Choctaw Country, the southeast corner of Oklahoma, is one of the most beautiful areas of the state. Rolling, old mountains, clear, blue Broken Bow Lake, the rushing Mountain Fork River – all make this area an appealing getaway. A tiny micro-climate in the very southeastern tip borrows attractions from southern bayous.
This used to be considered Oklahoma’s boondocks – and there are plenty of rural remnants around – but it has become a destination for those wishing to connect with nature but not forego amenities. You can rough it if you want but if you’re looking for a little something special, this is your spot.
The area was given to the Choctaw tribes when they were forcibly moved to the area in the 1830s. French trappers had traveled in the area since the 1700s so you’ll find French names scattered in with Native America names. The area is still considered Choctaw country although even Oklahomans aren’t sure how that works! Still, the Choctaw Nation today is one of the primary movers in the region’s economic development.
Begin your exploration in Durant at the Choctaw Casino Resort, one of only five AAA Four Diamond hotels in the state. Check in and prepare to enjoy a pool complex to rival Las Vegas. After dinner, try your luck in the casino. For something more romantic, sit out on the pool deck and look at the moon.
hit Highway 70 heading east. You’re headed for the Broken Bow/Beavers Bend area. It’s about a two-hour drive if you don’t stop. But there are a couple of special attractions on the way. If you love traditional or mountain music, stop at Master Works – hand-crafted dulcimers, accessories or recordings. Next stop is Hugo and the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Okay, that may seem a little creepy, but it is interesting.
Beavers Bend State Park has a number of cabins and an attractive and comfortable state lodge. Close by is Lago Vista, a lovely B&B. For a wide choice of cabins, check out those managed by Creative Escapes.
You can pack a lot of things into a short time or relax and enjoy a more leisurely pace. Outdoor activities span the spectrum. Check out the park links for more information.
If you didn’t have a massage in Durant – or if you love to luxuriate and want another one – Body Harmony Day Spa is a must. Their package for couples will not only give you the ultimate in pampering, they top it off with a home-made brownie topped with whipped cream and strawberries.
The Museum of the Red River in Idabel, just south of Broken Bow, is home to a great collection the heart of which features art and artifacts of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Currently undergoing renovation and expansion, the museum remains open and is definitely worth a visit.
Girls Gone Wine is a fun stop for wine tasting, touring and even wine-making.
Eating in the area can be as simple as packing a picnic or – about as fancy as the area gets – a dinner at Abendigo’s Grill and Patio. Other super choices include Grateful Head Pizza and Blue Rooster. Don’t miss Chopped champ Tabb Singleton’s Moon Tower Bar and Grill.
The length of this itinerary depends on you. You can make it a quick weekend or linger, kick back and inhale the fresh, pine-scented air.