The Blair’s granddaughter Jena has spent the summer busily working at The Empress. She has been a huge help, doing everything from answering phones and taking reservations to cleaning rooms and checking in guests. Another great thing she brings to the table is the optimism and ingenuity of youth. A great example of this young, fun attitude is a recent birthday celebration we had for Shana, Sharon’s executive assistant. A birthday of a staff member is always celebrated with a card and a cake (or sometimes cupcakes!) and it fell on Jena to order the cake and buy the card for this particular celebration. The cake was ordered in plenty of time (and, being from Community Bakery, was absolutely DELICIOUS) but the card was forgotten until the last minute. Instead of a last minute dollar store run or a quick search for appropriate clip art, (solutions we old people would embrace) Jena wasted no time in breaking out her youthful creativity and art skills and quickly created a card using nothing but paper, pens, sharpies and a lot of imagination. Shana pronounced it the best card to ever be presented at The Empress (and the cupcake wasn’t all that bad either!).
Posts Tagged ‘Bed and Breakfast in Arkansas’
July 26th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
March 11th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
Just a few short blocks from The Empress is South Main and we’re excited
about welcoming Sweet Home furnishings, great new antique architectural pieces or
shabby chic, now located at 1324 South Main Street, and Moxy
Modern Mercantile – Vintage Store, home to 500 modern
shabby chic & great new items. These add to the Green Corner Store which
has many unique gift items & great
home style ice cream, YUM! Both new business now OPEN!!
Speaking of South Main, has anyone tried the new bike lanes out yet? Now that the weather is warning up the cabin fever can come to an end, we’re ready to burn off some of those winter pounds so put on your helmets and roll the spokes! If biking isn’t your thing then you may want to stretch your legs in the Downtown Dash 10k/5K Run on March 15th 8:00 AM, presented by the Junior League of Little Rock.
Little Green in your blood? Ok, Ye Lucky Irish Lades there’s plenty for you too. Starting out on March 15th with the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. The Parade Route begins at Fourth & Rock in downtown Little Rock, passing Dugan’s Irish Pub at Third & Rock, travels east on Third, turning north on Sherman, then west on President Clinton Blvd through River Market .
July 31st, 2013 by Lisa
KARK 4 reporter Josh Berry came out last week and met with “The Empress” herself, Sharon Welch-Blair. The two discussed the historical significance of The Hornibrook Mansion and the beauty of it’s architecture. So why is this amazing structure so uniquely Arkansan? In the words of Innkeeper Jessica Ledbetter (that’s me!)” You’re sitting on a foundation of Little Rock blue granite. All the bricks were construction bricks baked right here on site. Even the wood was milled here in Arkansas.”
Watch the segment on The Empress of Little Rock!
May 7th, 2013 by Lisa
They are here, they are here, they are finally here! A stroll through the Empress gardens is now a must do event, as Spring flowers are in full bloom. Every corner you turn brings a new assault of beauty to your eyes (and often your nose) as flowers bloom on bushes, in planters, in beds, around swings and climbing up columns. The exciting thing is, there are many more to come. Our fig tree is just now putting out leaves and will soon provide fresh fruit for breakfast. I am impatiently awaiting the hydrangeas, as they are my absolute favorites! But in the meantime, there is so much to see that my daily stroll through the gardens is the very best part of the work day.
March 6th, 2013 by Lisa
P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer and lifestyle expert, AND host of two public television program, “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home”, “P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table” and the syndicated 30-minute show “P. Allen Smith Gardens” His Garden Home, located at Moss Mountain Farm, is offering Open Tours throughout the year. Through the month of March, he will present his beautiful daffodil gardens. All tours include a lunch and a guided tour of the house, gardens and farm.
Join P.Allen Smith and The Empress for an unforgettable weekend. This special package includes a two night stay at The Empress of Little Rock, 20% off of a carriage ride through Little Rock’s Quapaw Quarter Historic District and a bottle of champagne! Add a 3rd night for only $79.00!
March 7, 2013
March 8, 2013
March 14, 2013
March 15, 2013
March 21, 2013
March 22, 2013
March 28, 2013
January 2nd, 2013 by Lisa
What does Little Rock have in common with Pittsburg, Providence and Long Beach? All of these cities were included in Yahoo’s “Ten Unexpectedly Romantic U.S. Cities. Other cities lauded were: Minneapolis, Cleveland, Lanai City, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Washington D.C.
Little Rock is proud to be among such company, and The Empress of Little Rock is proud to be listed as one of the top things to do in one of the top unexpectedly romantic cities! Yahoo! Travel’s Melissa Burdick Harmon says of the historic bed and breakfast “Arrive early at the posh, Victorian-style Empress of LIttle Rock Hotel, for a couple’s massage, some downtime in the garden, and maybe a carriage ride along tree-lined streets and past the Governor’s Mansion”.
