Updated on January 23, 2016
**Today’s post is a guest post by my friend Whitney Freaney. We haven’t been doing as much USA stuff lately and I thought her recent trip to OK would be a nice change of pace here at Points,MD. It’s always good to get a different style and perspective when discussing travel. Enjoy!**
Tishomingo & Oklahoma City, OK
If you’ve never met me you probably don’t know this, but I am Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert’s greatest fan! I’ll save you the reasons why, because that’s not why you’re visiting a travel blog like PointsMD, but ultimately my fandom brought me on a vacation to the middle-of-nowhere, Oklahoma and I’m going to tell you all about our trip!
This past Christmas my boyfriend pulled off the ultimate surprise. For some that means an engagement, for me that means a trip to see Blake! I woke up Christmas morning to the news that we’d be spending my 28th birthday at The Ladysmith Bed & Breakfast, owned by none other than Miranda Lambert herself. But first, we had to get there. At the suggestion of Kevin I applied for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card with a 50k mile sign-up bonus and after completing the $3K spend, I was able to book our roundtrip tickets from ATL to OKC for free, including a day pass for both of us to the Admiral’s Club (was a special perk of the sign-up bonus we got!).
Now that we had the transportation, we needed a plan! If my father taught me nothing else in life, it is to have a plan when traveling. Much to Charles’ dismay, I come prepared with travel binders filled with itineraries, confirmation numbers and maps.
Day 1: We fly in to OKC, rent a car and drive 1.5 hours south to Sulphur, OK where we stopped at The Rusty Nail Winery for an afternoon drink. The “winery” was more of a store & cafe rolled into one, but the wine was fabulous. We did a tasting, and Charles (who claims he doesn’t like wine) downed a few more full pours. —Whose birthday trip is this anyway?— I took the keys and drove us about 30 minutes to Ada, OK where we checked in to our hotel, The Hampton Inn & Suites Ada, which has to be the nicest Hampton Inn in the country. There were very few hotel options in this 16,000 person town, but we picked a great one! The plan was to stay in Ada (where Blake grew up) the first night and complete the Tour de Blake before heading 25 minutes down a two lane road to Tishomingo.
In Ada we found Ada High School, the water tower that Blake’s newest album cover displays, Blake Shelton Ave and a wall mural of the country crooner himself. We ended up driving over to the B&B to test out the Platinum Ballroom Bar that night and I am so glad we did! The staff was fabulous, the cover band was great and the locals were even more entertaining. There’s something else you should know about me – I may live in the big city of Atlanta but I am a small town southern girl at heart. Being on Main St in a one red light town, having cocktails with slow talkin’ new friends felt like home. They told us all about Chickasaw Nation (the Indian Reservation and tribe that makes up this part of OK), the 191 miles of dirt roads that this town prides itself on and, of course, where to catch a glimpse of Blake walking around town.
Day 2: Up bright and early to make it to back to Tishomingo before the traffic gets bad (ha!) but not before stopping in to one of the thousands of roadside casinos that Oklahoma boasts. Fact number three about me – I love to gamble. The second most important thing my father has taught me: a great love for slot machines! I had tripled my money in about an hour, and lost it all in about 5 minutes so Charles said it was time to leave.
For Christmas, Charles’ parents gave me a shopping spree at The Pink Pistol! Miranda Lambert opened this rustic-chic boutique in Tishomingo before opening her Ladysmith B&B and it has been on my bucket list ever since! I spent a few hours (!!!!) shopping the retail store and admiring all of decor while Charles posted up at the soda fountain with the other supportive men following their ladies around.
Afterwards we checked into The LadySmith B&B. The concierge gave us a full tour of the Inn while I stared in awe. The building hadn’t been occupied since the 40’s until Miranda gave it a glamorous makeover. Adorned with velvet wallpaper, doors original to the building, and fun props, like the confessional-turned-kissing-booth this Bed & Breakfast is unlike any other you’ve seen. They graciously upgraded our room to the Curtain Call, which has it’s own private bath. The plush robes and comfortable beds made our stay one of the most luxurious we’ve had. Each room is themed and decorated to the max. The hallways are filled with memories, awards and platinum albums. When you walk in to The Ladysmith, you enter a different world. It’s a world where wall-mounted animals and antique tilt-a-whirls make for fabulous decor. We spent the afternoon testing out the aforementioned dirt roads and the evening with the other guests in the French Quarter bar upstairs. I could’ve stayed all night, but we let the bartender get some rest. Stacey, the innkeeper, whipped up one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had but even more importantly, she had some of the greatest stories. I was entranced with her journey and how a North Eastener like herself ended up in this tiny town; I could’ve listened to her for hours.
Day 3: As sad as I was to leave The Ladysmith, I was excited to travel back to OKC to see what this city was all about! We headed out of town and stumbled across the Blue River. I convinced Charles to change in the car and we jumped in head first! I’m not much for spontaneity but something about spending a few hours swimming in the local stream sounded like an adventure I wanted. We eventually made our way to Oklahoma City and checked in to the Crowne Plaza. Knowing what I know now, I would NOT recommend the hotel for those that want to experience the downtown area as it’s a bit out of the way. Nevertheless, we ventured into the Bricktown section of the city; every single person we met in Oklahoma recommended this part of town. Thank goodness they did, because it was amazing! Everything was so clean, the people were friendly and the local breweries were tremendous hosts.
Day 4: Our final day in Oklahoma was the day we would visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial. I sure am glad we saved this for the end, otherwise all of my birthday pictures would boast swollen eyes and tear streaked makeup. It was an incredible experience that I would recommend to everyone. The memorial itself was heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time. The fences surrounding the property were hosts to thousands of letters, stuffed animals, floral wreaths and other mementos from loved ones lost in the OKC Bombing. But then you enter the museum. This museum is, by far, one of the most interactive and educational we’ve visited. It’s home to hundreds of objects like desktop computers, eyeglasses, first responder uniforms and even evidence from the bombers such as the actual car Timothy McVeigh was driving when he was caught and arrested. More than the artifacts it bears, this building is the keeper of hundreds of souls lost that on that April day. That is not a feeling I’ll ever forget. If you ever have the chance to visit, you must!
We left the museum and headed straight to the airport for our return flight to Atlanta. Oklahoma, I believe, will remain one of my favorite destinations. Not your typical dream vacation but there was something incredibly special about stepping off the map and on to a dirt road for a while. Our trips usually consist of running ragged to see everything we can, but this time we took it slow. I’m already planning our next trip!
Along with being a great lover of travel, Whitney also runs her own fashion blog and boutique! Checkout her work below!