The Historic Shaver House in Mena
In June, Don and I pulled up to this lovely home in southern Arkansas.
The current owners live in the home and rent out guesthouses on the property. In 1898 it was built as a home, for Judge Benjamin Shaver and his family.
Mena, Arkansas was not our destination. but it was a good stopping point on our June road trip to Missouri.
Don and I like staying in small towns, especially when there's a historic downtown, with an old hotel. This time, we were excited to stay in an actual neighborhood, just a short walk from downtown.
June 19, 2021
We arrived on Juneteenth, the first time the day was recognized as a National holiday. When I spotted the colonial home with its ionic columns, I thought of Gone With the Wind. It was a little eerie, since I'd been thinking of the sobering history of Juneteenth on our drive. I was glad to know the house wasn't old enough, to have a history connected to the Civil War.
However, I learned that Judge Shaver was the son of Fighting Colonel Shaver, a Confederate War hero. I decided to not think about that. But I did think about another period, when this colonial revival home, became Mena's first hospital. That's a good bit of history!
Today, the Vacca Family lives in the grand home. We met Scott Vacca when we arrived and he couldn't have been more welcoming.
He ushered us to a side entrance near the Carriage House. I would have loved to have stayed in that old building with its history and charm, but it was booked. We grabbed our bags and followed a few pathways.
We were booked for the Parisian Loft, which was located in a structure above the the garage and another guest room.
We carried our bags up the staircase and I kept fingers crossed.
I was excited about the loft room, but a little concerned about size.
The reviews were great, except for the ones that cautioned... "Don't book this room if you're tall."
Charming and Cozy
We stepped inside and right away, I had no worries.
Don is 6'2" and he's spent a lot of time navigating small spaces in old hotels. This cozy room had a lot more space than the website photos revealed. He was fine. My own photo reveals a foil covered plate... fresh chocolate chip cookies!
I loved the feel of our cozy space. It felt like a storybook room or even the room I loved in my Grandmother's house.
The room in "Daw's" house had lots of gables... windows and angles. I adored that as a child. When we visited, I shared it with my siblings and the windows were always open, letting in the sounds of cicadas... the breeze blew the chiffon curtains all night. We had no crickets or breeze, in the Parisian Loft. We did have luxurious linens and nice beside tables and lamps, plus a decent TV mounted on the wall.
The sitting area was small, but very useable. It was helpful having a small fridge and microwave and coffee maker.
The bathroom amused me. It was clean and new and comically small. However it made the absolute best use of the available space. I warned Don to be careful with his head, but he was fine. "I'd rather deal with tricky ceilings, than a claw-footed tub."
Towards the back of the property, we found a couple small rental cottages and some fun sitting areas.
If the weather hadn't been in the 90's, we might have met some of the other guests, around the fire pit.
We didn't meet any others near the hatchet throwing, either.
This totally cracked me up. It looked like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
We have never had a chance to try this sport. Don tossed his hatchet and managed to land it into the wood on the first try. (Is that even the object?) My expression and form (in photo) says it all. I tried a few times, then stopped before I injured something or someone.
It was a little too hot for lounging.
We admired all the options, but never tried out the hammock or Adirondack chairs.
Our little porch had a pretty view of the yard, with purple hydrangeas and a pond with goldfish.
We waited until morning to make use of the porch. In the early hours, it was shady and cool!
We made use of our coffee maker and enjoyed the morning birds and fresh air.
I think there were other guests, but it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
Walking to Town
In the morning and in the evening before, we walked to town.
When our overnight stays include some walkable sights, I'm extra happy. The town was quiet and dining options were slim, but we enjoyed exploring parks and neighborhoods, both times of day!
I'll remember the peaceful and pretty property and our walks into town. And I also must add, that our stay was priced at under 100 dollars. That is notable!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!