10 BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO VISIT IN OKLAHOMA

by Tammy Ryan on September 14, 2014

in Random Thoughts

Our Oklahoma temperatures are finally starting to cool making it a perfect time to get out and about and see the splender of our beautiful state.   Something about the cooler weather makes me just want to get out and rediscover our state.  So we put some destination names in a hat and decided to take a little road trip.  Our destination was Robbers Cave State Park.  It took a few hours to get there but it was well worth the drive.  The scenery of the rock bluffs and mountains was absolutely stunning.  I can only imagine how beautiful it will be when the leaves start changing colors. 

If you’re searching for something to make your autumn special look no further than our own Oklahoma.  There are so many awe-inspiring scenic locales right here in our own states backdoor. Browse through this list from the www.TravelOk.com website for a list of some of the most beautiful sites in the state.

#1 – Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

With over 59,000 acres of ancient mountains dotting a sea of prairie, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton is home to free-range American bison herds, prairie dogs, Texas Longhorn cattle, bobcats and coyotes.  The crowning jewel of the park is Mount Scott.  From the top you can marvel at the patchwork of lakes, stunning rock formations and miles of picturesque hiking trails.

2 – Quartz Mountain Resort

Nestled between the shores of Lake Altus-Lugert and the Wichita Mountains, Quartz Mountain Resort is the ideal setting for quiet reflection and solitude, family fun or a romantic retreat.  The lake glimmers in the sun and moonlight and the stars shine as brightly as any place in Oklahoma.  With the resort’s authentic lodge furnishings and delectable restaurant menu, guests can snuggle in for a memorable stay.

#3 - Chickasaw National Recreation Area

One hundred years ago, American Indians called it the “Peaceful Valley of Rippling Waters” and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur continues to offer precious serenity to visitors.  Travertine Creek meanders throughout much of the park and the babbling water is the perfect soundtrack for recreation.  From hiking to swimming, camping to picnicking or fishing to wildlife viewing, you are sure to find what best feeds your soul.

 #4 – Beavers Bend & Hochatown State Park

Imagine mountains of fragrant pine forests intermingled with colorful hardwood trees and you’ve found Beavers Bend & Hochatown State Park near Broken Bow.  The Mountain Fork River provides clear, cool waters for excellent fishing year-round.  A dream-like mist rising from Broken Bow Lake is the perfect vista while enjoying a morning cup of coffee at Lakeview Lodge.

#5 – Natural Falls State Park

Beauty often makes you quickly draw in your breath in wonder and Natural Falls State Park is no different; but what it also provides its visitors is a place to exhale.  At this quiet oasis in northeastern Oklahoma, a 77-foot waterfall invites visitors to hike down the rugged trails to an enchanting basin pool.  Seventeen different fern varieties thrive in the wet kiss of the cascades.  Once at the base of the falls, you can drink in the tranquility of the little valley and surround yourself with native flowering trees like the redbud and the luminous dogwood.  Camping and hiking are the most popular forms of activity in the park but a book read at the base of the falls on a sunny, summer afternoon could be the most soothing.

#6 - Talimena National Scenic Byway

The Ouachita National Forest in southeast Oklahoma loves to show off its colors.  The Talimena National Scenic Byway has become one of the most popular destinations for fall foliage tours in the region.  At each scenic turnout along the way, the vibrant colors on the mountainsides are breathtaking and almost unbelievable in their brilliance.

#7 - Grand Lake of the Cherokees

The result of the Pensacola Dam project completed in 1940, Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees is one of Oklahoma’s most popular lake destinations.  With 1,300 miles of scenic shoreline, bordered by five state parks, the Grand Lake Area is an outdoorsman’s delight.  This serpentine gem glitters and shimmers in the summer sunlight between rolling green hills which begs you to slow down and just and enjoy the view.

#8 - Glover River

The last major free-flowing river unencumbered by dams or water releases, the Glover River offers secluded beauty unmatched in the state.  Canoeing and small mouth bass fishing are popular on this gorgeous waterway.  The fact that the river is still un-commercialized lures the most experienced adventurer to this best kept secret in southeast Oklahoma.

#9 - Black Mesa Area

Located in the farthest northwest corner of Oklahoma, the panhandle area is the epitome of stark beauty.  The Black Mesa plateau is Oklahoma’s highest point at 4,973 feet and rewards hikers with a rare view of a tri-state area.  The nearby Black Mesa State Park and Nature Preserve feature amazing watchable wildlife including golden eagle, black bear and bighorn sheep.  In the amazing solitude of this scenic area, the wide open spaces dotted with blue sage evoke visions of cowboys on horseback and the prehistoric creatures that used to call this area home.

