Oklahoma, Travel

Our Visit to Echo Canyon Spa and Resort in Sulpher, Oklahoma

EchoCanyon

Last year I decided I wanted my husband and me to have a romantic weekend getaway for our Anniversary.  I love visiting new places and wanted to do something just for us, since generally most things we do revolve around the kids.   I don’t remember how I discovered the resort, but I believe it was in one of those, “Only in Your State” posts.  I do know that you can find several articles on Echo Canyon Spa and Resort, plus they have been on Discover Oklahoma. The crew was actually there filming while we were visiting, though we never saw them.  One of the top reasons I wanted to go, besides the spa, was the food!  Lot’s of fabulous reviews, and it appeared to be delicious and perfect for both of our tastes.  The rooms were also very appealing, along with the atmosphere and surroundings.  It sounded like a perfect little anniversary getaway for us in mid-November in Oklahoma.  Make sure to make a reservation for dinner the nights you stay.

When we got there

We left early that morning with a stop in Oklahoma City for a doctor’s appointment.  We ate lunch and did a little shopping in the city before we headed to the spa.  I wish now we would have headed to the Spa & Resort earlier.  It was almost dark when we got there.  Everyone we met was very friendly, and I wish I would have remembered names!  The lady who walked us around and showed us our room, and where everything was, was very sweet.  I believe she was the concierge.  We stayed in the Merlot Canyon View.  She walked us into our room and showed us where everything was and how to use the jacuzzi tub.  The room smelled so clean and sweet.  There was a candle burning when we walked in to add to the romantic atmosphere and to leave a great scent to welcome us.

A few pictures of our room.  It was fabulous, and we had a great balcony with a beautiful view.

EchoCanyon08EchoCanyon07EchoCanyon06

EchoCanyon11EchoCanyon10

Our Evening

That evening we had dinner in the Baron of Beef Restaurant.   The 4-course candlelight meal is served with three entrees and a great view of the canyon.   The setting was very romantic and service was fantastic.  You can check out their restaurant on their website for the menu.  It is different each night, so if we stayed Saturday we would have been served a different meal.  The food was delicious and so was the fresh Peach Hibiscus drink with champagne added.   We only had one issue and that was a couple at the neighboring table.  They were very condescending and dropped a lot of cuss words.  They kind of killed the romantic mood for us.  After we ate we went to the Bar, which is in a separate building.  It is very nice and filled with comfy seating.  We sat at the bar and visited with one of the owners.   He was very friendly, but a little pretentious.  He talked a little too much about himself and how well off he was, and how he could kick anyone out who misbehaved, referencing the rude couple we dined next to. I honestly thought the guy could have offered us a free drink after dealing with the too near dining companions, especially since he had so much money he could afford to kick them out.  Even after that, we still had a great evening and night.

EchoCanyone04EchoCanyon05

Breakfast and Massage

We got up the next morning and had breakfast in the restaurant and explored the beautiful property.  The food was delicious once again.  A little later I had a 30-minute Sweedish Massage scheduled in the Aloha Spa.  They offer several massages, facials, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures.  My massage was so relaxing and very much needed!  I loved it. Make sure to tip well.  You can also wait and tip everyone when you check out and sign your bill.

EchoCanyon03EchoCanyon02

Exploring other Areas

We checked out shortly after my massage and headed to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.  There are so many places to pull over and hike and explore.  We went to the Niagra Falls area first.  It was a pretty cool day, in the 50s, but still pretty nice.  The sun was out and it wasn’t to bad to explore and hike in those temperatures.  We drove around and stopped at several other spots to walk around and take photos.  We also drove up to an overlook, I believe it was called Sulphur Overlook because you could see the town from the top.  It was beautiful with all the fall colors.  We got out and hiked around for awhile in the area.  It was a good way to work off our breakfast and make us hungry again, so we headed into Sulpher for lunch. We stopped at the Bedre Cafe which is near the Artesian Hotel, Spa, and Casino.  The Artesian looks like another fabulous place to stay in the area.   The Bedre Cafe serves sandwiches, soups, chips, ice cream, and shakes. They also have chocolate from their chocolate factory just a few miles from town near the interstate.  It is fashioned like an old time diner.  The food was excellent, and so was the service.  It was a great quick meal and hit the spot after hiking the Chickasaw area.  We headed out of town and towards home after we ate.  We made a stop at the Bedre Chocolate Factory right before we got on the interstate.  They give you a free sample of chocolate and they offer lots of chocolate to buy!  I love raspberry chocolate, so I got several of those.  Their chocolate is delicious and I have made a point to stop at the factory anytime we pass it on the interstate since our first visit, which is not often.

Chick01Chick02Chick03Chick04Chick05

Free Stuff, Kid Approved, Oklahoma

Digging for Selenite Crystals at Oklahoma’s Great Salt Plains

We love finding adventure not far from home! My husband’s son was visiting for the summer and we decided we needed to take a little adventure with him and our youngest daughter.  We decided to go to the Great Salt Plains for a fund geological digging adventure.  The Great Salt Plains dig area is about an hour and a half drive for us, perfect for a day trip.  It was June 2015 which can mean temperatures up into the 100s, so we started off early that morning.

