Catfish To Go on a Cool Sunday Night in October

When I first visited Hot Springs, Arkansas in October of 2018, it was to finalize the real estate purchase of the "Twisted Willow Lodge." #twistedwillowlodge I got a chance to stay a few days and relish the euphoric sensation of my new endeavor of owning a vacation property.

Twisted Willow Lodge sits on 5 private acres just minutes from Hot Springs

Those first days were filled with new discoveries at every turn, a constant flow of affirmations that I was in the right place at the right time for me. Every person I met was over-the-top friendly, conversational, super helpful, and eager to welcome me to their historical city with what I have learned to think of as “Pride of Hot Springs.” Even today, I am still greeted with great pride and enthusiasm with each new person I meet "from these parts," but that particular weekend, it was concentrated in a way that I literally felt like I was walking in the hazy state of a dream. There were times when I had to stop and look around and reaffirm for myself that this adventure was/is real and that I wasn’t part of my very own “Truman Show.”

Among the "crucial" supplies purchased for the rental were Woodland Creature Toys for our future furry guests. Foster got to pick his favorite to celebrate the special weekend, then we put the rest away for guests.

It was a full weekend. I closed on a Friday morning and immediately started interviewing contractors and suppliers for what would be a major interior/exterior renovation of the property (more on that later.) In addition, I started working to outfit an entire home with furnishings, textiles, supplies, appliances, etc. from literally nothing. Sunday evening, after a long, yet exhilarating weekend smattered with an ample supply of awe and glee, I sadly had to say good-bye to return home for work on Monday. Shortly before sunset, I took some last pictures of the property so I could capture the moment in time, (plus also so I could obsess about every detail later!) I collected my 6-month old puppy, Foster, and set out to make the 5 hour drive home to Keller, Texas.

Along the front of the property are tall pines, and then behind them, the Trap Mountain range.

Deep in the wooded backyard, you can see the cabin high above the creek bed.

This creek that runs diagonally across the entire property was a great surprise during my first thorough inspection of the place.