For the second stop on our Spring Break adventure, we headed down the river to Helena, Arkansas. We stayed at the Best Western in West Helena, then drove into town the next morning. The very first thing Mom and I both noticed were how nice and welcoming everyone is! Our first stop was the visitor’s center, were we met Gloria and Dawna (hey y’all!). They gave me the low down on EVERYTHING that could be done in Helena. One of my big planning mistakes, it seems, was coming on a Monday: ALMOST everything was closed. No matter, we found a whole bunch of things to do, and we had a great time.
The town itself is filled with history, from being a stop on the Underground Railroad, to being home to a major Civil War battle. They are the only downtown on the Mississippi for 300 miles, and they are working hard on restoration/preservation of the beautiful historic buildings they have. We drove downtown, and were lucky to find The Delta Gypsy!
They have high-end, beautiful products, from many different suppliers. We were greeted immediately, and after talking to the owners for a short time, found out that they are opening a bed and breakfast this summer in Helena Arkansas, the Allin House. Mom and I drove by the building they are renovating for it, and I have to say, It’s going to be gorgeous! I will definitely be revisiting Helena in the future, and giving them a call! After our little stop shop, we started to hit some of the important sites of the town. From the Levee walk (with it’s beautiful mural of influential people) to the River Park (where you can watch tug-boats pushing their barges up and down the river), the impact that being on the Mississippi has had on this town is evident.
After spending time on the river, we drove to the Confederate Cemetery. It was breathe-taking, and I know I speak for my mom and myself when I say that the unknown soldier’s graves broke our heart. Cemeteries are a place where time stands still, and this beautiful hill on the edge of Helena really created that atmosphere. The Confederate Memorial was at the very back of the plots, and up on a hill, separated. The drive is beautiful, the stonework of the graves is amazing, and the history itself if thought-provoking. Mom took a specific liking to two of the grand angels, in the lower section of the cemetery.
Though this isnt a picture of the “actual” battery, my favorite thing about this site was the view of the town, and the Mississippi River. Of course, mom and I took a TON of pictures up here. It was a major site of a very important battle in the Civil War, and the victory won Eastern Arkansas for the Union. There are a lot of different information podiums and replications on the battery itself. After visiting these sites, our last stop was to talk with the Dana Chadwich, who owns and runs the Edwardian Inn, a gorgeous bed and breakfast that has been in Helena for many years. The house was built in 1904 by a successful business man, and has been a private family home, an apartment building, an alcoholic rehabilitation center, among other things. It has been wonderfully preserved, and walking the halls seems to take you back in time. Helena is a small, history-rich town, filled with wonderful people and wonderful sites. It may not be your first destination idea for Arkansas, but you wont be disappointed if you choose to visit! This stop was Mom’s favorite, and it has definitely made it high on my list. Up next is Oxford, MS, coming to you soon!