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BUFFALO CREEK Continued from page 10

An upstairs theater room – complete with plush, recliner-type seating – is available for use by visitors, as is the lodge kitchen where guests can grab snacks and drinks.

Located behind the lodge is a building the Shaws call their “party barn,” a 46x24 square foot facility decorated in a western theme and accented with old barn wood. The “party barn” is available for rental for large group activities such as weddings, receptions, bus tours, family reunions or cooking classes. On-site custom catering for large group events is also available. Married for 26 years, the Shaws work with their two grown sons – Deston, 22, and Derek, 20 – at the B&B and in a number of other family-owned businesses. The two younger Shaws run the family business, D&D Ag Services. The couple also owns and operates other businesses including the Buffalo Valley Tax Service, Side Saddle Catering and their cattle venture, the Double D Ranch. Dave says the idea to turn their rural acreage – the land on which he was raised – into a guest ranch fi rst developed about six years ago after the couple attempt- ed to fi nd a special B&B at which they could celebrate their 20th anniversary.

“Every place we checked was full,” Dave recalls. “We spent the weekend making notes of what we could do if we turned our cattle ranch into a guest ranch. This all happened about the same time the Oklahoma Ag-

ritourism Program was initiated, a cooperative effort between the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Oklahoma Tourism and Rec- reation Department, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The agency’s fi rst director, Francie Tolle, was a personal friend, so we had some insight on how the state was intending to promote the agritourism industry.”

For the next three years, the Shaws researched op-

portunities that were quickly becoming available in the state’s booming agritourism industry, decided which ones might fi t their operation and developed a business plan. Then came the hard work – digging the ranch’s fi ve-acre fi shing pond, custom designing and construction of the guest lodge, building the large solar-heated in-ground pool, and constructing the “party barn” and other facilities. During the past two years, Darleen jokes, Shaw family members “haven’t had a life” outside of building and developing their new venture.

Though the couple offi cially launched their busi- ness with a booming fi reworks-fi lled grand opening celebration on July 2, they’ve entertained guests at the lodge during the spring and summer months. And many of those guests have left favorable feedback on their time spent at the rural B&B.

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“My husband (Earl) and I celebrated our 28th an- niversary at the beautiful Buffalo Creek Ranch, “says Lisa Peel of Wetumka. “The Shaws were so sweet to us. They treated us like family. The food, room and pretty drives were amazing.”

The Shaws are happy to offer suggestions to guests

I could control the rooms I use the most. My bills were as low as $75 ...before it was typically $300.

RICHARD LOSTRILITO Rockville, Maryland

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View in the 1,000-acre area of the Buffalo Creek Guest Ranch in southeastern Oklahoma.

on other recreational opportunities in their corner of southeastern Oklahoma, including a visit to Sardis Lake – just 10 miles down the road. Or for those really adventurous spirits, there’s always paragliding from the heights of 2,600-foot Buffalo Mountain. Known for its majestic fall scenic views, the Talimena Skyline Drive starts just down the road near Talihina, stretch- es 54 miles across the Ouachita National Forest and ends in Mena, Ark. Other sites of interest that are also located close to the guest ranch include the Choctaw Capitol Complex at Tuskahoma and Robbers Cave State Park, north of Wilburton. More information on Oklahoma’s newest guest ranch is available on their website at: www.buffalo- or by calling 1-877-527-4207. OL

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Courtesy photo of BCGR

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