Want to know more Little Rock Landmarks mentioned for an unforgettable romatic getaway? It was suggested that visitors try Ciao Italian Restaurant, 1620 Savoy and The William J. Clinton Library and Museum. You can see the article from Yahoo! Travel here. The Empress would also like to suggest a hike up Pinnacle Mountain, a visist to Cedar Falls at Mount Petit Jean or a drive along Arkansas’ backroads to enjoy the amazing fall foliage. Check out Packages from The Empress that includes these favorites, such as the Gone With the Wind Package, Valentines Day Packages or the Romantic Waterfall Package.
November 27th, 2012 by Sharon Welch-Blair
Step back a couple of centuries without leaving Little Rock during Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church’s 9th Annual Christmas in the Quarter holiday tour of homes from 2-6 p.m. in the Quapaw Quarter of downtown Little Rock on Sunday, December 9. The holiday event raises funds for Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church and its missions and gives guests a glimpse into five 19th century homes while savoring the tastes, sights, sounds and scents of the holidays.
Guests will tour the holiday-decorated homes, learn a bit about the history of each, and enjoy appetizers, beverages and live music, including strolling minstrels singing carols as well as piano, organ and trumpet instrumentals. Guests can walk from home to home or take one of two trolleys, which will drop off and pick up participants at each home throughout the event.
The tour will begin and end at the church where guests can sit in peace and fellowship in its Gothic Revival architecture, peruse and purchase artwork by artists using studio space in the church, and relish holiday refreshments. The homes include:
Designed by Charles L. Thompson and Thomas Harding, Jr., Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built between1921 and 1926, it features a Gothic Revival style with Queen Anne characteristics. Considered one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the southwest, the sanctuary still retains its original features and furnishings, including four plaster angels—unusual for Methodist churches of the time. The sanctuary features more than 50 individual stained-glass windows and a large Gothic Triptych window, all crafted of intricately assembled Tiffany-style stained glass, depicting biblical persons and liturgical symbols. The original cork tile floor is an early example of green design. Overhead, Gothic openwork trusses provide both decoration and structural support for the roof. Please ask about the little pew that was dedicated to Mrs. Eliza Lillis whose husband died of injuries suffered during the Civil War. Her story is a true inspiration.
The Pollock House at 914 Scott Street was constructed circa 1874 by Samuel E. Mandelbaum—the owner of a cigar and tobacco shop on Main Street— for his daughter, Annie Mandelbaum Pollock, following her marriage to Mr. Meyer Pollock. In addition, Mr. Mandelbaum built a home at 908 Scott Street for another daughter, Clara Mandelbaum Pfeifer, and also one for himself at 920 Scott Street. The Pollock House has remained in the family ever since, and it is now owned and occupied by descendant Mary Bray Kelley and her husband, Dick Kelley. The exterior has been restored to its original beauty and architectural style, and the interior rehabilitation was equally profound, making the home an important historic residence in Little Rock.
The Villa Marre at 1321 Scott Street was built in 1881 by Angelo Marre, a successful saloonkeeper in Little Rock. The home was the first post-Civil War residence to be rehabilitated in the city. In 1964, preservationist James Strawn purchased and restored the home, later donating it to the Quapaw Quarter Association. It remained a social rental and tour house until it was sold as a private residence in 2002. Except for its mansard roof, a feature associated with the Second Empire style, the home is predominately Italianate. Its imposing three-story tower and original slate roof are features that make the house architecturally significant. The Villa Marre became a popular icon as the Sugarbaker House on Designing Women, and its distinctive architecture made it a trademark of the successful television show in the 1980s and 1990s. The home is currently available as an event center.
The Xenophon Overton Pindall House at 2000 Arch Street served as the Governor’s Mansion from May 15, 1907 until January 11, 1909. While acting governor, Pindall served as a member of the State Penitentiary Board, made numerous visits to the convict farms, and authorized an investigation and report of conditions. His actions are credited with starting a chain of events that brought about the abolition of the convict lease system some years later. Constructed in the Tudor style with some Craftsman features, homes like the Pindall House originated in the United States with plans and concepts published in furniture maker and designer Gustav Stickley’s The Craftsman magazine. His ideas spread, and the term Craftsman eventually identified any house built with his principles in mind. Jill Judy and Mark Brown now own and occupy the home.
Constructed in 1902, the John H. Martin House at 2107 Arch Street was designed in the Colonial Revival style, which became popular after the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia created a feeling of nostalgia about the American home. Homebuilders and architects turned to early American houses as inspiration for new, more dramatic houses appropriate to the booming economic times. Colonial Revival houses were first built in the late 19th century, in the shadow of the Victorian era. Colonial Revival grew in reaction to Victorian excesses, focusing on simpler, more traditional layouts and façades. The style took hold quickly and became one of the country’s longest-lived architectural forms, with countless versions being built even today. Ashley and Chap Williams are the current owners and residents of the home.
