Friday, November 12, 2010

Saturday, November 6_GW13_Eureka Springs, Arkansas
I must say that the weather for this trip has been spectacularly beautiful.  It has been sunny every day and unseasonably warm, usually between 65 and 70 degrees.  As always seems to be the case for Girls Weekend, God is smiling on us.
So, even though we returned to the room fairly early last night and decided to stay in, we ended up staying up and talking until 4 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!!  I can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late!  But, since Kathi and I had not seen one another since July, we had a lot of catching up to do, so we did.  Once we went to bed, I think we both fell into a dead sleep but we still managed to get up at 10 a.m.  We had big plans for the day.  Our agenda included Quigley Castle and Cosmic Caverns.  
Quigley Castle is not a castle at all.  Just a house that sits a little bit outside of Eureka Springs.  Notice that I didn’t say an ordinary house.  It is not an ordinary house at all.  It is the house of Elise Quigley’s dreams.  It is a house that is covered in the rocks, shells and fossils that Elise collected along the nearby riverbanks since she was nine years old. It is a house that “lets the outdoors in”.  It is the house that has twenty eight windows and an indoor tropical garden.  It is one of the most unique homes that I have ever been in (House on the Rock in Wisconsin would be its main rival, although House on the Rock is just flat out weird, while this place is actually quite charming).

So, back in 1943 Elise Quigley and her husband were living in a fairly ordinary house of the times on their land, but Elise had this house in her head.  Her husband had agreed to build this house of her dreams, but since part of the plan included 28 windows and glass was nearly impossible to get hold of at that time, he wanted to wait.  Elise decided she did not want to wait.  One day, once her husband left to go to work, she and her five children moved all of their belongings into the chicken house, then tore down their existing home, as incentive to get her husband to start building her dream house.  So construction began and about 6 months and $2000 later, the wooden house was built, but no glass was available for the windows for another 3 years.  The family just used blankets as window coverings until they were able to get glass for the windows.  During this time, Elise used her rock, shell, and fossil collection to cover the outside walls.
Today, Elise’s granddaughter lives with her own family in the house and has parts of it open to the public for tours.  She recalls her grandmother working on the wall of butterflies in one of the upstairs bedrooms as her last big project before her death. 

A most unusual, but delightful home.  One well worth visiting if in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
From Quigley Castle, we moved on to Cosmic Caverns, one of many caves in the area.  Kathi loves caves and this is the third cave that we have visited together.  The first was Howe Caverns in the state of New York and the second was Marengo Cave in Southern Indiana.  All have a particular beauty of their own.  This particular cave has two lakes where the bottom has not yet been found.  It is the warmest cave that I have ever been in, about 70 degrees.  Unfortunately a previous owner of the cave decided to stock the lakes with trout and the trout ate up all of the native cave lake creatures.  To this day, the owners of the cave carry on the “tradition” of stocking the lakes with trout, making it impossible for the lakes to be repopulated with the creatures meant to live there.  Nevertheless it is a beautiful cave and Kathi and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

After leaving the cave we went back into town and bought tickets for that evening’s concert at The Auditorium.  The headliner was folksinger Eliza Gilkyson.  Never heard of her before, but apparently she is a fairly prolific singer/songwriter.  Once we had the tickets in had, we went back to the room to rest up a bit and catch up with our e-mails and stuff.  Then back into town we went for the show, which we enjoyed very much.  In fact we enjoyed it so much that we bought Eliza’s latest CD and had her sign it AND had our picture taken with her!! 
Back to the room for a late dinner of Italian leftovers. Kathi called the hospital back in Indianapolis to check on Ridley and see how her day went.  Apparently it was a bit of a rough day for Ridley. The Dr. is still working on tweaking her meds in an effort to get them just right.  We continue to pray for her and ask that all who might be reading this do the same.  We were exhausted after our day full of trekking around the area and listening to good music and turned in a bit early...............after the tossing of the states, Oh, and the count of African Americans still stands at two!             

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