Info for RVers...

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...from a fulltime RVer
Activities & Necessities
nearby Lake Ouachita State Park

Ron Coleman Mining

Hwy. 7 North (14 miles north of Hot Springs)
(12 miles from Lake Ouachita State Park CG)

501-984-5396

Here's a working mine that opens an area to the public so we can have the thrill of discovering our own treasures to take home. You can get down and dirty while you mine for the sparkling quartz crystal beauties that are only found in Arkansas. The surrounding green mountains make for nice views, too.
It was great to meet some fellow RVers. This was also the first visit for Virgil & Dolores Shuster from W. Palm Beach, FL. They said they RV about 6 months out of the year, returning to FL once the hurricane season is over. Here they are holding their favorite find (insert shows larger detail).
Now here's a guy who knew what he was doing - Justin Thurman from Princeton, Kansas has been coming here for 5 years. It was his girlfriend, Dana Frerichs', first time and she's showing her 2 point crystal here. Justin was real nice about sharing his tips for making the most of your mining experience. He said his best finds are in the "peanut butter mud" so look for the mushy stuff and turn over rocks or pick around. The crystals look black nestled in the dirt as they're absorbing the color of the dark earth. Other tips: wear gloves because some of the shards are sharp and knee pads come in real handy. He said it's actually easier to see the crystals on rainy days when he just basically sits in the mud and digs around, so wear old clothes. On hot and sunny days like we had today, be sure to wear sunscreen and bring lots of water to drink. He warned me about "Crystal Fever" - a condition that makes you forget such important things in the excitement of finding your own gifts from Mother Earth.
And here's what I came home with - I was thrilled to find a traditional shaped single pointy one (sitting on top of the dark rock) and the double point to the right. Too bad the pic just doesn't do justice to the beauty of any of these treasures. Afterwards, I could have spent all day just looking at the rocks, crystals and slag glass in the gift shop - some truly incredible things there, but nothing compared to the blast I had finding my own!
Crystal Ridge RV Park - within walking distance from the mine is a nice little RV park with a total of 24 spaces. All have water and 30 amp service, and 10 have sewer hookups. All sites are $12.50/night on a first come basis - no reservations accepted. There's showers, laundry room and dump station here, too.
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NEARBY NECESSITIES
You can get a few very basic food items at the Visitors Center, but if you need to stock up a bit, the closest shopping is in Hot Springs Village, about 11 miles from the park. While there's a Super Wal-Mart a little bit down the road, if you prefer a more homey grocery, Cranford's Village Pantry is a pretty good sized store with a pharmacy, bakery and deli. Sign says their meat is cut fresh daily w/ no chemicals, solutions, or additives.

All these are in the same general area going through Hot Springs Village. Leaving the park on 227 for 2.5 miles, left on 192 for about 6 miles to the intersection of 7 & 192, then south on 7 for less than 2 miles to where the shopping begins.
Groceries /
Shopping
Cranford's Village Pantry
Super Wal-Mart
Dollar Store (and a couple other local discount stores)
Walgreen's
AREA RESTAURANTS

The Home Plate Cafe

5110 N. Hwy. 7
Hot Springs Village, AR 71909
(at intersection of 7 & 192)
501-984-6969

Open Mon - Sat from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This is the closest restaurant to the park, about 8 miles away. It's real good ole' home cooking, starting with breakfast from 7 - 11:00 am, then lunch & dinner until 8 pm. I highly recommend their Philly Cheesesteak and seasoned fries, but Caroline, my friendly waitress, said their most popular dish is the fried catfish filets, and that the cook is well known for how good his steaks are. She also told me that one of the owners, Pat, was well known as "Queen of Desserts." It's not on the menu because it changes every day, so be sure to save room. I couldn't resist the carrot cake featured that day and I wish I had another piece right now! Other specialties are her key lime, peanut butter and chocolate pecan pies. There are also main dish specials each day. Please give my regards to Pat and Dale when you drop by.

El Acapulco Authentic Mexican Restaurant

104A Cedar Mountain Circle
Hwy. 7 North
Hot Springs Village, AR 71909
(2 miles from intersection of 192 & 7)

501-321-1680

Open 7 days a week at 11:00 a.m.

The Texan in me demands a Mexican Food fix whenever possible, so I stopped here for lunch on my way to Wal-Mart. Not only is the food really good, they have combo lunch specials at really reasonable prices. I got the "Speedy Gonzales" which was the perfect amount for me - crispy beef taco, cheese enchilada and Spanish rice. The manager, Hector, said their most popular items are the chicken specialties and fajitas. They also have seafood and veggie combos, so lots of choices here with many dinner combos. And if you're into Margaritas, stop by on Thursday night when they're $1.99!
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