Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

Hey Flyover friends!

Yeah, Jenna and I are still out there exploring and loving the US of A. In fact, you can and should check in with Jenna’s epic cross-country adventure at Round-Trip America. I was able to join her for a few days in South Dakota and we had a grand time, simply grand. She’s doing tons of cool things, writing and posting gorgeous photos. Go see for yourself.

I also recently took a trip to Oregon, where I spent some time on the Oregon coast looking for storms. Big, exciting storms. Click here for a story about that trip. And Sophia in an Oregon Storm is a short video companion to the story, in which I am delightfully buffeted by the wind and rain. I love that kind of thing.

Read Full Post »

caprockcrop

Cap*Rock winery in Lubbock. Photo by Sophia Dembling

Flyover America is getting ever-so ever-so with the wine. Wineries are as ubiquitous as spas these days across the country. They’re in the most unexpected places.

Texas is the fifth largest wine producer in the country. Close to my home, Grapevine, Texas has eight wineries. They’re all over the Hill Country. I’ve done a Lubbock wine tasting tour; my favorite was at Pheasant Ridge.

Oklahoma has wineries. Has anyone tried Oklahoma wine? The idea scares me. No offense, Oklahoma. You know I love you.

kokopelli crop

May I pour you a glass of Kokopelli?

Arizona also has wineries
. I once received a bottle of Kokopelli wine from Arizona. Yes, I tried it.

And I recently did a wine tasting at the Orchard Country Winery in Wisconsin. These wines are full of local apples and cherries. I liked one called Autumn Harvest, which combined apples and cranberries. I probably wouldn’t serve it to a wine snob, but it was fresh ‘n’ fruity.

I haven’t yet found a Flyover wine that comes within spitting distance of anything from the Napa or Sonoma valleys, but those wines were mocked in the 1970s. Who knows? Maybe someday we’ll be proud to pour a fine Oklahoma wine.

Read Full Post »

Boo!

Scare you? No? Well, we’ve got a few other tricks and travel treats bubbling away in this week’s Three-fer Friday cauldron. Here, some places and experiences that left us with chills (still multiplying). Happy Halloween!

We’re joined by one of our most frightening–and we mean that in a good way–friends. Hilary Davidson, a very nice and kind person who writes about travel and gluten-free dining around the globe, also happens to pen some of the most unsettling short stories you’ll ever read. Her debut crime novel, The Damage Done, will be published by Forge in October 2010.

Newport

Photo by Hilary Davidson

Before visiting Newport’s famous Gilded Age mansions, I got acquainted with its graves at the Common Burial Ground and the Island Cemetery, adjoining but separate final resting places. Some of the headstones and markers are illegible, not surprising given that the Common Burial Ground dates back to the 1600s. It includes a colonial-era slave cemetery and a sequestered plot of Jewish graves. The Island Cemetery holds the remains of many of the area’s notable families. It’s a gated community of death: a private cemetery that has welcomed the wealthy for two centuries. There are other cemeteries in Newport, but none so clearly illustrates the separation between the classes. What haunts me is the idea that even in death, some people hold to a faith in a velvet rope.–Hilary

scary manikinsI don’t do scary stuff because I’m a weenie and I get scared. So the spookiest thing I have to offer here is photos of some of the creepy mannequins I’ve encountered at small museums. I love little offbeat museums but sometimes they’re like going through a haunted house for me—I turn a corner and EEK! a scary mannequin! Sometimes they’re dusty, sometimes they’re off-balance, sometimes they’re missing appendages or have rotten bits. Sometimes they’re just … creepy. Where do they get those things? Halloween stores? (For the record, Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, Texas; Greater Southwest Historical Museum in Ardmore, Oklahoma; and Geronimo Springs Museum in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.)–Sophia

1880 Newbury House

1880 Newbury House

After a day scouring tables along the World’s Longest Yard Sale, I settled in for the night at Historic Rugby, Tennessee‘s Newbury House Bed and Breakfast. Built in 1880, it was the first boarding house in the utopian community foundeded by Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays. On my bedside table: a thick anthology of ghost tales and a ledger filled with past guests’ stories of haunting encounters experienced in my austere but comfortable room. That night, after all the other guests were clearly asleep, the hallway remained busy. The light through the crack under my door flickered as people, silently, paced the hallway. For the rest of the night, I slept with the bathroom light on.–Jenna

Read Full Post »

The Halloween season is nearly behind us and the shopping season is just about upon us. Shopping can be odious or delightful, depending on the who (Jenna is an enthusiastic shopper, Sophia would rather not) and where. So for today’s three-fer we present three shops in which we could happily do all our holiday shopping.

