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By Elaine Warner W


Dancing Deer Lodge


hen Carlene Slater and Doug Groesbeck married in 1997, running a bed and breakfast was the last thing on their minds. The couple— members of Central Rural Electric Cooperative—had moved to Still- water to be close to Carlene’s daughter who was in her last year of veterinary medicine training at Oklahoma State University.


“We’d bought a home here and thought we’d live in it for a year, then sell it,” Carlene said.


At that point, the couple did not expect they would like the area so much that they would end up staying. Carlene was working in real estate and among the properties she represented was a house with a pool and hot tub, tucked in the trees on the west side of Stillwater—but she couldn’t seem to fi nd the right buyer. “One night in the middle of the night I told Doug, ‘you know we should just buy that and make a little bed and breakfast,’” she said.


It was one of those sudden decisions that made sense. Carlene had a deceased cousin who had left her a 40-foot trailer full of all sorts of things she’d collected, including a number of Native American pieces.


In addition, Doug and Carlene had pieces of their own. Although neither of them is of Native American heritage, they have always had a great appreciation for the culture. Carlene’s grandfather homesteaded in northwest Oklahoma in the Run of 1891. Archeological digs on his property uncovered a number of artifacts. One of her most prized possessions is a pair of buffalo horns her grandfather found.


“It just seemed to fall together like it was supposed to be, with my cousin hav- ing all those things. I feel so much better that I can share them with people rather


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than just having them in a home where no one sees them but our family,” Carlene said. Because of the collectibles and their own interest, it seemed natural to open a Native American-themed bed and breakfast. “We had never seen a bed and breakfast that was totally Native American. In Arizona or New Mexico, maybe, but in Oklahoma, out of a hundred and some bed and breakfasts, we didn’t fi nd any. We thought this would be a niche in the market,” Doug said.


The couple was concerned about how Native Americans would view the proj- ect. “Doug and I tried to be conscious of how I decorated and the things I used. When I would have a guest who was Native American, I would ask, ‘How do you feel about the way I’ve used Native American items?’ They were always overjoyed,” Carlene said.


The bed and breakfast has three guest areas—two suites and a cottage. The smallest suite, Pathfi nder, sleeps two and features a small porch with wicker chairs for pleasant weather and a fi replace for cozy winter stays. With Northern Indian infl uences, the room was named after the James Fenimore Cooper novel, a copy of which was given to her grandmother as a gift for her teaching efforts. The larger suite, Dreamcatcher, salutes the Indians of the Southwest. The mas- ter bedroom has a queen-sized bed with a log canopy while the sofa in the living area makes into a queen bed for two adults or three children. The living area opens to the pool. A buffalo hide, displayed on the wall of the Prairie Moon cottage, pays tribute to the Plains Indians. The king-sized cedar canopy bed is made up with silky, wine-colored sheets and topped with Indian blanket pillows. Tucked in a corner


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