This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Alabaster Caverns Cave


RED CARPET Oklahoma's west wins tourists over with By JuliAnn Graham Beaver Dunes Park


pet for visitors, this northwest Oklahoma region encompasses 16 counties, several state parks and three waterparks. Although it has a plethora of beautiful sights and things to do, friendly people still make the region what it is today. Visitors to the Oklahoma Pan- handle usually pass through Guy- mon, where they will fi nd a peaceful resting spot with places for the kids to play in Sunset Lake at Thompson Park. The park has a miniature train, paddleboats and a handicapped- accessible fishing dock. Guymon also makes an excellent place for a pit stop with the new Urban Bru coffeehouse off Highway 64, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in February.


D


“People need to know that the distances are pretty extreme here,” Melyn Johnson, program director for Main Street Guymon, said. “The distances are extreme but they’re very easy to travel. The highways are straight and non-congested and it can be beautiful.”


Alabaster Caverns Naturalist Tandy Keenan


Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse and Adventure Quest


Johnson, a Tri-County Electric Cooperative member, has worked for the state tourism department and is a past board member of the Red Carpet Country Association. She recommends Black Mesa State Park and Nature Preserve, near Ken- ton, to anyone looking to explore the Panhandle and its unique sights. The park boasts the highest point in the state of Oklahoma and visitors can hike to the summit from the nature preserve.


“What I think is the most interest- ing is, as you travel to the northwest, you get higher and higher in altitude until, when you get to Kenton, you’re at the foot of the Rockies,” Johnson said. “It’s a part of Oklahoma that people don’t even realize exists. It’s Oklahoma on Mountain Standard Time.”


The park has several bed-and-


breakfasts in the area, one of which is the Hitching Post. The Hitching Post is a working ranch that offers


30 OKLAHOMA LIVING 30 OKLAHOMA LIVING 30 OKLAHOMA LIVING


ubbed Red Carpet Country by the state because friendly locals roll out the red car-


guided tours and horseback riding in addition to lodging. Bob and Jane Apple run the ranch and B&B with the help of Jane’s 99-year-old mother Ina K. Labrier.


“My grandfather came to this area in 1882 and hired onto the ranch as a broncobuster,”


Jane Apple


said. “That was when it was the 101 Ranch. When it broke up into small- er ranches, my daddy and his young- est brother began to build this ranch in the mid-1940s.”


The family started the B&B about 13 years ago to meet the need of visi- tors coming to the area wanting a place to stay overnight. They started off with a couple of mobile homes and later upgraded to a house in Kenton. Now, the B&B consists of two log cabins and a mobile home where folks can stay.


From the highest point in Okla- homa, visitors can go to the sand dunes in Beaver. The Dunes are a popular place to ride dune buggies and other all-terrain vehicles. The Beaver Dunes are a smaller park than the Little Sahara State Park near Waynoka, which is also part of Red Carpet Country and is also popular for ATV riding. However, Beaver lays claim to the Big Beaver, a giant statue of a beaver holding a cow chip. The Big Beaver is a popular photo prop for tourists year round. The cow chip represents the World Cow Chip Throwing Championship Contest held every April in Beaver. Just outside of the Panhandle, near Freedom, the Alabaster Caverns offer fun for the more adventurous folks. “This is a unique experience to the United States,” Park Naturalist Tan- dy Keenan said. “It’s the only place that most people will be able to see a gypsum cave.”


Keenan, a member of Alfalfa Elec- tric Cooperative, has also visited the Great Salt Plains State Park near Jet. “It’s spectacular for bird watch- ing,” she said. “Because it’s in a fl y- way zone, you see a lot of migratory species that use the Great Salt Plains as a stopover.” The Gloss Mountains near Fair-


view offer a unique place to hike from sunup to sundown. While camping is not allowed, the state


park has a 1.2-mile trail and stairway system for visitors to enjoy. Someone driving along Highway 412 looking for a pretty picnic spot would enjoy this park where the selenite refl ects light, giving the Gloss Mountains their name. They are also sometimes called the ‘Glass Mountains.’” Red Carpet Country isn’t only parks and scenery—it also offers some great museums. One of those is Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse and Adventure Quest in Enid. Fo- cused on art and science, Leonardo’s also has an area with animals from snakes to chinchillas that guests can pet with the help of a warehouse em- ployee.


“We feel that here at Leonardo’s we give children the opportunity to be an artist, to be a scientist and to play with a purpose,” Leonardo’s Executive Director Julie Baird said. “We look at our guest services team as play facilitators. They can get the kids playing or show them new things they haven’t discovered yet. We train that here; that’s part of the wow.”


The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, also in Enid, offers education and entertainment for all ages. The center has fi ve galleries to explore the history and development of the Cherokee Strip. The only re- maining 1893 U.S. Land Office is part of a collection of four historical- ly signifi cant buildings at the center. Ponca City has the Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum where one can learn about the history of women in Oklahoma as well as gaze upon the 30-foot statue. The Standing Bear Native American Park, Museum and Education Center is where visitors can see a tribute to all Native Ameri- cans in a bronze statue of Ponca Chief Standing Bear. Ponca City is also a great place to learn about the history of oil with the new interactive Conoco Museum.


For the water-loving folks, lakes


in the Red Carpet Country region include Kaw Lake near Ponca City and Canton Lake near Canton. Wa- terparks are located in Woodward, Enid and Ponca City.


The people in the communities of Red Carpet Country are really


Photo by JuliAnn Granham


Photo by JuliAnn Granham


Photo by Erin Moore


Photo by JuliAnn Granham


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  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138