Posts Tagged ‘Bed and Breakfast in Little Rock’

South Main Cornbread Festival, a Taste of the South

October 30th, 2013 by Lisa

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Only 5 blocks from the Empress is Main Street’s own Bernice Gardens, home of the Annual Arkansas Cornbread Festival.  The event will draw people throughout the state to the South Main neighborhood of Little Rock.  Focusing on the South’s  history and  one of it’s favorite dishes (Cornbread!),  the festival brings local restaurants and amateur chefs to the table to cook up their favorite cornbread recipe to win cash, prizes and Cornbread Glory!  Join the Empress along with party goers from all over  Arkansas as we enjoy delicious cornbread, local music, and handmade craft vendors the first Saturday of every November.
Follow the Cornbread Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/arkcornbread13/

https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasCornbreadFestival

 

https://twitter.com/arkCornbread13

 

Contact Information

Cindy Hedges
501-663-4181

cindyhedges@me.com

A Little Rock “Staycation” Anniversary Part 1

July 31st, 2013 by Lisa

This past weekend was my 3 year anniversary (yay us!) and I had big “go out of town” plans.  Unfortunately, these coincided with vacation plans of Bob and Sharon (the Empress and her consort).  So I would be spending my vacation at The Empress.  After a brief moment of disappointment, I realized that this was a blessing in disguise.  There was no way I was ever going to find a hotel or B&B nicer than The Empress (in my humble opinion), so I set out to plan an amazing “staycation” anniversary right here in Little Rock.

 

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To start the weekend off with a bang, we stayed in The Hemingway Suite, which I personally believe is the best room in town.  Check out this luxurious room:

 

 

 

 

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Thanks to a restaurant.com suggestion, we had dinner at Lulav Italian Kitchen.  I must add that this restaurant was also recommended by guests from the week before who said that I absolutely must try to Portobello Mushroom appetizer.  And I did.  And it was every bit as delicious as they claimed.  I had a filet mignon that was heavenly and my husband had Shrimp and Lobster Newberg…I was tempted to lick his plate!  Check out their menu.

 

 

 

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After a night in a super soft feather bed (and a whirl in the Jacuzzi tub) we were ready for a busy day.  We got up early and had breakfast at The Root Café.  Only blocks from the Empress on Main Street, this local favorite is a must-do for vacationers.  My eggs banh mi were amazing as was Travis’s omelet and it was all filling, but not so heavy that we couldn’t participate in our next activity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pinnacle mountain sunset

 

Hiking up Pinnacle Mountain.  I was so excited about this as it is always one of my favorite activities.  Unfortunately this is not one of the times where everything went smoothly.  I somehow lost the path and decided to blaze the mountain with no trail.  Horrible idea.  30 minutes later I was sitting on a rock whining about the pain.  Those trails are marked for a reason people!  Follow them!

 

 

Check out our next blog for lunch, dinner, massage and ICE CREAM!  And the rivertrail!!!

 

The Empress of Little Rock “Only in Arkansas”

July 31st, 2013 by Lisa

sign and flowers

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!

Great Time Had by all at Independence Day Celebration!

July 10th, 2013 by Lisa

We love having friends, family, neighbors and guests to entertain, so nothing is better than having them all together!  Our 4th of July celebration (which we combined with the Hornibrook Mansion’s 125th birthday celebration) was so much fun!  All of our nearest and dearest gathered in our gardens to eat, drink and be merry.  Friendships were renewed and new friendships made and potluck dishes were shared by all.  We adore this yearly tradition and cannot wait for next year to do it again!

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Independence Day Brunch at The Empress

July 2nd, 2013 by Lisa

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Guest, Friends, Family and Neighbors, don’t forget the Picnic Lunch on The Empress grounds this Thursday for the 4th of July.  Bring a dish to share and we will enjoy good times and friendly conversations.  Brunch starts at 9 am.  Coffee, juice boxes for the kids and mimosas will be provided by The Empress and the DNA!  We can’t wait to see you.  Afterwards, treat yourself to a free day at the Clinton Presidential Museum and then listen to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra serenade you as fireworks explode at POPS at the River!

 

Happy Independence Day!!!

April Showers brought May Flowers!!!!!

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.

fountain and flowerssign and flowerspink flowers and steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Join The Empress and P. Allen Smith for an Unforgettable Weekend!

March 6th, 2013 by Lisa

daffodil tourP. 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!

 

 Daffodil Tours:

March 7, 2013

March 8, 2013

March 14, 2013

March 15, 2013

March 21, 2013

March 22, 2013

March 28, 2013

Little Rock named one of The Top 10 Most Unexpectedly Romantic

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 PackageValentines Day Packages or the Romantic Waterfall Package.

 

 

“Christmas in The Quarter” offers an inside look at Historic Homes for the Holidays!

November 27th, 2012 by Sharon Welch-Blair

victorian teapot christmas ornament

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:

Quapaw Quarter UMCDesigned 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.

Pollock HouseThe 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.

Villa MarreThe 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.

Xenophon Overton Pindall HouseThe 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.

John H. Martin HouseConstructed 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.

Shelby England HouseThe 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.

 

Packet House serves Great Food with a side of Amazing Architecture

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!

 

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