Getting the winter cabin fever blues? Consider a Stillwater getaway. Beyond Oklahoma State University-related events, most families are not aware of the many attractions offered in the town, an easy drive north on I-35 from the Oklahoma City Metro. Whether for a day trip or an extended weekend, you will find educational and family-friendly fun abounding here.
Lake Carl Blackwell Cabins/Trout Fishing
I recommend a stay at one of Lake Carl Blackwell’s cozy cabins. Located just west of Stillwater on State Highway 51, Lake Carl Blackwell, owned by the university, is conveniently located on the way into town. Complete with fireplaces and full kitchens, the cabins sleep up to six, depending on the cabin. The price is reasonable and varies by season. Two cabins are currently available for rent, one is scheduled to be renovated in early 2009, and a larger unit is under construction.
You can also try your hand at trout fishing. From November-March, a separate pond near the lake is stocked with hundreds of pounds of trout. You’ll need to bring your own poles, but the lake store has plenty of bait. It’s a great, family-friendly and inexpensive activity—and you may even catch dinner.
Call the Lake Carl Blackwell store at 405-372-5157 or visit the website at lcb.okstate.edu for reservations or more information about the cabins or trout fishing,
Washington Irving Trail Museum
After breakfast, take the kids on a unique, educational history lesson at the Washington Irving Trail Museum, just east of Stillwater. This small, unexpected museum is a fifty-year labor of love by owners/curators Dale and Carla Chlouber, and it recently received a Certificate of Commendation by the American Association for State and Local History. Dale describes his museum as “folksy and innovative,” and you’ll find an eclectic assortment of antiques to buy and over 200 artifacts of national, state, or local significance.
Irving, America’s first internationallyacclaimed writer and the museum’s namesake, camped on the Chloubers’ land in the early 19th century as part of a United States exhibition through central and eastern Indian Territory. A trail on the property leads you to the actual campsite.
The Chloubers have an obvious passion for history and it shows at this casual museum where you’re likely to receive a personalized tour. Open Wednesday-Sunday, the museum is located six miles east of Stillwater on State Highway 51 and three miles south on Mehan Road. Admission is free. 405-624-9130.
Red Rock Bakery and Deli
By now, you’ll be ready for lunch. Head to the Red Rock Bakery and Deli at 910 N. Boomer. The specialty is fresh baked bread and each sandwich is made with mouthwatering, thick slices of it. The turkey-pesto sandwich is especially yummy. Soups and salads are also available. Weather permitting, order takeout and make it a picnic at one of Stillwater’s many parks. For hours and menu information, check their website at RedRockBakery.com.
The Kameoka Multi-Use Trails Stillwater was recently named by Prevention magazine as the “best walking city in Oklahoma,” according to Sherry Fletcher, Marketing and Public Relations Director for the City of Stillwater. This recognition is due to Stillwater’s vast park system. The Kameoka Trail offers 7.5 miles of concrete trails and three miles of nature trails. (For the really adventuresome, another 27 miles of mountain bike trails can be found at Lake McMurtry, north of Lake Carl Blackwell). Picnic shelters and playgrounds are offered along the trail, which can be picked up at Boomer Lake, located north of town on Boomer Road. Along the lake portion of the trail, you’ll find a memorial to David L. Payne, considered the “Father of Oklahoma” and the Payne County Veteran’s Memorial.
Stillwater Antique and Collectible Mall
Need to warm up? Shop the Stillwater Antique and Collectible Mall. The three owners, Amy, Linda, and Jinnings, have the 20,000 square foot space filled with items from 85 dealers. According to Amy, the building was originally built in 1901 for use as an opera house. You can spend hours looking and reminiscing over the thousands of vintage items. Located at 116 E 9th Avenue, the mall is open daily. For hours, call 405-372-7833.
Town and Gown Theatre
TownAndGown.org For evening or matinee entertainment, you may be able to catch a play or musical at the Town and Gown Theatre, located at 3524 S Perkins. Since 1951, this intimate theatre-inthe-round gives the audience a feeling of being part of the action. Shows are put on by a local acting troupe and university drama students. For schedule and ticket information, visit the website at TownAndGown.org.
Your Next Trip
Stillwater offers a lot of family-friendly fun, no matter your university loyalties. For more information, visit the visitor’s bureau website at VisitStillwater.org or call 405-742-3697.
Karen Mitchell, a life-long resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, has been married to Mark since 1983 and is the mother of two teenagers. With a degree in Journalism and a career in sales, Karen is enjoying her return to writing.