Valentine’s Day – A Romantic Getaway in Fort Smith, Arkansas

What is romance? If you’re like most people – by “people” we mean men – you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about what the definition of romance is. In fact, as some of you read this, perhaps you’ve been struggling with how to plan the upcoming Valentine’s Days. Yes, that’s plural…DAYS! Incase you didn’t know, this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday, which means you have an entire weekend to get romantic with that special someone. So, back to our original question: what is romance? According to Urban Dictionary, romance is when you remind someone why they love you in the first place by offering kind gestures, like…making them a sandwich. In literature, romance is encapsulated by any event that is especially adventurous and/or mysterious, which leads the characters to attach an emotion to the memory of a special event in their lives. While we cannot recommend unexpected sandwich-making (sweet as it may be) as a Valentine’s Day suggestion, we can offer some ideas on how to plan an adventurous Valentine’s Day weekend that your significant other will remember for years to come. Nothing is more romantic than the history of The Old South, which is why a weekend getaway in Fort Smith, Arkansas is the perfect fit. As the original gateway to The Wild West, this border town is full of mystery, history and romance. Here are a few suggestions on what you could do in Fort Smith, Arkansas this Valentine’s Day.


1. Experience Fort Smith’s History

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Built in 1903 by Virginia-native Laura Ziegler, what was originally called The Riverfront Hotel quickly became known throughout the United States as one of the best bordellos in the Southwest. Located on The Row of Fort Smith’s infamous red light district, Miss Laura’s is rumored to have been frequented by some the most famous outlaws in American History, including: Belle Star, Cherokee Bill, The Rufus Buck Gang, The James, Dalton and Younger Gangs, and more. In 1911, Miss Laura sold her bordello to an employee, Bertha Dean, who ran it legally until prostitution was outlawed in 1924. Then, she continued to run it illegally until her death in 1948. After that, ownership exchanged hands several times until it was purchased by The City of Fort Smith. Today, it is the only bordello included in The National Register of Historic Places, and it houses The Fort Smith Visitor’s Center. It only makes sense that you visit Fort Smith, Arkansas’ original house of romance, where Miss Laura’s brothel continues to cater to out-of-towners! While you’re here, be sure to ask one of the history-loving volunteers about the many historic sites in the area or what other ideas they might have for your weekend getaway.

Click here to find out more about Miss Laura’s Social Club and other area attractions in Fort Smith, Arkansas.


2. Dinner Excursion: Romance on the Rails

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Planning a Valentine’s Day dinner that will truly impress your date is possibly the most daunting task you’ll face in the month of February, at least when it concerns the future success or soon-to-come failure of your relationship!!! Let us make this easy for you. What could be more unique than a romantic dinner-for-two inside a leisurely 1920’s vintage pullman coach as you travel alongside the Arkansas River and the through the scenic Ozark Mountains? Answer: Nothing

Okay, go ahead and check “plan perfect dinner” off of your to-do list. You’re welcome. If you cannot make it to dinner, you’re in luck. You can still treat your date to an adventure on the rails from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and travel over the Arkansas River Bridge, through the foothills of the Boston Mountains, across three high trestles (approx. 120 ft high) and through the 1700 ft tunnel at Winslow. Includes lunch, chips, drink, and dessert.

For more information on Romance on the Rails and/or The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad just click here!


3. Performing Arts: Pride & Prejudice

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Opposites attract, right? Well, Jane Austen clearly felt that they did when she wrote, “Pride and Prejudice,” which has become one of the most well-known romantic comedies of all time. This adaptation by Jon Jory pulls from the novel’s  favorited pages to highlight the most impactful moments of Austen’s classic tale. It will be romantic, but it will also be funny. Regardless of your preference, you can enjoy this on-stage adaptation. In an article by Scott Smith of The Times Record, Director Duff Taylor sums it up by saying, “In the story, one character is saying to another character, ‘your family are a bunch of hood rats, but I’ve fallen in love with you, and I don’t know why.’” Like we said, opposites attract!

For more information on the play and how to buy tickets, click here!


4. Post Winery Valentine’s Day Dinner & Wine Pairing

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Let’s be honest…alcohol makes any high-pressure dating situation run a lot smoother. However, this is Valentines Day Days we’re talking about, so it’s time to class it up. Nothing says “classy” quite like a decanter full of vino. So, this makes taking a trip over to Post Winery’s Valentines Day Dinner & Wine Pairing an obvious choice. Enjoy a romantic, five course dinner at the Trellis Room at Post Winery, prepared by Chef Terese Post. First, though, take a tour of the winery and participate in a wine tasting with winemaker, Luke Holcomb, and wine specialist, Lee Green.

Click here for more information on Post Winery and their Valentine’s Day Dinner & Wine Pairing!


5. Nightlife…YEAH!

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Fort Smith isn’t just one of the largest cities in Arkansas, it is also one of the oldest. As the original gateway to The Old West, Fort Smith accumulated quite a broad collection of some of the liveliest bars, lounges and night clubs in Arkansas. From casual pubs to live music venues, there is something here for everyone. They didn’t coin the phrase, “southern hospitality,” for just any reason, and it is our specialty in Fort Smith. Things have calmed down since the earlier days of this city, but a focus on entertaining out-of-owners is something that still exists in Fort Smith.

For a list of nightlife venues in Fort Smith, Arkansas just click here!


Who’d have thought Valentine’s Day planning could be so easy…Well, we did, but that’s because we live in Fort Smith, Arkansas! Happy Valentine’s Day, and we can’t wait for you to experience Fort Smith!

CLICK HERE for a list of places to stay while visiting Fort Smith, Arkansas!

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