Saturday, October 8, 2011

Meet Shorty - and his Mom and Dad

A while ago Mom and Dad celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.  25 years!  That's even older than me!  Mom and Dad wanted to go someplace special but not too far away.  Since I haven't been well this year they wanted to be close in case they needed to come home quickly.  The answer - a trip to Hot Springs.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, Hot Springs is for lovers so what better place to go for a romantic weekend away.  And they picked the best place in Hot Springs to stay - Tinkerbelle's Wildwood 1884 Bed and Breakfast.  And that's where they met Shorty.

Mom chose Wildwood because she says it's elegant and yet comfortable and homey.  It is owned by The Colonel and Tinkerbelle.  But Shorty, and his mom and dad, Rebecca and David, really run the place.  They came to Hot Springs from Dallas in 1995 to find the perfect Victorian house and searched for 7 years before finding Wildwood.  The dream of building Wildwood began when Sarah Elizabeth Van Patten of Washington D.C. became the bride of Prosper Harvey Ellsworth, a physician, in 1873. Sarah moved from a highly cultured and socially conscious eastern city to join Prosper in the rough-hewn country village of Hot Springs. Sarah chose the basic design from a magazine and persuaded her brother to do the architectural work.  

As you drive up, you will see Wildwood sitting on a beautiful acre lot set back from Hwy 7 (Park Avenue), nestled in among trees taller than the house. They have plenty of off-street parking and a circle drive to the front which is convenient for unloading luggage.

Mom said one of the best parts of the place is the Butler's Pantry, alias "The Snack Room". Here Rebecca keeps home-baked goodies, bottled water, sodas, popcorn, chips, etc...This is also where you will find the ice machine, ice buckets, refrigerator and microwave. Or, in the main dining room, you can visit the coffee bar for a cup of gourmet coffee, hot tea, or hot chocolate anytime during your visit. All snacks are included in the room rates. Steal a brownie, and then wander around outside and enjoy the grounds and the porches with wicker furniture.  Mom says Rebecca makes the best brownies in the world.  Dad says the chocolate chip cookies are better.  All I know is they didn't bring either one back for me!

Mom and Dad stayed in the Kind David Room. This room is regal with the high-back, half-canopy queen-size bed, complete with featherbed and down comforter. Mom said the room was large enough to relax and Dad liked the TV complete with DVD player.  A wide selection of movies are available to borrow from the TV room downstairs at no extra charge. And Mom fell in love with the antique claw-foot bath tub that's right in the room.  She couldn't wait to enjoy a candlelit bubble bath!  She said Rebecca and David even supply the candles and the bubble bath.

While at Wildwood, Mom had a chance to spend some time getting to know Rebecca and that's when she met Shorty.  Shorty is a miniature dachsund that came to live with Rebecca and David when he was 8 months old.  He was a birthday gift from Rebecca's son to her daughter.  Rebecca's son breeds pitbulls and he traded one for Shorty.  Rebecca says Shorty came when she was out of town so it was a bit of a surprise but now he is just part of the family.

Rebecca and David got into the Bed and Breakfast business to help cover the cost of owning an old Victorian home.  But once they did, they found they loved doing it and so they have kept Wildwood open.  They have 5 bedrooms and 2 cottage suites and are open year round.  Mom said that besides her brownies, Rebecca is known for her famous three-course breakfast that is included when you stay at Wildwood.

Mom said she would have been content to just relax around the house and grounds at Wildwood.  But Dad did want to get and do some sightseeing.  Hot Springs is a great place for a weekend getaway.  Mom loves the lakes and trees, and the history.  Dad loves the fishing.  Plus this trip they took a tour of Fordyce bathhouse.  Mom said it was interesting.  Dad said it looked like a torture chamber!  And of course, Mom took the opportunity to make another visit to Garvan Woodland Gardens.

Small town atmosphere, history, nature, lakes, trees, Bathhouse Row, Garvan Gardens, and Wildwood - Hot Springs sounds like the perfect place for a romantic anniversary celebration.  Maybe next time Mom and Dad will take me so I can meet Shorty.  Until then, when you visit Shorty - and Rebecca and David - tell them Traveling Bob sent you!

To contact Rebecca and David and find out more about Wildwood,  call (501) 624-4267 or (888) 763-3707 (toll free) or e-mail them at  Or visit them online at


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