Our guest contributor is Chicago-based writer Lisbeth Levine, one of our most stylish friends. Among other things, Lisbeth writes about style and travel, and she’s co-author of The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day.

Photo by Lisbeth Levine

Photo by Lisbeth Levine

The aroma is comforting, tantalizing and exotic. It reaches out to greet you, inviting you inside. The Spice House in Chicago is one of my favorite escapes and one of my favorite places to buy gifts. It walks the line between decadence and necessity.

Buying the best cinnamon from Vietnam feels like an indulgence, even at just $5.29 for 4 ounces. So does trying to decide between French artisan salt smoked over Chardonnay oak barrels and red sea salt from Hawaii. Chicago spice blends include Hyde Park Seasoning, which contains ingredients from Hawaii and Africa in a tribute to President Barack Obama.

A clerk scoops out and weighs your order, giving you as much or as little as you need. The other day I left only $7.32 poorer, but the half hour I spent there enriched my entire day. – Lisbeth

By Von der Lende

By Van der Lende

There was almost too much to look at inside the Tamarack Gallery in Omena, Michigan. Almost. But owner Sally Viskochil fill the walls and the tables and the pedestals with pieces that really make you stop, look, enjoy (and think). So it’s not just a giant swirl of color. Though the artwork itself is just 3″ by 3″, I got pulled right into this piece by painter I-don’t-know-her-first-name Van der Lende. A gentle world in there, eh? I also snagged two wacky paintings of fishing scenes by folk artist Wesley Merritt. Mine mine mine! Happy. Can’t wait to shop there again.–Jenna

Photo by Sophia Dembling

Photo by Sophia Dembling

The giant ice cream cone out front was the mother of all impulse purchases for Heidi Chapman, owner of the Cloverleaf Boutique in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Appropriately, since the Cloverleaf is crammed with potential impulse buys: vintage this-and-that, kitschy the other thing, purses and penny candy, toys and t-shirts, sunglasses and a cat named Sophie (not for sale) among other quadrupeds. Animal loving customers also may donate to help feed the feral cats that hang outside. To reach the Cloverleaf, turn at the giant pink ice cream cone, drive along painted-bicycle way, pass through the yard-art portal and enter the land of impulse. You will smile. — Sophia

Read Full Post »

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Pawhuska, Okla. Photo by Sophia Dembling

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Pawhuska, Okla. Photo by Sophia Dembling

No such thing as a bad photograph of the prairie. No, really.

I’ve been prairie obsessed since visiting the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska, Okla., a year ago. Several months later, an hour tagging barbed wire fencing (as a favor to prairie chickens) in the Oklahoma panhandle convinced me that tromping across a prairie is a thousand times more glorious than even the most glorious photograph.

I wish I’d planned ahead to participate in one of the prairie restoration volunteer projects in Iowa for National Public Lands Day, Sept. 26. Or in activities the following weekend for Prairie Appreciation Week at Homestead National Monument (also Iowa). That sort of thing would be worth traveling for, if I were free to travel those weekends. Maybe next year.

Instead, I’ll celebrate National Public Lands Day 2009 (woohoo!) by searching the website for a volunteer project closer to home, maybe planting aquatic plants. (I’m sure there won’t be many mosquitoes.) There’s probably a project near your home, too. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to spend an autumn Saturday?

Read Full Post »

Flyover America has moved! Please join us at www.ReadFlyoverAmerica.com.

Near Marfa, Texas, photo by Sophia Dembling

Near Marfa, Texas, photo by Sophia Dembling

I’ve always appreciated the sight of a windmill on the horizon but otherwise, gave windmills little thought.

