When I was very young, my mother looked into buying a hotel or fisherman’s lodge in Eureka Springs. The town was in much rougher condition then and property was comparatively cheap to the potential the little town in the hills had. No one else she asked wanted to go in on a possible money pit (if the town never came back) so the idea was shelved. Twenty five years later, it is abundantly clear shelving the idea was a terrible move. But there was one place which stuck out, who’s style I’ve liked since then and finally got around to photographing. The hotel is The Joy, and its signage is to die for.
The rates are reasonable, the beds are comfortable, the entire back deck faces into woods, and seriously, those signs. Bear in mind the owners are in the middle of trying to revive the old place, but after the number of abandoned kitschy 1950s Route 66 motels I photographed this summer, I was excited to create this quick post. Structurally, they seem to have mostly completed their projects and are on to the cosmetic side, which is by no means close to complete, but their housekeeping does a phenomenal job of keeping the rooms spotless in spite of the projects going on and the need for fresh paint and such. It’s also conveniently located at the far end of Van Buren, near the upper entrance to the historic loop and out of heavy traffic. If you’re riding through and don’t mind a bit of rough around the edges, you should consider turning your evening’s hotel cost into a sort of preservation investment.