Travel Guide to Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Hey y’all!! We are back with our 2nd Edition of our Travel Guides on the Blog! You all loved our Girl’s Guide to an East Coast Trip so much that we decided to add another Guide to the series. A little over a month ago now, Tiffany,  of Wanderlust Floral Designs, and I made our way north of DFW to Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma. This quaint town, located at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, is the perfect place for family vacations, peaceful retreats and even a little adventure. We had a blast exploring McCurtain County and I just wanted to share some tips on where to stay, what to eat and how to get the most out of a small getaway like this.

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Where to Stay: Lakeview Lodge at Beaver’s Bend State Park 

This state-owned facility is exactly what your family is looking for. Each room has a gorgeous view of the lake from your very own balcony. Continental breakfast is included and we managed to snag a Groupon for our stay which made it Uber affordable, around $50/night. For more information on how to stay here, give the front desk a call at (580) 494 6179 or head to TravelOK.com. Word to the Wise: Beware of Spring Break!

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Where to Stay: Rent a Cabin for the Week

Though we did not opt for a cabin, we were lucky enough to meet some locals and check out their digs during our stay. Jerry Isbell of Mountain Vista Luxury Cabins was nice enough to offer up some information on how to rent a cabin/cabins in the Broken Bow area. We encourage you to download their app and check out their Blog for more information on this versatile area.

Jerry & Sherri Isbell
Mountain Vista Luxury Cabin
http://www.BeaversBendVacations.com
info@beaversbendvacations.com
Where to Eat: Grateful Head
I will head back to this place every time I am in the area. This hippie shack, located about a mile from Lakeview Lodge, is the ultimate hangout for friends and family. The walls are decorated with Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead memorabilia, as well as a few bobcats hanging from the ceiling. An outdoor patio with thousands of twinkly lights and space heaters makes it the ultimate oasis for anyone looking for a good beer and some really fantastic wood-fired pizza. Bands play out on the deck and the gift shop offers the absolute softest t-shirts around if you are in need of a souvenir. We recommend the Psychedelic Supremo or the Tree Hugger paired with one of the Beaver’s Bend Brews.
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Where to Eat: The Blue Rooster
Located in the same parking lot as the Grateful Head, the Blue Rooster is chalk full of southern charm. The menu consists of everything southern fried; chicken, Gulf shrimp, catfish, green tomatoes. The service was great and the Bloody Mary’s were the ultimate way to start off our trip. Plan on spending your night out on their patio with one of the many Oklahoma craft brews that are available at the bar. We recommend the Fried Chicken dinner!
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Where to Eat: Abendigo’s
This place is definitely one of the fancier places to dine in Broken Bow. Tiffany and I rolled into this joint late one night to catch the end of the Rangers game and could not have been more pleased with our experience. Though most places shut down super early in this town, Abendigo’s proved to be the place to grab a late bite and a cold beer. Tiff had the Wood-Grilled Salmon and I had the Chicken Madeira. Both dishes were out-of-this world. We recommend both but highly suggest that you try the Fried Calamari with Dynamite Aioli and Pickled Jalapeno Relish!
What to Do: Beaver’s Bend State Park
This park has so much to offer. Whether you are away for a girl’s weekend, bachelor party or family vacation, this park has a mile-long list of activities to dive into. Head to visitmccurtaincounty.com for all the details.
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Kayaking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Carson’s Creek (great picnic area & marina)

 

 

What to Do: Beaver’s Bend River Floats

Near a swim beach in Beaver’s Bend, you can find this Rental Facility. For $12, Tiff and I had the pleasure of spending our day on the Lower Mountain Fork River. Though the kayak/canoe trip only takes about an hour, we managed to make it last all day. It was so much fun and the scenery can’t be beat. This was, hands down, our favorite part of the trip. To set it up, just give these guys a call at (580) 494 6070.

For a more adventurous ride, check out Wild Goose Canoe and Kayak. This company is located a little further out of town but worth the drive. They offer 2 trips, a 5 mile or 8 mile down the Mountain Fork River. One of the tours even has a Class 2 Rapids classification and a 3 foot waterfall, Presbyterian Falls.

