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An Oklahoma secret

By Susen Foster

Lined with lovely old buildings on bricked streets and exuding small town friendliness, Pauls Valley, Okla., is a charming place with some of the state's most interesting shops.

An hour south of Oklahoma City on I-35, the gateway to town is easily recognized by a view of the attractive tasting room of Valley Vineyard & Winery elegantly nestled below an eastern facing knoll north of the exit. With sunlight bouncing off colorful wine bottles and stately stained glass in this high-ceilinged room, winter travelers sit by the fire and sip fine wines with friends. The winery is also a favorite area locale for many weddings and reunions; and the beautiful garden patio and brick fire pit make the perfect setting for the popular art shows and intimate concerts the Klingensmith's frequently host. Contact: 405-207-9829 or valleyvineyardsandwinery.com.

Downtown is a short drive east. South from Highway 19, the curved drive at 822 South Walnut Avenue welcomes visitors to Your Framer & Gifts, a non-descript name for a very charming boutique whose closely-held secret is in the back room where skilled artists create exceptional custom art framing. But for well seasoned shoppers, the fun begins at the front door where natural fabric clothing by Fresh Produce, luxurious scents from Thymes, delicious packaged food from The Barefoot Contessa and Stonewall Kitchen, and all kinds of goodies from Life is Good are waiting to be snatched up. Allison also has a hard to pass up selection of handmade jewelry by several local artisans whose prices are astounding--in a good way!! Contact: 405-238-3579.

On the brick streets of historic Pauls Valley, at the corner of Chickasaw and McClure, is a magical place where the ladies love to linger. Corner Market, in an immense, ageless building, is where Debbie creatively displays loads of fabulous home décor, truly unusual gifts for every occasion, and some things you just can't pass up--like the gorgeous handbags by Melie Bianco and Ruth Michael which are showcased alongside natural stone jewelry, aromatic candles, and luscious Pré de Provence Bath & Body products. One of the best things about this place is the old soda fountain where gals sit and enjoy a cappuccino, an icy Italian cream soda, or share some homemade soup while eyeing colorful Fiesta Ware, the latest kitchen gadgets and Paula Deen's famous seasonings. Contact: 405-238-2640 or cornermarketgifts.com

An intriguing downtown gem is thegallery at 204 W. Paul. This cozy shopper's haven is where fine art holds hands with everything from clothing to needlepoint. Ruth Anne travels the globe, using her sense of style and keen eye, to find just the right gifts to excite her customers. The silky soft children's clothing and accessories from Barefoot Dreams and Little Giraffe are a big hit along with haute women's apparel from Planet, Johnny Was, and Green Dragon. Then there are the award winning handmade greeting cards, a plethora of elegant multi-cultural jewelry, an appealing collection of fine art and an extravagant selection of Lampe Berger lamps and fragrances. The shop is also well known for its superb collection of yarns and unique hand painted needlepoint canvases. Contact: 405-207-9527 or shopthegallery.com.

For more on this not-so-ordinary Oklahoma town, visit www.paulsvalley.com.

Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Greater Success Advertising. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.

1/19/09
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Date: 1/13/09



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