The Shelby England House at 2121 Arch Street was constructed circa 1910 and has been totally restored to perfection. The large sweeping foyer has a grand staircase and huge stained-glass window. Designed by architect Charles L. Thompson in Colonial Revival and Prairie School styles with some elements of Craftsman style incorporated, the England House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is included in the Governor’s Mansion Historic District. The house sits unobtrusively on the streetscape thus giving it a sense of privacy nicely reinforced by the low brick walls that surround the porch. The England House is a fine example of the diversity of architect Thompson’s work. Brandi and John Collins own and live in the England House today.
October 26th, 2012 by Lisa
We’ve all driven by that big old house on Cantrell by Dillard’s Corporate Offices and thought, “That house is beautiful…why isn’t anybody doing anything with it?’ Well, after a few years of sitting empty, someone finally IS doing something with it. The McDonald-Wait-Newton House, more commonly known as The Packet House, has recently opened it’s doors to the public as a restaurant.
Wes Ellis, the Owner and Executive Chef, describes the cuisine as modernized Southern Comfort Food and the descriptor seems apt to me. My friend and I dined at The Packet House on a recent Thursday. We were led through the suprisingly (in my opinion) modern interior to a small room tucked into the back of the house that also led out to a deck. The atmosphere would have been great if it weren’t for the other occupants of this room (a group of around 15 young women celebrating a birthday) with white table clothes and sparse modern deco.
My companion ordered the trout and I ordered the duck breast. The menu descriptions didn’t do justice to the perfectly cooked duck sitting in a sweet tomato reduction with good ol’ southern hoppin’ john on the side. Halfway through our meal we decided to switch plates and I was very pleased with this decsion as well. His trout was pan seared with the skin still on, sitting on ratatouille and drizzled with a lemon beurre blanc. We enjoyed a very nice bottle of Reisling with the meal, one of my new favorites that I will be searching out in stores.
Would I recommend this restaurant to guests? I most certainly would, both for the food and for the beautiful house that it is served in! What better place to send guests from one beautiful historic mansion than to another!
September 19th, 2012 by Lisa
Have you seen our Petit Jean room? This beautiful room is decorated in navy blue, gold, white and a nautical theme is present throughout. The room is named after Arkansas’ State Park- Mount Petit Jean, and it’s namesake. Check out the romantic maritime accessories in one of our guests favorite rooms!
Do you know the legend of Petit Jean that inspires this Arkansas/French connection? According to legend, Petit Jean was actually a young 18th century French woman. When she discovered that her fiance had been ordered to Captain one of three ships dispatched to explore the newly acquired French possesion in the new world we now recognize as the Louisiana Territory, she cut her hair, disguised herself, and secured a position as the cabin boy. She survived the voyage. Their two year expedition up the Mississippi and the Arkansas Rivers began their exploration. They reached the lone escarpment jutting out over the Arkansas River just as winter approached. Finding friendly indians who had never seen a white man, they chose to winter there. Near the end of a brutal winter, the young woman fell ill with fever. On her deathbed, she revealed herself to her fiance as his beloved. She is buried on the mountain overlooking the scenic Arkansas River Valley to the East, not under her own name, but under the name she had been known by on the ship, “Petit Jean”– little John. Below is a picture of “Petit Jean’s” grave……a cairn found atop Petit Jean Mountain. In the early evening breeze, some say they can hear “Petit Jean” calling to her lover. It bespeaks the strength and courage required to leave home and family to follow her destiny and garnered her a revered spot in the “legend” of our guestrooms, one of the favorites.
August 1st, 2012 by Lisa
The Empress of Little Rock is known for the friendliness and hospitality of our owners and Innkeepers, but many guests also become acquainted with our mascot, Lovie Dovie. Dovie is known for her “Southern hospitality.” She will sometimes escort guests from the guest parking lot to the back porch door, where she waits “patiently” to take them around to the front door to enter into the inn. She will then most times flop down and let them pet and love on her.
Dovie is a Tortoiseshell cat. “Torties” are named for their distinctive coloring (a combination of patches of black, brown, amber, red, cinnamon and chocolate.) An interesting fact, is that Torties are almost exclusively female. A very unique thing about Dovie – she is a polydactyl cat (“Hemingway” or “Mittens” cat.) While most cats have 18 toes (five on each front foot and four on the rear), polydacts have six or more toes on the front feet, and sometimes an extra toe on the rear. We knew Dovie was special!
She will also try to talk guests into letting her come into the inn. She will look up at them with her sweet, innocent little eyes, meow and just know that they will do what she wants. The thing is, she knows that she is not supposed to come into the inn. She is counting on the “kindness of strangers.” A typical Tortie, she is quite talker, displaying that famous “tortitude!”
We hope everyone will come visit us and Dovie at some time in the future!