Guthrie, Okla.--Victorian and visionary
By Susen Foster
"Before the magnificent oaks, clattering hooves on brick-paved streets, and splendor of turn-of-the-century architecture, the sweeping prairie grass covering two million acres in Indian Territory called to the brave and resilient to come and settle this land.
"At noon on April 22, 1889, cannons resounded as tens of thousands of settlers thundered over the prairie on horses, in wagons, and on foot with only the goal of owning their own land. Over 10,000 claims were staked that day in the land next to Cottonwood Creek.
"Driven by passion to embrace the unknown, these 'sooners' exploded onto the landscape forging businesses and a progressive lifestyle. Within hours, wooden structures replaced tents, and within months the modern brick and stone city of Guthrie emerged.
"One of the largest historic districts on the National Register, a portion of Guthrie's downtown district is designated as a National Historic Landmark. This official declaration signifies the national importance of the downtown architecture and its history." (Excerpt from www.cityofguthrie.com.)
There is so much that makes Historic Downtown Guthrie exceptional. One of my favorites is the number of art studios and galleries: from intimate spaces exhibiting the work of a single artist, to one with many thousand square feet where creations by a multitude of Oklahoma artists and artisans are on display.
Something else to boast about is the city's love of live theater and the frequency and variety of performances, concerts and plays throughout the year. The Pollard Theater has maintained its historical feel and is one of the greatest reasons to visit.
And the finest treasures making the "small" town of Guthrie an exceptional destination are the Bed & Breakfast inns that welcome guests year round. Hide away in a tiny cottage; share the elegance of a Victorian mansion; or visit a three-story western log house. Choose somewhere slightly off the beaten path or in the middle of historic downtown where it all happens. The website www.guthriebb.com will lead you to the perfect lodging options.
Of course, with so much to see and do there have to be awesome eateries, and Guthrie has many choices from which to sate your hunger and thirst.
In addition, there are many events in Guthrie; Art Walks, the annual 89er Celebration, Oklahoma's International Bluegrass Festival and their famous Territorial Christmas are a few to put on your calendar. For more about events visit the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce website at www.guthrieok.com.
Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Pecan Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Pauls Valley, Okla. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.