Travel Guide – Smalltown USAMay 28, 2019
Last year, my husband and I really went all out with travel. We visited four different countries and took several trips inside the U.S. including Dallas, the Magnolia Silos in Waco, Napa, D.C. and NYC. This year we’ve calmed down a bit and devoted our time and resources to buying a new house and renovating it. But, there’s just some times when you crave a little getaway. So this time, instead of pulling up my trusty Kayak app and finding a new adventure, we decided to keep it local. For awhile now I have talked to Adam about different things inside our own state that I wanted to go see and so when Memorial Day weekend was on the horizon and it wound up being the weekend right after we closed on the sale of our old house, we decided to go for it.
In some ways, this is a strange travel guide because I can almost guarantee that my followers, who are from all over the United States and other parts of the world, are not going to start booking tickets to Oklahoma to go see the places I’m going to talk about. So it’s not a travel guide in the sense that I’m offering you an actual itinerary for your trip to my home state. But, I am hoping that it inspires you to take a look at the spaces around you and give them a shot. So often we want to get outside of our bubble and go explore something new, far away. But, sometimes there’s exploration and incredible experiences right in our own backyard. I hope this inspires you to start searching out weekend getaways in your home state, finding something new that opens your eyes to travel tourism at home and supporting small businesses down the road from you. I don’t know about you, but I live in the capital city of my state and so I have the luxury of being at the epicenter of business and commerce. It’s easy to get stuck in my routine and also assume that I have the best of everything so why go elsewhere, and quite frankly that’s just downright not the right attitude to have and it also isn’t necessarily the case.
So, with that being said, here is how I was able to get out and enjoy Smalltown USA locations around me and LOVE them!
About forty minutes down the road from where I live is a town called Guthrie. If you watch Gilmore Girls, think something similar to Stars Hollow. There’s a quaint downtown, staple food locations where everyone knows everyone and the locals dress up in hoop skirts to sing Christmas carols. What’s really neat about the town, though, is a huge mansion that was built in 1923 and was originally a children’s orphanage. After the orphanage shut down, the building sat there for over 20 years and was lost to the elements and vandalism, until a couple from Texas saw the potential it had. They bought it and set to renovating with the dream of turning it into a wedding venue. Which they did, and thus Dominion House was established. In my 11 years I’ve lived in Oklahoma, I know tons of people who have gotten married there, but I’ve never actually been. But then I started to see news that a boutique hotel and restaurant were being added to the grounds.
Y’all. Something important you need to know about me: hotels and resorts are my jam. I probably follow more hotels and resorts on Instagram than I do real people or fellow bloggers. Some people mindlessly browse Pinterest or scroll FB on their laptop while Netflixing, but like…I just look at random hotels and resorts. I will build entire vacations around one single hotel. Anyway, I think you get the point. So when Dominion House became Dominion House Boutique Hotel, I started telling Adam, “man I’d love to just go up to Guthrie for a micro-level staycation some weekend.” And because he’s Adam and the man supports my every whim and desire, not only did he book a room for Memorial Day weekend, he made sure to book the Presidential Suite which is used as their Honeymoon suite. We’re talking in-room fireplace, claw foot tub, record player, tufted seating, etc. Check it out:
And obviously we were not going to miss out on a culinary adventure at their restaurant. I’ll admit, I’m snobbish about food and was thinking surely this place was going to try to have an upscale experience but would probably fail. I was wrong. The craft cocktails were as unique as a luxurious bar in NYC. The food was delicious. We even got to meet the chef who told us that the people who used to be children of the orphanage still come back and marvel at what the building has been turned into. The owners of the property were two tables away and had stopped to enjoy a meal on their way to Canada (he’s a pilot). I mean, it was just such a fun night. We wound up ordering some milk and cookies to take back to our room where we played Chess and Boggle in front of the fire.
The next day, we had the complimentary breakfast at the hotel (also delicious) and then ventured on over to downtown Guthrie for some coffee at Hoboken (an OK staple, y’all) and antiquing. We went home with a new matching pair of blue and white vases, a little stack of records for our vinyl collection and Tom Tierney paper dolls! Anyone else out there play with paper dolls as a kid?? My sister and I were obsessed, but you can’t find them anywhere anymore so when I found these, with nothing cut out and in great condition, I had to swoop them up for future kids. Hopefully they’re not so wrapped up in the digital world that they can appreciate paper dolls still! Lol!
And then it was time to hit the road for our next stop: The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK. As much as people down in Texas are proud to have the Gaines’ Magnolia Silos, Oklahomans are proud to have the PW’s Merc! And, I’m just saying, but Ree started out as a blogger! I’d been wanting to make the drive up to Pawhuska for such a long time and just hadn’t committed to it. We figured while were already exploring new parts of our state, it was time to get up there. Ree has invested so much into the town of Pawhuska, not only does she have a “general store” much like the Silos shop, but there’s also a restaurant, a bakery and a sweet shop across the street. We did all of our shopping first and even shopped the surrounding furniture stores and boutiques. Because of the success of the Merc, other local businesses have thrived because of the tourism influx. It was so incredible to see! The wait at the restaurant was an hour and 45 min if that tells you anything about popularity, but MAN was it worth it! I’m salivating just thinking about how good that food was.
Like I said, I don’t think anyone is going to start booking tickets to Oklahoma because of this blog post (if you are then well done!), but what I want to do is encourage you to start looking at what’s around you. Look up hotels, spas, resorts, boutiques, famous destinations, etc. The more you invest and give back to your state, the more your state will continue to grow and build other things you and your family can enjoy.
boutique shopping dominion house guthrie gingham hotel resort hotel road trip shop local shopping small busines small town smalltown the pioneer woman Travel
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