#10 - Robbers Cave State Park

Climb the steep sandstone bluffs and pretend that you’re an outlaw on the run with Jesse James at Robbers Cave State Park.  The Belle Starr View Lodge gives each guest a panoramic view of the lakes and forest that lay hundreds of feet below.  As a popular destination for equestrians, the best view of all might just come from the top of a horse.



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A Summer Trip Back in Time

by Phil Gibson on July 21, 2014

in Random Thoughts

Recently I have been visiting the many (MANY) lost communities in Oklahoma. There are so many of these places which once witnessed fortunes made and lost in the oil and agriculture booms of another era, places where lives were lived to the fullest, dreams hatched and futures set in motion. Then, ours was a nation of small,l tightknit little towns that bustled with commerce and boasted tidy houses with rose bushes and sidewalks.Impressive mansions built by craftsmen from first growth lumber and hand hewn stone were built as monuments to the egos, work ethic and good fortune of the local rich. Everything  one needed could be found in town as well as much of what one wanted. There were florists and milliners, dress shops and dry goods, hardware stores and car dealers, a druggist, banks, medical doctors ( who made house calls) and a lawyer and banks.  Shoe stores, furniture stores,  a butcher, a baker and a green grocer were always at hand.  Life in these towns was rich and full and promising and there was a distinct sense of community.

Today, so many of these small towns in Oklahoma are patches of weeds, empty shop fronts and decaying brick streets. Dreams don’t live here anymore, but the wonderful architecture, the tidy homes and the lavish mansions, the stately churches and public buildings still exist, in a much altered and neglected state I always imagine that it would be wonderful if some rich person would start buying up these communities and re- invigorate them in the same way that John D Rockefeller re constructed Williamsburg, Virginia. These are the kinds of atmospheres that todays planners and developers are always trying to re create… yet never succeed.

While we wait for someone to finally “get it” and realize the value of restoring, re making and re -using this treasury of  living assets, its worthwhile to take the time to visit them .It’s sad to see such treasure wasted, but nonetheless informative and mildly adventurous to eavesdrop on the lives that were lived in these places and a chance to make our own lives richer for the effort of looking back. The scale of these small towns is cocooning and the walkable proximity of domestic dwellings to commercial buildings are enviable in todays world of freeways to mega mall parking lots. Imagine  what it must have been like to send your ten year old to the corner store for milk and bread without a worry that he might be kidnapped, run over or assaulted. Imagine picking flowers from your garden for an arrangement on the Church Altar or sitting on the FRONT porch and greeting neighbors as they passed. One can almost close their eyes and imagine Peach pies cooling on a windowsill and neighbors sharing secrets over the garden gate. These forgotten towns are not Hollywood back lots. Rather, they are real settings that have slipped from memory but that once were recognizable and, for a time, important places.

These little towns are worth a visit. Get out of your car and walk around. Peer through the dusty windows and appreciate the brickwork, the tin ceilings and the wavy glass.  If there is a café, order the Chicken Fried Steak and a Sweet Tea. Take a vacation to an earlier time.

 



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Random Stats

by Bill Wilson on July 16, 2014

in Statistics

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Months Supply

Hasn’t been this good in a while folks! Today there’s 6,543 homes on the market in the MLS and 10,194 have closed in the last 6 months. That means at current inventory levels, there’s a 3.8 month supply of homes. Five to seven months is considered balanced, so we’re definitely in a sellers’ market. That’s why we’re seeing quite a few multiple offers on homes now.

Occupied/Unoccupied

I was surprised at this one. 3,215 of the active homes are shown as unoccupied. That’s 49%. Nationally it’s been 13.5%. Doesn’t our number seem high?

Cash Sales

2,795 sales over the last 6 months were cash sales. That’s 27.5% and although a little lower than usual will probably seem high to a lot of you.

Have any other questions about the Oklahoma City real estate market? Just let us know, we’ll be happy to help you.

[Photo credit: Lendingmemo]

 



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PROTECT YOURSELVES!

by Tammy Ryan on July 14, 2014

in Random Thoughts

 My very close friend recently had her life turned upside by someone who stole her identity. This thief stole her identity from credit card information that she used online. The thief then proceeded to charge $19,000 on her credit card. I saw firsthand how it turned her life upside down. It took her almost a year and $9,000 in attorney fees to rectify the problem.

