Hot Springs : Dismal, Scenic, Calm
We have lived 15 miles outside HS for nine years and are retired. I have not once seen a child swing on a swing or go down a slide. I've not seen a park for kids with the exception of what is called The Tank. Traveling from Hot Springs Village to downtown (which is Hot Springs proper)there is an area on a corner that has a stream with ducks with a small bridge you walk across to get to the tank and the pavilion. It is very shaded so there are no flowers or landscaping so it is not attractive. For birthday parties the kids can crawl all over a WWII tank then eat on a picnic table under the pavilion. There are no swings or slides. They do have a portable toilet thingy. it is right at the entrance to a National Park. Boy, is that a stretch. It is simply a 1/4 mile winding road with hills on one side and on the other side is an RV "Park" with Zero facilities. People say you can hike up the hill behind the RV park but I never see anyone doing it. The speed limit is 30. If you get caught going over that the ticket is $100. Across this street that has the tank is a shack like structure that sells tough, dry BBQ. People actually go there, not knowing what great BBQ tastes like. Ugly place. Take-out only.
If you choose to go straight and not go down the 1/4 road thru the National Park, in about ten minutes you'll be in Hot Springs. Some people think it's scenic and pretty; some say it's dismal and poor looking. It's just Central Avenue
with stores and eateries (a few, half are for sale) on one side and the Bathhouses on the other. The bathhouses are very pretty and nicely landscaped; very old and to me depressing inside. In front of them are in-ground pools of steaming hot water with smoke coming up. Sort of like a baby Yellowstone. I have never had a decent meal on Central-at least not on this part which is the old part. It is Very poor eating at best. Tourists walk up and down, looking at the art galleries. We bought a Thomas Kinkade painting in one. And they have a few very nice boutiques with upscale ladies' clothing. Keep going straight a few miles and now you're in the newer part of HS. There is a great Lowe's,
a TJ Maxx, Petsmart, San francisco Bread Company, Pier One,
Chick Fila, a bakery, a Shoebox, Office Max and a department store. This entire ride from the tank to here is slow , pleasant driving, not over 40mph. Go another 2 miles and you come to a huge Walmart, then past that are all the new great hotels like the Embassy Suites.
When you are downtown, in the old section, if you turn off Central you will or could find where the drug dealers hang out. I would NEVER go downtown past dark. Around these neighborhoods are something that seems unique to me: men who can walk that are in wheelchairs to collect disability. I have SEEN them walk down steps then get onto their electric wheelchairs. If a person is very poor and can get on disability , HS is a great place. These guys go up and down the streets, up to bank drive-up windows, into restaurants then can go inside an old hotel and ride the elevator to their hotel room (lots of people here live in old hotels).
You can eat for almost nothing at Levi Hospital.
I haven't heard much about the HS school district but Fountain Lake and Lakeside are good schools. Very little racial diversity and Ft Lake is really big and nice . They had tennis courts which are being moved and a new Middle School is going up now. The baseball field is in the back of the school complex and a bus actually drives you from the front parking lot up to that field! And they have a LOT of different foods to eat during the games. Lots of school spirit, great band, caring, warm teachers and principles.
In fifth grade, Ms Crook and Ms Lampo come to mind as very caring people who want to be involved with your children.
The elementary principle is top-notch. The kids HUG HIM when they come into the school building. You simply feel "at home" in Ft Lake Schools. Miss Tracy, the Middle School receptionist / secretary is a lovely, precious person. A real asset to the school's image. Much loved. The students will come into her office just to say hi.
Taxes are Really low here. Home prices are low. you can get an old, unheated house for 25K and that is higher than it used to be. On Lake Hamilton you can pay 450K for a house.
Night life? Forget it. There is one nightclub and we've never been inside and never will be. One thing I miss about Texas is the sandy loam soil. The soil here is awful; full of rocks. I can't grow any veggies here.
The climate is great. It snows about 2" a winter then is gone in 2 days or less. June to September are hot and humid with 99 degree weather for 2 wks straight not unusual. Temps go down to about 20 at night in the winter; I love it. This is not a windy area. We have hundreds who have moved here from Nebraska, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York. Older people.
We have an outlet mall down near the Walmart I mentioned that is small in comparison with others I've seen and again, the traffic is nothing and slow moving. We have a new Ruby Tuesday, lots of new banks, a Chili's, lots of Sonics,
a PIZZA BUFFET that is really good but crowded with a gameroom in the back. They even have chocolate pizza.
Our large new Chinese buffet is good and never crowded.
And there are two older ones that are smaller.
The people are friendly, not as much as East texans and the food is not nearly as good as there but, then, we don't have the traffic.
Bp | Hot Springs Village, AR