Day 1 – Arrive Fort Smith – Miss Laura’s Social Club
With an early afternoon arrival, you begin your tour at the historic Visitors Center, also known as “Miss Laura’s Social Club.” It is the first bordello in America to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There were seven “houses” lining “The Row” in Fort Smith’s Old West red light district in the early 1900’s, but Miss Laura’s is the only one to stand the test of time. Fully restored to its original grandeur, Miss Laura herself (in period costume) will greet your group and lead the tour…providing you a glimpse behind the doors of a former bordello.
Next at the Fort Smith National Historic Site, you can step back in time as you tour Judge Isaac C. Parker’s Courtroom (known as the hanging judge), visit the old jail known as “hell on the border” and hear voices from the past. See a replica of the gallows where 79 men met their fate at the end of a rope.
Check into your hotel for a three night stay, before your evening of dinner and entertainment. Barbeque meal with all the fixin’s at the Events Building on the banks of the Arkansas River where Miss Laura’s Players will entertain with a light-hearted original comedy skit “The Medicine Show on Hanging Day”. It’s set in Fort Smith during the days of Judge Parker, Belle Starr, and other infamous local characters. (D)
Day 2 – Driving Tour – Elvis’ Haircut – Mount Magazine – Wiederkehr Wineries
Your day of sightseeing begins with a windshield sightseeing tour of the Historic District and landmarks, including the site of the U. S. Marshal’s Museum being built near downtown.
Next, tour the Barber Shop at Fort Chaffee where Elvis got the famous haircut in 1958 that was “heard around the world” as he was inducted into the U. S. Army. Learn the history of Fort Chaffee, which was built to train World War II recruits as you tour the Chaffee Military Museum.
Lunch is included today at the Mount Magazine Lodge and you will also have time to enjoy the beautiful scenery from the highest point in Arkansas, followed by a tour of the Visitors Center.
This afternoon visit Wiederkehr Wine Cellars, the oldest in the region (1880) on the slopes of the Ozarks atop St. Mary’s Mountain and stop by St. Mary’s Church. Vineyards surround the beautiful winery and this evening you will enjoy a tasting followed by a fabulous dinner featuring excellent Swiss wines and European specialties. (B,L,D)
Day 3 – Arkansas & Missouri Railroad – Electric Trolley – High Tea – Murals
The day starts with a windshield tour of the beautiful Murals in Downtown Fort Smith. The vibrant murals on the downtown walls have been painted by a team of world-renowned international artists. The murals have positioned Fort Smith as one of the Nation’s top destinations to experience truly-unique artwork!
Next, you ride on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, in an authentic 19th century passenger car, for a beautiful excursion through the Ozark Mountains. This one-way tour excursion takes you through the ruggedly beautiful Boston Mountain range of the Ozarks, over valley trestles and through the 1700-foot long Winslow tunnel. This is some of the most breathtaking scenery you are likely to see in “The Natural State”. A Box Lunch will be provided. Your motor coach will be waiting in Winslow to return your group to Fort Smith.
Then you visit the Fort Smith Trolley Museum which operates a restored 1926 electric Birney Streetcar that carries passengers on a ¾ mile stretch of track located between Fort Smith’s historic Garrison Avenue and the National Cemetery where Judge Parker is buried. They have a collection of rail cars on display here that includes the Frisco 4003 Steam Locomotive and a Western-themed village located just outside the museum which hosts an occasional Robbing of the Trolley and shootouts by the Indian Territory Pistoliers reenactment group.
The afternoon also features high tea, with all the elegance of the Victorian era at the Clayton House (circa 1850). It is the restored home of William Henry Clayton, Prosecuting Attorney for Judge Isaac C. Parker and contains many authentic Clayton family heirlooms.
Tonight, dinner is included at Taliano’s Italian Restaurant, housed in the James Sparks home. Built in 1887, this Romanesque-Victorian has its original interiors, including chandeliers and hand-carved fireplaces. While dining, Judge and Mrs. Parker will come by to greet the group. If someone in your party has been misbehavin’ while in Fort Smith, he may even bring a deputy. (B,L,D)
Day 4 – After breakfast, depart for home. (B)