Of Entrepreneurs and Wander Lust

Oklahomans are known far and wide for their friendliness and hospitality.

The entrepreneurial spirit also is alive and well here, as evidenced by area residents who, armed with a passion and skill for cooking or crafting beautiful things, took that next big step and launched a business. We’ve featured a few of them in this issue.

Our main MIO story features the Steele Family Farm of Washington. Goat milk is the main ingredient in their soap- and lotion-making business. While it’s a time-consuming effort requiring the input of husband and wife as well as their four sons, it’s also truly a labor of love.

Also featured herein: a story describing a short road trip taken by this editor, along with photographer Lindsey Davies, her husband and my sister. Answering the siren call of Adventure Road, a stretch of Interstate 35 that runs from Oklahoma City to the Red River, we headed south to Sulphur one day in early June, staying overnight in the beautiful Artesian Hotel, Casino and Spa.

It was a timely visit in light of several anniversaries. August marks the third anniversary of the establishment of the rebuilt hotel, and what would have been the 110th anniversary of the original luxury hotel, the New Winston Hotel (later renamed the Artesian Hotel), which opened in 1906 and was destroyed by fire in 1962. During the height of the nation’s great highway expansion, the structure was rebuilt as a more humble motor inn; in 1972, it was purchased by the Chickasaw Nation as its first business venture, the Chickasaw Motor Inn. And in 2006, the inn was razed to begin construction on the beautiful, four-story structure that opened to the public in 2013.

Artesian Area General Manager Nick Stams says that while the Cleveland County market already is a major market for them, first-time visitors from this area often tell him they had no idea the hotel/spa/casino existed. In part thanks to the hotel’s Sole’renity Spa, anonymity is not likely to remain a problem long for this high-end locale, however. Last October, Better Homes and Gardens magazine listed it as one of the top 10 spas in the country.

This month also marks the centennial of the National Park Service—relevant because no stay in Sulphur is complete without a visit to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, the state’s only true national park (also the smallest national park), and it’s located only two blocks from the Artesian.

Stams notes that The Artesian attracts a wide variety of visitors, including vacationing families and couples looking for a romantic get-away, as well as those attending national and regional conferences. Whatever your reason, my suggestion is to book a stay soon!

Happy reading!