 What are Selenite Crystals?

A little bit about Selenite Crystals and the dig area. The 11,000-square-mile Great Salt Plains are as white as salt, thanks to the saline deposits left over from an ancient sea that once drenched the area. Still flowing beneath the surface is a saline aquifer that replenishes the layer of salt when the underground water rises. Dig for hourglass selenite crystals here because they are found nowhere else in the world. It is the only place in the world where hourglass-shaped selenite crystals are found. Millions of years ago the area was covered by a large inland sea. The sea was eventually cut off and the water evaporated away, leaving behind thick layers of salt that were then covered by dirt and erosion from surrounding mountain ranges. As groundwater rose to the surface through the salt-saturated sand, it took salt along with it and deposited them on the surface as a thin crust. It was the concentrated saline solution combined with gypsum that promoted the growth of selenite, a crystalline form of gypsum. These crystals are found buried only a few feet below the surface.

Before you go.

Before we headed out, we had to take a few things with us to prepare for a warm day of digging.  We packed sunblock, bottled water, snacks, shovel, bucket and some towels to clean up with.  We also brought a change of clothes and wore old clothes to dig. Digging can get pretty messy and dirty!  You can also bring water, a sifter, and maybe smaller shovels to help find and clean the crystals.  We did not do this, but it is a good idea after the fact.  We’ve been digging before with our two older kids.

What to expect

This year they moved the dig area.  Dig areas are rotated every couple of years.  Wow!  Could we tell the difference!  We found so many crystals easily.  It is recommended to dig a hole two feet wide and about two feet deep.  After that, we dug without hands through the piles that we dug out, and in the hole.  We just used our fingers to sift through the dirt.  It is very easy to dig and sift through without extra tools (water, small shovels, and a sifter), but it sure would not hurt to bring those things.  The day was windy, and even though we started out in the morning, it got hot pretty quick.  Our youngest had a good time, but she had more fun wandering off from us.  We found so many great crystals!  After

Crystals01Crystals02Crystals03Crystals04Crystals05Crystals06

After digging for a couple of hours, we decided to visit the lake area and State Park.  You could easily make this a weekend trip and camp out at the park campground or rent a cabin.  There are a few hiking trails and a nice playground for the kids.  We let our youngest play on the playground, then we went for a very short hike.  It was afternoon and was very hot and humid out by then.  We will be back!  If you are going in the summer I recommend going in the morning before it gets hot.

Crystals07Crystals08Crystals09

Kid Approved, Oklahoma, Travel

Medicine Park, OK

We decided to take a short weekend vacation when my daughter was still under a year old to Medicine Park, Oklahoma, the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge and the Tiger Safari in Tuttle, OK.  We also did not have a lot of money to spend, so we wanted to go somewhere close.  I lived in Chickasha for several years before I was married and it is close to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.  It is a fantastic hiking and rock climbing area.  One of my very favorite places to go hiking!  I miss being less than an hour from the Wichita Mountains.  I decided it would be great to stay in Medicine Park, a very quaint little town just a few minutes from the Refuge and the first tourist resort in Oklahoma.  I wanted to share this area with my family.  I knew my oldest would love all the rocks, the cobblestone building in the town of Medicine Park and the rock mountains in the Wichita Mountains!  She has always been a fan of rocks.

I did some research, as usual!  And found a cabin in Medicine Park I liked and that we could afford.  Also, we were only staying one night, and not all cabins/houses would let you reserve for just one night.  I had a doctors appointment in OKC that Friday.  After the appointment, we went to Meers to have a meersburger.  Meers Store & Restaurant is a hole in the wall kind of place.  In the middle of nowhere and nothing fancy, but they have the best burgers and cobbler. Their menu has lots of tasty selections, and BBQ to go.  We ordered 2 longhorn burgers, and I ordered their fries.  My oldest and I shared a burger because they are huge! The meal was great, as always.  For dessert we all shared peach cobbler over homemade ice cream, it is beyond words.    After lunch, we headed to Medicine park and checked into Margie’s Cabin and it was perfect!  There were drinks, snacks, and a Keurig coffee maker.  There were also beach towels in one of the bedrooms.  It was set off from other houses and had a cute patio area.  We absolutely loved it, and I wished we had booked two nights instead of just one.

 


Just across the street, there is a walk way that leads to the center of Medicine Park.  The girls got in their bathing suits and we headed down the path and to the swimming area.  My oldest made friends quick and had someone to play with.  My husband, youngest and I just explored the area and watched the ducks, geese, fish and turtles.

Medicine12Medicine11Medicine10

We drove to the Wichita Mountains and to the top of Mount Scott later in the day.  Such a great view from the top of the mountain.  It’s alway a little bit windier and cooler at the top.  The next morning we sat on the patio and just enjoyed nature and the quiet.  We walked to the town center after we all got around in the morning.  There was a little bakery with pastries and donuts, so we stopped there and had breakfast at a table outside.  Later that morning we went to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Mount Scott
Mount Scott