Oklahoma boasts 11 different “ecoregions” ” more per square mile than any other state. Make it your mission this summer to explore what Oklahoma has to offer. Three to visit include Tahlequah, Bartlesville and Quartz Mountain.
If you do one thing in Tahlequah, visit the Cherokee Heritage Center. At the entrance to the museum and research center, three tall columns represent the only surviving piece of the Cherokee National Female Seminary, one of the first institutions of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi River.
Outside the museum, the Tsa-La-Gi Ancient Village can only be visited by tour and is highly recommended. Tour guide Robert Lewis led our group through a representation of Cherokee life in their native homeland of the eastern United States. The fascinating tour included demonstrations of everything from stickball to blowgun shooting.
The Price Tower, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, can’t be missed. The oxidized copper accents and stunning design of the building ” called the tree that escaped the forest ” dominate the small downtown.
Tours of the structure can be arranged from the Price Tower Arts Center. Tour coordinator Libby Leonard leads a fascinating exploration of the building ” much of it restored to its original design ” pointing out obsessive details, from the triangular drain covers in the parking lot to the trapezoidal elevators.
Today, Price Tower houses the Inn at Price Tower and the Copper Restaurant + Bar. Mirroring the mid-century modern look that originally filled this unique structure, the boutique hotel and chic restaurant are clad in coppers, oranges, blues and greens. If you stay and eat in Bartlesville, this is the place to do it.
From Medicine Park, Scenic Highway 49 winds through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and is a perfect road from which to spot the buffalo, longhorns and prairie dogs that roam the refuge.
The long, curvy thoroughfare that finally leads to Quartz Mountain hugs the side of the mountains and conceals the structure until you’re right on top of it.
The resort itself fits in nicely with the environment with heavy wooden beams, rustic chandeliers and large fireplaces dotting the main lodge and Sundance Cafe. “Jenny Coon Peterson