It hit even closer to home for me when my 27 year old daughter recently had her wallet stolen.  The thief charged over $1,800 on her credit card and tried to get money from her bank account.  The store clerks that allowed the transactions did not even verify the signature on the card…nor did they look at the name on the card to verify that the card was under a women’s name but a man was using it.  The store also refused to release the security tape to the police.  The police department tried to help as much as resources allowed but the high volume of thefts of this nature left my daughters case in the unsolved category.  It was a very frustrating experience for all of us.

It seems lately I am hearing more and more stories from people just like these stories that have been affected by some type of identity theft. I recently read that as many as 9 million Americans have had their identities stolen. This means that checking your credit scores once a year is no longer enough protection. I started researching how I could protect myself and my family from this growing crime.

Here are a few tips that I found to help safeguard and protect your identity and outsmart identity thieves:ident1

*Know who you are dealing with!
*Don’t use your debit card to pay for anything online.
*Look at your credit card and bank statements online at least once a week to check for unwanted charges. And if a credit card bill does not arrive in the mail on, notify the issuer right away. Someone may have taken the bill from the mailbox or changed or account address.
*Protect your PIN number. Shield it whenever you enter it into a keypad so people surrounding you cannot see it.
ident2*Keep all your sensitive information private– phone numbers addresses, email, off social networking sites. If you conduct business online use your own computer. Public computers are less secured. Never send a user name, password or personal info via email.
*Use strong passwords. Include letters & symbols. Do not use personal info for passwords. Change passwords regularly.
*Have a good bank that monitors for fraud.  On your debit and credit card have a prompt that requires your ID be verified on all transactions.
*Keep your voice down. Don’t charge things over the phone in public.
*Shred it. Don’t throw out anything with your address, account numbers or Social Security number on it. Shred it instead.  Do not carry your social security card with you.
*Don’t store credit card and bank numbers on your cell phone.

*Hang up! Never give personal information to telephone solicitors, even if they offer you a prize.  Also, your credit card company will never call you asking for personal card information. Never give your credit card info over the phone to an unsolicited caller.

*Beware of phishing scams. Don’t respond to any pop-ups. When you see an email that looks like it’s from a bank, PayPal, eBay, or any other site you might be registered to, be on guard. Look for misspelled or strange sender email addresses—they may be phishing. Don’t verify any account information directly through an email. Go to the service provider’s website instead. Log in from there.



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Coffee & Cars OKC

June 2, 2014

Are you a car show junkie? If so, please make a note that the first Saturday every month is Coffee & Cars OKC. Lots of folks show up and show their toys. It’s held in the parking lot at Northpark Mall, NW 122nd and N May Ave. Plan on stopping by and having coffee and […]

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MY TOP TEN REASONS OKLAHOMA CITY IS GREAT!

June 1, 2014

     Being a military family we were excited when we found out that we were moving to Oklahoma City. We had heard so many positive things about the community and the quality of life in OKC. But most of all we thought it would be a great a place to raise a family. Boy, were […]

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Edmond Real Estate Market Recap

May 15, 2014

Edmond Market Statistics It’s been awhile since we’ve looked at the entire Edmond market and looking back over the last three years is actually somewhat startling! Prices up significantly, inventory down significantly. Lets take a look… 90-day stats for Single Family properties inEDMOND, OK as of September 5, 2014Median List Price:$328,029Average List Price:$394,198Total Inventory:1,006Price per […]

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BUCKET LIST

April 14, 2014

In honor of my son’s 23 birthday today I am reposting a blog I did a few years ago.  He continues to amaze me with his zest for life and living every moment to the fullest. He is still going strong at working on crossing all his “must do’s” off his list.  I am proud that […]

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TORNADO SAFETY TIPS

April 1, 2014

Spring in Oklahoma means the potential threat for severe weather is ever present so I thought I would post a few tornado safety tips I found from a radio website.   None of the tips include running outside with your camera to take pictures so when severe weather is approaching please take the proper precautions to keep you and […]

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What’s Happening in the OKC Metro for April

March 28, 2014

Spring is finally in the air and there are several things happening in April but one fun thing starts tonight. H&8th Night Market kicks off the 2014 season tonight 3/28 from 7-11. It will be held the last Friday of the month through November. There are 20 plus food trucks, live music and craft beer. Elements […]

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