This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Turner Falls Arbuckle Country


The beauty of God’s country: Arbuckle Country


By Emilia Buchanan


e call this God’s country,” said Kim Little, just before a long, thoughtful pause. “It’s so peaceful and beautiful. People come here from all around just to get away.


“W


Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series highlighting one of Oklahoma’s six “countries.”


Chickasaw Cultural Center


This scenic, lake-infused section of South Central Oklahoma has been called many names, including “Lake and Trail Country” and most recently, “Ar- buckle Country.”


“This isn’t like going to six fl ags,” Little continued. “Here, it’s so green and pristine.”


Arbuckle Country is comprised of seven counties: Johnston, Love, Marshall, Pontotoc, Carter, Garvin and Murray. Though most of the cities in Arbuckle Country aren’t too populated, the area is in a prime location for visitors from the Oklahoma City and Dallas areas.


Little, the executive director for the Arbuckle Country Marketing Association, said the area does well largely because of the number of visitors from Oklahoma City, Dallas and Ft. Worth. “We’re really lucky to have I-35 running through,” she said. “We have about 9 million people within a three-hour radius.”


Amtrak station


Eliza Cruce Hall Doll Museum


Just two of the area’s attractions, Turner Falls and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, bring in over 2 million of those people annually. With Turner Falls and the Chickasaw National Recreational Area; two of Oklahoma’s state parks – Lake Murray and Lake Texoma; and several other lakes, creeks and rivers in the area, Arbuckle Country is known for its water and outdoor recreation. “There is a definite abundance of water,” said Sandy Pantlik, director of the travel and promotion division of the Oklahoma Tourism Department. “And the terrain of the Arbuckles makes the area very special. Add the Chickasaw culture, and you’ve got a very unique, diverse experience.” The diversity of the land and culture has certainly set the stage for a myriad of attractions and activities perfect for any season. “In the summer it’s water sports, boating and skiing,” Pantlik said. “Lake Texoma is known for Striper fi shing, and Lake Murray is popular for scuba divers.”


In addition to being a popular place for vacation- ers, the Arbuckle area receives thousands of school- aged visitors each summer as well.


“We have Falls Creek and Camp Classen in the summer, which bring roughly 100,000 youth to the area,” Little said. “Then in the spring, the Okie Noodling tourna- ment brings in a lot of people,” Little said. “We even have visitors from overseas who come to that. It grows every year.”


With rugged hiking trails, glitzy casinos, and re- laxing spas, the Arbuckles are just as popular in the


26 OKLAHOMA LIVING


fall and winter months as they are in summer and spring.


“The casinos are great for the area. They offer a completely different type of entertainment, and they bring in some great live music acts,” Pantlick said. “I think they bring in people who may not have thought to visit Oklahoma to begin with. Then those visitors want to come back to do other things in the area.” Some other popular attractions in the area include the Arbuckle Wilderness in Davis, the new Chicka- saw Cultural Center in Sulphur, the Bedre Chocolate Factory and the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, and the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center and McSwain Theatre and Art Gallery in Ada. “The McSwain and Hallie Brown Ford are both bringing in live theatre and dance performances that we’ve never had before,” said Monica Neal, vice presi- dent of corporate services at People’s Electric Coop- erative and Arbuckle Country marketing association board member.


With all the stimulating attractions and activities in Arbuckle Country, visitors will defi nitely want to stay more than one day. Luckily, there are several cozy bed and breakfasts that are more than willing to accommodate them.


“There is a really great bed and breakfast at Lake Murray called Bed and Berth,” Pantlik said. “It is a fl oating B&B. It’s beautiful, and it’s a great place to stay.”


When naming places to stay in the area, Neal gushed about Echo Canyon. “They have wonderful food and an incredible spa,” Neal said. “Their facility is gorgeous too. I have friends who drive up there just to spend a day at the spa.”


But according to Neal, one of the best-kept secrets in the area is the Shiloh Morning Inn in Ardmore. “It’s just down the road from the Chickasaw Na- tional Recreation Area. Shiloh Morning Inn is this beautiful, quiet little place tucked out in the middle of nowhere,” Neal said. “It’s gorgeous.” Though the beautiful scenery and cozy retreats in Arbuckle Country make it a perfect place for a getaway, the communities are what make the area truly unique. “These are your quintessential small towns,” Pan- tlik said. “The people here are proud of their com- munities and take care of them. They have done a really good job of preserving them and keeping them vibrant.”


Not only are the people proud of their communi- ties, they are incredibly friendly too.


“I get phone calls all the time from our visitors who just can’t understand why the people here are so stinkin’ nice!” Little said. “That’s really what sets us apart.”


For more information on Arbuckle Country, visit www.travelok.com or www.arbuckles.com.


Photos courtesy of TravelOK.com


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133