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 ‘the empress bed and breakfast’
July 26th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
Want a unique and fun-filled dining experience while staying at the Empress? How about an opportunity to explore the world, while leaving your passport at home? Forty Two, the restaurant at the Clinton Presidential Center, offers this opportunity at its Around the World dining event. Every third Thursday of the month, they invite guests to explore the sights, sounds and flavors of countries across the globe. A different country is featured every month, giving diners the chance to have their taste buds take a tour from Italy to India, without having to leave Little Rock.
A five-course tasting menu provided, with a bargain price of only $27.95, giving visitors the unique chance to sample distinctive flavors from around the world while enjoying a beautiful waterfront Arkansas setting. Enjoy the culture of Melbourne, Australia on July 17th, and then come back for Jeonju, South Korea on August 21st!
Reservations are required, as this event is extremely popular and seating is limited. See more at Forty-Two’s website. Or you can call them at 501-537-0042 to make your reservation.
July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
I’m guessing you’ve already figured out foods are going up in cost rapidly. What a challenge it has been to continue to provide a rich and varied menu that makes a meal special and stay within a budget. In the last couple of years, we’ve been looking at ways we can improve the experience while cutting the costs, from food to cleaning. With nine guest rooms, it doesn’t take long to add up. So here’s a couple of things we’ve come up with that we feel good about that might work for you also.
1-Make you own bread (bread makers make it easy and you know what’s in it) . But mixes are very expensive. We decided that making our own mixes made sense and making 10-12 at a time and putting them in zip lock bags allowed us to buy flour in bulk. We can rinse and reuse the bags, so we don’t add more plastic to the environment. It costs less than $1 a mix making that many at a time, including your time. Our guests love the smell of fresh baked bread wafting thru the house. But they really love the 1″ thick slices of decadent french toast and the cheese strata made with the heels and tops of the loaves.
2-We have our own “Victory Garden” where we raise our own herbs, squash for our golden breakfast pie, cucumbers for our tea sandwiches, figs we use as fresh fruit and we even created a new fig soup for the fall, and now we have our first crop of grapes. We’ve also added a persimmon tree, and we have blackberry canes as well.
Tune in for more “green” ideas and how our experiements have worked out. We’d also love to hear about what unusual thing you’ve done to reduce costs and be “green”
July 16th, 2013 by Lisa
If you are thinking that there isn’t enough to-do in Little Rock for a weekend getaway…think again! Here are just a few of the exhibits that will be in town this month:
1) “How People Make Things” at the Museum of Discovery”-this exhibit was inspired by the factory tour segments from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and offers hands on activities using real factory tools and machines to create objects with four manufacturing processes: molding, cutting, deforming and assembly. Dress up in coveralls, lab coats, aprons, safety glasses, boots and hardhats to become a factory technician, worker or supervisor. You can also use a die cutter, operate a mill to carve a block of wax, assemble golf cart parts, mold pourable wax or play a matching came where audio clues and stories help you match a person to the object they make. This exhibit runs through September 22.
2) “Oscar de la Renta: American Icon”- This is an original exhibit curated especially for the Clinton Center. Trace the fashion evolution and inspiration of Oscar de la Renta from the Dominican Republic, Spain, France and the United States. The exhibit will feature more than 30 of de la Renta’s iconic creations worn by style leader ranging from First Ladies to Hollywood stars. Runs through December 1.
3)”Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London”- this special exhibition showcases 48 masterpieces from the collection known as the Iveagh Bequest. These paintings reside at Kenwood House, a neoclassical villa in London. This exhibit is a unique opportunity to view these paintings, many of which have never before traveled to the United States and are rarely seen outside of Kenwood House. Can be seen at The Arkansas Arts Center through September 8.
4) “Lights! Camera! Arkansas!”- an exhibit featuring the state’s ties to Hollywood, through both movies and television. There are artifacts related to films shot on location in the state, actors born in Arkansas and literary figures whose works were the basis for films shot in Arkansas. Five galleries exhibit costumes, scripts, film footage, awards, photographs, theatre posters and props. The cast of the exhibition includes Mary Steenburgen, Harry Thomason, Julie Adams, Lisa Blount, Johnny Cash, Gail Davis, Levon Helm, James Bridges, Jeff Nichols and Joey Lauren Adams among others. Runs through March of 2015 at the Old State House Museum.
And don’t forget the Empress, an exhibit of Victorian living at its finest! There are daily tours at 11:30 and 3:30, high teas and of course: overnight stays in all of our luxurious bed and breakfast rooms!
June 18th, 2013 by Lisa
We have donned our party hats and blown out the candles for 125th birthday of the Hornibrook Mansion, also known as The Empress of Little Rock. We want to invite everyone to join in this momentous celebration, so we are offering a summer birthday special! Between now and Labor day if you stay two or more days, we will take 25% off of your room price!
The Empress of Little Rock was originally built in 1888 by Saloon Keeper James H. Hornibrook and is known regionally as the finest example of Gothic Queen Anne architecture. Totally restored into Little Rock’s most award-winning bed and breakfast in 1995, entering the Empress of Little Rock is like taking a step back in time. With an authentic peek into Victorian opulence; Whether you are lounging in our gentleman’s parlor or soaking in an antique claw foot tub (original to the house!) you are sure to feel as if you should don your petticoats or top hat and ride off in a horse and carriage. But don’t mistake historic as dated, as The Empress offers the finest of modern day conveniences including featherbeds, museum quality antiques, state of the art hydro massage spa showers, steam and aromatherapy and first class business amenities including wi-fi and on site conference center. Located at 2120 Louisiana Street, The Empress is open to the public for tours Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Groups by pre-arrangement.
The Empress of Little Rock is the subject of numerous magazine articles including Delta Sky Magazine, Southern Women, Southern Living, Arkansas Times, National Geographic Traveler, Country Inns, Victorian Decorating Lifestyles, Victorian Homes, and programs on HGTV. For further information, please call (501) 374-7966.
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.
February 9th, 2012 by Lisa
The Empress’s own Sharon Welch-Blair appeared this Saturday morning, February 4, on Saturday Daybreak. Her recipes are always a big hit, and this one is no different! Here is how to make our famous Croissants a’la Cherries Jubilee:
Croissants ala Cherries Jubilee
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
Spray custard cups with non-stick spray. Cut croissants in half. Spread with cherry preserves. Put into cups and put tops on.
Mix whipping cream with eggs and extract. Pour over croissants and put dollop of preserves on top.
Allow to sit overnight.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes till light & fluffy like a soufflé. Can also be made with orange preserves.
Makes 6 servings
And in case you missed it, here is the video of Sharon’s appearance http://www.katv.com/story/16685719/croissants-ala-cherries-jubilee