For this year’s road trip, the 605 team piled into our van for a drive out to Hot Springs for the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival. At dawn during the event, around 30 balloons launched into the ever-changing horizon for spectators to watch.
605’s Cailyn Patterson and I had never been in a hot air balloon before this opportunity, and the experience was worth the early hours. Throughout the weekend, the team also had the chance to explore what Hot Springs had to offer for lodging, food, drinks, attractions, and more.
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
Recreate 605’s road trip! Check out our activities below.
The Historic Burdette House
Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa
Evans Plunge Mineral Springs
Southern Hills Mercantile & Taproom
Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival
Mornin’ Sunshine Coffee House & Boutique
Two Cows Creamery + Bistro
Late Thursday night, the team arrived at The Historic Burdette House and hauled everything into our respective rooms, where we’d be staying for the weekend. Alana and John Snyder in one bedroom and Cailyn and I in the other. The 1891 rental has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a full kitchen, and a spacious living room with fold-out couches.
The next morning, everyone explored the property. Out back includes a sauna, a pond with turtles, a firepit, and a playground.
Just a two-minute walk down the road is Springs Coffee, where the team grabbed caffeinated beverages and substantial breakfast burritos. Many of Hot Springs’ other businesses are also walkable from the Airbnb. Recharged and with full bellies, the 605 team headed down the street to our next stop.
The original Native American name for the Hot Springs area was “Minnekahta,” which means “warm water.”
Relaxing music and aromatic scents washed over the team in the lobby of Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa. Soaking in the hot, mineral-rich pools was a soothing way to start the day.
The six pools range in temperature from 88-104 degrees. One of the pools was built in 1913, while the two newest ones were constructed last year to allow more people to enjoy Moccasin Springs year round.
If guests want to try a different spa experience, they offer aromatherapy, craniosacral therapy, various massages, reiki, facials, yoga, and more
The team stopped by Winner’s Circle—a restaurant and bowling alley—for a quick lunch and milkshakes to prepare to dive back into natural spring water.
TAKE THE PLUNGE
For those traveling with a bigger group of people or with children, Evans Plunge Mineral Springs offers a variety of family friendly activities, including two kiddie pools, volleyball, basketball, swing rings, slides, and the splash pad.
605’s John Snyder tried his hand at swinging across the pool on the Tarzan Rings. It didn’t go as planned, but he had a blast at the attempt. Cailyn, John, and I also made sure to shoot down a couple waterslides.
Since it was founded in 1890, the spring-fed indoor mineral pool has been a destination for wellness. On site, guests can find hot tubs, a steam room, a sauna, the large indoor mineral pool, the outdoor pool, exercise classes, and a gym.
At the base of the indoor pool is natural river stone. Through this floor, spring water flows at 5,000 gallons per minute.
Once our stomachs started grumbling from all of our swimming, it was time for a gourmet meal at Buffalo Dreamer, which is located at Moccasin Springs.
Chef and owner Rebecca Christensen and her staff treated the team to an intimate dining experience with a range of menu items from small plates to entrées and finishing with dessert. We made sure to pair our meals with some wine, too.
Menu items vary with dishes including the Watermelon Jalapeño Salad, Cheese Plate, Swimming Angel, Steak of the Day, and Huckleberry Lime Tarts.
Satisfied, I retired back to the Burdette House for a nap, Cailyn explored Hot Springs on foot, and the Snyders headed out on the town to check out Southern Hills Mercantile & Taproom.
RISE + FLY
On Saturday, the four of us rubbed the sleep from our eyes before the sun had even thought of rising and headed to the Hot Springs Municipal Airport.
At 5 a.m., the team checked into the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival for our sunrise flights. Waiting for our flight time, we sipped coffee and munched on muffins.
As the sun rose into the sky and painted the horizon a rainbow of colors, so did about 30 hot air balloons. 605’s Alana Snyder and I were flying with Garrett Williams, while Cailyn and John went with Hank Humiston.
Soaring above it all, we took in the views and watched as the crowd of spectators grew, just enjoying the experience, though there were a few (literal) bumps along the way.
GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE!
Once the team was safely back on the ground, it was time for more coffee and a bigger breakfast. Mornin’ Sunshine Coffee House & Boutique has an extensive breakfast menu with everything from burritos and sandwiches to French Toast and Corned Beef Hash.
Alana opted for a drip coffee, I tried the Strawberry Smoothie, and Cailyn sipped on an iced Caramel Latte.
After 11 a.m., the locally sourced coffee shop serves a limited breakfast menu and offers lunch options.
After a nap, exploring the town, browsing vendors, and walking by the iconic waterfall, the team worked up an appetite for something sweet. Naturally, it was time to try Two Cows Creamery + Bistro.
Made with milk and cream from Stensland Family Farm, Melissa Holt creates over 120 flavors of ice cream. Customers can also try sorbet, gelato, and vegan iced treat options.
Alongside the 28 flavors available during the busy season and the 16 available during the down season is a full menu of meals. One of the most popular choices is the Build-a-Burger.
Customers can purchase fresh produce, meat, and more at the creamery as well.
LIGHT ‘EM UP
During the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Glow Around Town is a can’t miss. Balloons were stationed at various locations throughout Hot Springs, including The Mammoth Site and Centennial Park.
Entering Butler Park, the sight was one to behold. Tens of massive balloons stood, periodically lit up by the flames that kept them afloat.
Cue John Williams’ The Imperial March. Towering over the other balloons at seemingly twice the size, the Darth Vader balloon stood with the wise Yoda balloon just behind it.
The team made sure to track down their pilots from that morning for a quick hello before grabbing more souvenirs and heading back for an early night.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Use the hashtag #605roadtrip when visiting these Hot Spring destinations!
When the team woke up Sunday morning, we said goodbye to the owners of the Burdette House, and they wished us safe travels home.
After everything was packed into the Sprinter Van, one more stop remained: Minnekahta Coffee.
John was stoked to try their coffee sampling station and choose the perfect roast to bring back to the office.
Cailyn and I grabbed a shirt each, and I stocked up on artisan snacks for the trip.
Souvenirs and snacks in hand, we buckled, hunkered down, and prepared for the long drive home.