WINGS / QUEEN ANNE MANSION

Parrot, left; Angel, right.Side by side just a hop, skip and jump from the Eureka Springs tourist information center are two Victorian tour homes. One home is called "Wings Tour Home," and the other is called "Queen Anne Mansion Tour Home." Ten dollars buys you a self-guided tour of both.

Is it cool or is it lame, and is it worth ten bucks? That all depends on how you feel about Christmas, Victoriana and exotic birds, because that's what you get in spades at this double attraction.

Queen Anne MansionPictured at left, the salmon gingerbread house is the Queen Anne Mansion. If you can't soak in enough of the Victorian ambiance in an hour tour, you can rent one of the seven overnight rooms for just under a hundred dollars. If that still ain't enough elegance for you, then book the place for your wedding. That will run you anywhere from $350 to $750 depending on the number of guests and the time of year.

Again on the rightWings Tour Home is the Wings Tour Home viewed from one of the balconies in the Queen Anne Mansion Tour Home.

Eureka Springs is one of those places where eccentricity might as well be a public utility, and Wings is itself a quirky attraction. Every room in that green house is decorated year round for Christmas, stuffed with Precious Moments, Hummel and other holiday figurines, holly and mistletoe, nativity scenes, an eleven-foot tall gingerbread house (Giant Gingerbread House Missing a Few Cookie ShinglesThere it is on the left, in case you think I'm making this up.), tinsel and ornaments, ribbons and candles, poinsettias and brightly wrapped packages.

Poity boids poich an' choip.And tropical birds, speaking of things brightly wrapped. Each room, in addition to the Christmas decor has its own aviarium; and in each glass cage is an exotic bird or two or three. Some of the birds talk and some don't.

Find the proprietor in the gift shop. Put to him the obvious question and he will tell you that birds are mentioned in each and every verse in The Twelve Days of Christmas. The more prosaic explanation is that the Evans family, while trying to decide whether to make a Christmas attraction or an exotic bird attraction, decided to combine the concepts.

According to literature published by the tour homes, the Wings home was built here in 1898. The Evans family bought and restored the place in 1978. They found the Queen Anne home in Carthage, MO, bought it in 1984, had it disassembled, trucked here, and reassembled next door to the Wings Tour Home.

The address is 115 West Van Buren. The phone number is 1-800-MANSION.

RTJ--2/1/2001


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