed and Breakfast in Little Rock. “It was built with a lot of love and a lot of revenge.”

Welch-Blair has owned the old Victorian-style home on the corner of 22nd and Louisiana since 1993.
It used to be a nursing home before the Blair’s took it over and turned it into what it is today; a 4-diamond bed and breakfast that is ranked one of the top 10 in the nation.

But the reputation doesn’t come lightly.

“[Shortly after we opened one guest] said that she heard some footsteps coming up the stairs and that the handle on the door started twisting back and forth and the door swung open and there was nobody there.”

Several guests, as well as Sharon’s husband Bob claim to have seen ghosts.

“Bob said he saw an older man in a dapper suit stare at him from the staircase while we were building [the home],” she explained. “He said he looked at him as if to say ‘Do well by this house.’”

From spirits wandering the halls, to others standing in doorways guests say multiple spirits have wandered these halls. But one of the most notable cases comes in what they call the card room.

It was the old owner’s secret space and came when a carpenter was working.

“He stepped out to get more stain and when he came back, and the door has no lock, it was locked and he couldn’t get in,” Welch-Blair said.

So you be the judge– real or fake?

“You know I can cohabit with a few ghosts. If they’re good with it I’m good with it,” she joked.

Just know there’s no way to disprove what some have said they saw.

The home is currently on the market for sale.

Empress Featured on Exploring Arkansas

January 7th, 2016 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Chuck’s Blog — “Exploring Arkansas” Jan. 2016

 

Posted on 31 Dec 2015

From 4-wheeling atop Mt. Magazine, to attending the South’s largest craft fair, to touring a historicVictorian mansion, to taking a drive along the “Take Your Breath Away” scenic route — it’s all coming up during a brand new episode of “Exploring Arkansas” on Monday, Jan. 4, at 6:30 p.m.

 

At an elevation of 2,753 feet, Mt. Magazine in west Arkansas is the state’s highest peak. An excellent way to explore this mountain is by going on an ATV excursion, which enables you to cover quite a bit of ground in a much shorter amount of time than, say, hiking or on horseback.

 

The largest craft fair in the South happens to take place every October at the picturesque setting of War Eagle Mill near Rogers.

More than 100,000 folks from all over the country converge on this historic mill to do their early Christmas shopping with some 250 ar

The Empress at dusk

The glow of The Empress at dusk.

tisans. The emphasis is on quality handmade items you’re not likely to find anywhere else.

When it was completed in 1888, the Hornibrook Mansion in Little Rock was the finest example of ornate Victorian architecture in the state, and it still is.  When new owners moved in during the early 1990s, it became The Empress of Little Rock – a bed and breakfast inn that the public can now enjoy.

How many scenic drives have you been on that will just, “take your breath away?” Well, the Take Your Breath Away scenic drive in the western portion of the state is actually made up of four highways with a total distance of about 90 miles.

 

Throughout remote sections of the drive, there are even bear crossing signs!

So come along with us for all the adventure Jan. 4 at 6:30 p.m.!

TUNE IN:

Monday, Jan. 4, 2016

AETN.org > Engage > Blog > Chuck’s Blog — “Exploring Arkansas” Jan. 2016

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The Empress at dusk

The glow of The Empress at dusk.

New Year’s Eve Menu 2016

December 29th, 2015 by Sharon Welch-Blair

The Delicious Menu for our 2016 New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance!

New Year's Eve Wine Dinner Dance

Seated at the New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner Dance

 

Thia year’s New Year’s Eve Downton Abbey Wine Dinner Dance with repeat a gourmet menu and pared wines with complementary wines selected by our House Sommelier.  Join us for a wonderful unique experience from the 1880’s as a treasured guest of the “Hornibrook Family”.  Our bow-tied butler will greet you with a special memento  hand made by the housee staff.  You’ll b

e served by “tailed” waiters and Victorian Apron maids and the night will waft with conversation, dancing, and champaign at the witching hour!

The Soup

Victoric and Albet’s Leek and Brie Cream Soup

North Coast Chardonnay, Clos duBois 2012

The Sorbet—Palette Cleanser

Queen Anne Rosewater Sorbet    

                                                          The Main Course

Spiced Tenderloin with mustard cream sauce

Tart a ’la Oignou avec la courgle

Salade de fromage

with raspberries,

Goat Cheese, Caramelized Almond Croutons

Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing

Yeast Rolls

Mirassou Pinot Noir 2011

The Finale

Eggnog Creme’ en croute with Blackberries

                          Oregon Pinot Gris, Vin Glacé, King Estate, 2007   

COME ENJOY THE “DOWNTON ABBEY” EXPERIENCE!