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What to Do: Girls Gone Wine 

This boutique style wine and gift shop is located near Beaver’s Bend State Park. When planning our trip, I was lucky enough to get in contact with a young woman named Katie who worked here. She proved to be indispensable when it came time to find models for our styled shoot but also blew us away with her knowledge of the wines they had available. She explained to us that the owners, Michelle and Terry, have all the juices for the wine shipped to them and then they actually ferment their own wine! So, of course, we had to have a tasting.

Each variety and blend is innovative and a few of their wines have proceeds that help out local charities. The B’Ark is a kiwi pear Sauvignon Blanc which proceeds benefit Animal Rescue and their Friends 4 Life is a rose, white merlot infused with ripe strawberries, that was created with a friend’s memory in mind. The owner’s friend, Cynthia Shawnee Hutchings passed away in 2008 after battling breast cancer and these friends wanted to help raise awareness for Breast Cancer Research and be able to provide scholarships for their friend’s children. Now that those guys have graduated, the tradition continues. It varies each year but now the proceeds go towards scholarships for seniors at Broken Bow High School, where their friend has previously taught.

We could all learn a thing or two from the girls at Girls Gone Wine. We love that they have embraced their community with open hearts and the Pinot Noir Slushie had me at hello! Stop in here and make sure to tell these girls we said Hello!

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What to Do: Talimena Scenic Byway

This scenic drive panning over 54 miles of the Ouachita Mountains is the perfect opportunity to bust out that camera. For a lax day full of winding roads and sweeping views of the mountain vistas, head here during the fall. The changing colors of the fall foliage may force you to never leave.

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Next time:

So, we didn’t have the time or availability to do everything we wanted while we were in Broken Bow and that means we will be back. Next time, we are hoping to check out the Moon Tower, a restaurant located slightly north of Broken Bow. Owned and operated by Tabb Singleton, a winner of the CHOPPED series on the Food Network, the locals raved about the food.

Another must see, the RUGARU Ziplines. They were not open yet in the beginning of May but we are eyeing them out for our next trip. And lastly, squatch sighting. Yes, we will be on the hunt for the infamous Big Foot, apparently a favorite pastime in this particular part of the country 🙂

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What we Loved: 

Tiff and I had been itching to get out of dodge, beat the concrete jungle that is DFW and set up a styled shoot. McCurtain County provided the perfect backdrop for our shoot and for a relaxing vacation. The drive from DFW was only 3 hours and the sides of the road were covered in Texas spring blooms, everything from blue bonnets to Indian paintbrushes. We jammed out to the likes of Trent Harmon, Chris Stapleton and Sublime as we chatted our way to Oklahoma. Overall, this trip was one for the books. We managed to work and play. It is a balance and war to find time to take care of yourself when building a brand and this trip proved to be exactly what we needed. We got a little break from the hustle, a little time to rest and more stars in the sky than we could have ever imagined.

So if you are in need of a getaway, check out this part of the country and we know you will end up leaving a fresh perspective on the world. For more information, head to TravelOk.com or follows these guys on IG: @hochatime (a lifestyle brand) or @mccurtainok (travel info) or @beaversbend (cabin rentals). Hope you all enjoyed this Guide and looking forward to sharing our next big trip with you guys.

Where would you like to see us head next?

Highlight on Whitney Bowman Photography

Today, we are going to take a minute to talk about Community over Competition. Every forum, book, blog touches on this particular business model. In the creative world, I have found that this idea plays an essential role that every business needs in order to define their voice. Having the support from your peers or colleagues creates a sounding board for positive change, for forward motion.

This idea provides opportunity for growth and change. I have found that the biggest struggle in being a small business owner is balance. Balancing work and ambition can be a tumultuous task so when you find a fellow creative that you can bounce ideas off of, the possibilities for innovation become endless and somehow, easier to bare.

