Monday, October 27, 2008

Southeast Oklahoma: Up-to-date in the Boonies

Please don't think I'm just a capital city snob -- but the southeast corner of Oklahoma really is in the boonies. It's closer to Dallas than to Broken Bow from here. A big timbering area, this part of the state has suffered economically for a long time. What Okies and others are discovering is that this remote region is possibly the most beautiful area of Oklahoma. It boasts brilliant, blue, Broken Bow Lake, clear mountain streams and lots of wildlife including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. With mature hardwood trees and tall pines, this is a prime spot for fall foliage color. And the Beavers Bend Folk Festival and Craft Show is scheduled for the peak of the season. For a complete article about the festival, check my column in the Edmond paper next Saturday, November 1.

Tourism is becoming big business -- beautiful new lodgings are available and first class dining at Abendigo's is a must. Oklahoma's kickiest (if not most serious) winery is Girls Gone Wine where the labels are bound to bring a smile (a Christmas white wine is called Ho-Ho-Ho -- and, yes, there are three girls, you do the joke!) and the gift shop carries a lot of fanciful and attractive items.

A few miles south in Idabel, the Museum of the Red River is a surpisingly sophisticated institution with a premier collection of arts and crafts of indigenous peoples of the Americas. And you can't miss the giant dinosaur skeleton whose scientific name pays tribute to nearby Atoka County where the first specimens were found.

Another discovery for the area is the blog "Today in Idabel Oklahoma." The product of four interesting women, its entries range from significant local happenings to exchanges on politics and religion (probably sex, too, but I haven't read all the posts yet!). Some of the entries are funny, others poignant, but they are always worth checking out.

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