TKCM Travels - Oklahoma

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I've wanted to write this post for a while now, but I was never really sure how to write it. I felt like my words would never do justice to the time we spent in Oklahoma in early summer. My mom and I have watched every episode of The Pioneer Woman since it aired in 2011. My all time favorite is their first Christmas spent with us. Going into Pawhuska for the town Christmas parade. Playing Dirty Santa with the whole family. Those Duchess Potatoes look amazing! And we've been making her cinnamon rolls for over a year now and they freeze beautifully, if you can make them last that long.

So to say that a trip to Pawhuska was a necessity is an understatement! When she first announced that the Mercantile would open last October, my mom and I made plans to visit over Spring Break. Unfortunately, life had other plans, so we postponed our trip to June. And a visit to Oklahoma was a first time for all of us. It's a super easy drive and honestly takes less than four hours. Totally doable for a long weekend which is what we did. However, I could have used an extra day or two as there are some fun things to do around Pawhuska that I think McKinley would have loved to do. Next time, because I'm already planning our next trip.

Once we checked into the Hampton Inn in Bartlesville, as there was no where to stay in Pawhuska, we decided to head downtown to see what this quaint town had to offer. Well, it turns out there is a quite a lot! Especially for McKinley. He immediately noticed the retired steam engine that was parked right outside the Visitors Center which was once the Depot to this Atchison, Topeka, and Sante Fe. Along with the steam engine, there was the coal tender, I believe a tanker car, and a caboose. Coming soon is a hay car that's currently being restored and will be added to this mighty display. One thing to note, you can enter the steam engine and pull the bell during the week. On weekends, you can pull the whistle. We will have to plan our trip over the weekend for McKinley's sake! 

 From there, we strolled the tiny town which reminded us so much of Abingdon, VA, a place we love and adore. We stopped in a couple of local shops and had a pizza dinner at the Hideway Pizza. Next time, mom and I are hitting up one of the finer local restaurants. McKinley got his way last time! There are so many eateries to try! There are tons of things for kids to do like the Bartlesville Kiddie Park. The Kiddie Park is an outdoor children's amusement park where each ticket is .50 cents and each ride takes one ticket. Admission is free. And, they offer free rides on the train right before closing. We caught a glimpse, and a photo with the local buffalo's! I would have loved to find them all! Check out all of the fun things Bartlesville has to offer!

Day two took us to Pawhuska! We were so excited to be at The Mercantile and to surround ourselves with all things Pioneer Woman! Again, we've been watching her show since it aired so we feel like we know the town just as well as the locals do. We past her grocery store, found the Welcome to Pawhuska sign (you know the one), and of course spent as much time as possible inside the Mercantile. This place is so incredibly special! The space is incredible. So much bigger than you would expect and the attention to detail in everything surrounding it is amazing! The lighting is everything. The oversized shelving and cabinetry is stunning. The floor to almost ceiling windows allow for so much natural light. The massive staircase that leads you to the second floor is perfect the numerous site seers and shoppers that enter daily. Even the bathrooms, that I didn't take photos of, are gorgeous! This place is heaven for anyone who loves to shop for the home, kitchen, children, husbands, and yourself. Ree Drummond is a visionary!

We headed upstairs to grab a seat and take it all in, but found ourselves in just the bakery line. Not a bad line to be in, but we decided we would rather indulge in the Pioneer recipes. But not before my mom discovered Hyacinth Kane, Ree's best friend. And my mom, who has never met a stranger, walked away with a new friend and a selfie! Even McKinley told Granddaddy that we met Meme's friend and she told us all about being able to visit the Lodge while there. Yes, we visited the lodge, but more on that later. Hyacinth was so sweet. She chatted with us about the Merc, her involvement with the project, how much she liked visiting Overland Park, and yes, that we could go out to see the Lodge that day. We just needed to grab a ticket from the front desk on our way out. We can't wait to see her again soon!

From there, we checked out, got our ticket to the Lodge, and then headed outside to eat. We decided not to wait in the restaurant line, but instead grabbed lunch from the take out portion of the deli. Just as amazing as the restaurant and the portions are just as big! Come hungry! We sat along the sidewalk, soaking up the beautiful day and chatting with fellow visitors. We ate cinnamon rolls straight from box and didn't save any for later! It was bliss! And, remember when I said there was no attention to detail left un-turned? Well it extended to the outside as well. We happened to time the sun shift perfectly, but those waiting in line to dine did not. No worries! Staff brought out golf size umbrellas for anyone who needed/wanted one as they continued to wait. Seriously, she thought of everything! Take note, plan to spend the whole day exploring. There's too much to see, touch, eat, and do while there!

Honestly, this was the best day and just kept getting better. I'm going to share all the Lodge details with you, but that's coming in a separate post. Too much to talk about and so many photos to share! It's coming this week!


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