Whitney Bowman is a force to be reckoned with. She is a mom to this amazing little guy, Jake, a wife to her highschool sweetheart, Billy, a consultant for Rodan + Fields and runs her own photography business in North Texas. This girl knows how to get things done and fortunately enough for me, she’s graciously made her self available to help me out and answer some questions about how to keep that balance.

When it came time for Christmas card pictures, I had only one person in mind for the job. Whitney took the time to meet us at Bear Creek Park in Keller, TX and managed to capture some beautiful portraits of our family. Today, we’re going to sit down and chat with this sweet Mama about what drives her and how to stay on track.

RN: How do you balance life as a mom, entrepreneur and Rodan + Fields consultant? Any tips for staying on course?

WB: Well, I have only been doing all three together since June. I have learned it’s tough but to never procrastinate. I have a white board in my office where I keep a to do list. I also make daily to do lists. Lists keep me focused and off of Facebook. I feel accomplished when I check things off. Plus, my husband, mom, mother-in-law and Mother’s Day Out help A LOT! 😉

RN: What type of camera do you use and what is your favorite feature the camera has to offer?

WB: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II. I’m not a very “techie” person so I really can’t tell you why this camera body is better than another, or what feature I like the best. I just know it takes great photos and it’s easy to use.

RN:  When/Where did your passion for photography begin?

WB: My mom enrolled me in 4H when I was in 3rd grade. I got to take photography lessons at a photography studio and enter contests. My grandfather bought me a subscription to National Geographic and I would just look at the pictures and try to recreate them.

RN: What are some challenges ran into when starting your Photography business and any advice for budding photogs like myself?

WB: Pricing. I don’t want to be the cheapest and I don’t want to be the most expensive.  I want my prices to be fair for both parties involved and reflect my talent and time.
As far as advice… I would say to stick with your price. Don’t change because you think your customer isn’t going to like it. If you think it’s fair enough to advertise then don’t change it.

RN: Any particular lens you enjoy using more than others?

WB: I really really like shooting with a 70-200mm. It makes the images especially crisp and from a long distance.

RN:  Indoor or Outdoor? Which types of shoot do you prefer? Any desire for an indoor studio?

WB: I LOVE to shoot outdoors! One, because that’s what I am comfortable with, and two, because it has the best lighting. I would like to have an indoor studio but really just for bad weather days.

RN: Editing or Photographing? Which element of this career sparks more of an interest for you?

WB: I dislike sitting at a computer just editing which is why I am more concerned with getting the image right in the camera first. Doing this allows me to get the images back to my client quicker.

RN: Where do you see Whitney Bowman Photography in 5 years?

WB: I would LOVE to see Whitney Bowman Photography as the, or one of the, premier senior photographers in the area. I don’t much see myself in a studio or hiring other photographers, just because I want to keep this a small operation.

RN: Any locations or events you really hope to snag in the future? (more weddings, more seniors, etc?)

WB: I really enjoy photographing seniors. They are so shy at the beginning of the shoot but by the end they have stepped out of their shell and are working it!

RN: Lastly, recommendations to clients for best possible shoot? (attire, time of day, props, Pinterest, lighting suggestions).

WB: Be as natural as possible. Don’t go buy a new outfit that is uncomfortable because then your photos will be. I am a less is more kind of person as well as in my photographs which is why I don’t use a bunch of props. In my opinion, you have family photos taken to capture your “people”, your family. Why take away from that with props? When you look at a portrait, what is the first thing you look at? Faces!

Here is a sneakpeek of our shoot. For more information on how to book with Whitney Bowman Photography, check her out on Facebook page (Whitney Bowman Photography) or her IG account (whittyb82). You can scroll her Blog, http://www.whitneybowman.wordpress.com, give her a call at 817-223-7406 or shoot her an email at whitneybowmanphoto@gmail.com.

Big thank you to Whitney for taking the time to sit down and talk with me and for choosing to share her knowledge of achieving the dream. Hopefully one day soon, we get a chance to collaborate ideas and put one in the books!