FROM THE EDITOR:
Every July, we jump to the heart of summer. In Hot Springs, visitors discover what local denizens have known for years — that the quaintness of our town combines quite nicely with fun-in-the-sun activities for persons of every age and interest.
As long as I can remember, the resort city has always held a special allure for people who are attracted to places that are welcoming in nature and offer more than the usual vacation fare.
Particularly fascinating for most who discover the Spa City is how learning more about its history adds color and panache to all the things there are to see and do here. And the size of this unique municipality is only relative, neither defining nor limiting residents’ outlook on their future.
During my girlhood days, I spent many a July day in the company of my maternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Parker Proctor, an inveterate world traveler who nonetheless loved and appreciated Hot Springs’ ambiance and wanted to make sure I did as well.
Familiarly called “Miss Tea” by close friends, she and I — two-piece suit and gloves for her and less formal warm-weather wear that she deemed acceptable for me — would traverse the downtown area, stopping in various shops and looking in the windows of others. She would introduce me to acquaintances, share some lore about these different entrepreneurial ventures, and undoubtedly critique my manners as we went along Central Avenue.
Regardless of my young age on these early excursions, I felt quite grown up as together we took in the environs of the business district, the amazing architecture surrounding us, and the grandeur of Bathhouse Row. On occasion, we would stop by the Medical Arts building where my maternal grandfather, a family physician, once had his office, and spending time in the lobby of the Arlington was always a must if time allowed.
No matter where the ensuing years took me, these mental images remained clear and vivid and on return trips home, I would retrace the steps Tea and I had taken during our exploratory adventures.
Of course, the streetscape has changed dramatically, along with many other aspects of our community — a healthy sign of growth and new possibilities. Hot Springs has certainly broadened its base and thus continues to build on a solid foundation. It’s still sophisticated, sassy and serendipitous. It’s still the place to be. Melinda B. Gassaway Executive editor