That changed after I visited the boring-sounding American Wind Power Center in Lubbock, Texas where the huge collection of vintage windmills can only be described as folk art. First I was charmed, then I slapped my forehead when the center’s executive director, Coy Harris, pointed out that areas like Lubbock, with lots of wind and little ground water, could not have been settled without windmills. (Although in my defense, I was having my first taste of the powerful, persistent West Texas wind.) I’ve been a big windmill fan ever since. Windmills, they look good, they do good … surely they can do no harm.

Shattuck Windmill Museum, photo by Sophia Dembling

Shattuck Windmill Museum, photo by Sophia Dembling

So I loved The Windmill Farm B&B in Tolar, Texas, where transplanted South Dakotans Chuck and Ruby Rickgauer collect vintage windmills (which Chuck also restores), and visiting the Shattuck Windmill Museum in Shattuck, Oklahoma, which has a collection as appealing, if not as extensive, as Lubbock’s.

I find modern wind turbines beautiful, too, in a different way. They are otherworldly, a little frightening, like something landed from outer space, marching ponderously over the horizon and across the prairie.

But since also falling in love with the lesser prairie chicken, I am conflicted about those turbines. Maybe all windmills aren’t benign.

Lesser prairie chickens are not on the endangered species list, but they are in peril and wind turbines interfere with the little fellas’ breeding grounds.

Wadena, Indiana, photo by Johnny Jupiter Photo

Wadena, Indiana, photo by Johnny Jupiter Photo via Flickr

The birds won’t do their mating dance near tall structures, which in their birdie brains puts them at risk from predators from above. Now there’s a race between conservationists trying to get the species on the endangered list and wind-power companies, trying to get turbines up before it is. (In related horrifying news, it seems wind turbines also cause bats’ lungs to explode, poor things.)

Oh dear, oh dear. I’m torn between two lovers. Of course wind power is good. But so are prairie chickens. And bats, for that matter.

Surely with some forethought and planning, it’s possible to both build windmills and keep our wildlife safe, yes?

Read Full Post »

Flyover America has moved! Please join us at www.ReadFlyoverAmerica.com.

With cameras on cell phones, cameras in lipstick containers and cameras on the back of Toyota Priuses, it’s practically un-American in this day and age to travel without the means to photograph. In the spirit of capturing images from the road, we thought we’d each share some of our favorite travel photos and the stories behind them.

This isn’t a one-time thing, mind you. Check back once a month for another installment of what we’re calling “Flashbulb Memories.” We admit that we didn’t coin that phrase ourselves: A Flashbulb Memory is a moment so emotionally powerful, that you remember it vividly. For example, many people have flashbulb memories of where they were when they learned of the attack on the World Trade Center, or when President John F. Kennedy was shot. Here are some of ours.

What happens in Vegas...

If only it were better than crunches.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? Except when you’re drunk, meandering around the mall at the top of the Stratosphere and you (quite literally) stumble into a bunch of folks filming an Infomercial. Yes, that’s my belly in this picture. And yes, I’m wearing an AbTronic, one of those (ill-fated) abdominal electro-stimulators that promised to help you shed pounds without doing squat. My buddy had enough sense to shoot pictures during filming as evidence of the event. Months later, I saw myself on TV as “Matt from New York,” extolling the virtues a gizmo I didn’t even own. —Matt

No Orcas, but still an adventure

No Orcas, but still an adventure

Dodgy late-May weather, a shut-tight car rental office, and a pebbled parking lot that turned my smooth-rolling suitcase into a wobbily clunker had me questioning my visit to Cordova, Alaska. My mood improved greatly after arriving at Orca Adventure Lodge, a fish cannery-turned-hotel that sits on Prince William Sound’s Orca Inlet. A few hours after dinner, I was treated to this view. Instantly, like turned to love. And that was before I even got to see the sea otters playing out in the water —Jenna

Storm clouds over Woodward

Storm clouds over Woodward

Those storm clouds over Woodward, Oklahoma helped create the thick red mud in which a truck full of birdwatchers got stuck. Our group stopped to help out, and while the big strong men among us (and one scrappy woman) went to help push the truck, I turned and saw the light on this red, white and blue scene, which struck me as beautiful. Still does. The truck was soon freed and we were on our way–Sophia

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »