If you are like a majority of my friends on social media, then you start whipping out the sweaters Labor Day weekend in hopes of getting to snuggle by a fire in that over-priced crochet throw you purchased on Amazon. Here in Oklahoma, a 5 degree drop in weather brings out the Pumpkin-Spice-Everything Girls and possibly a Christmas tree or two.
Late October to mid-November is usually the best time to take in the Oklahoma fall foliage. Yes, we have trees. It’s not all plains and cows. In the southeast portion of the state, we have actual terrain with “mountains,” trees, and man-made lakes and rivers. In this area you can find Beaver’s Bend State park, AKA Bigfoot Country. Yes, you read that right.
Beaver’s Bend, which is nestled between Hochatown and Broken Bow is a quick four-hour drive from Oklahoma City or Dallas. Not a drive you want to do round-trip in a day, but you want to linger for a long weekend to explore, sip wine, make fires, and take lots of pictures.
This year, I have been to Beaver’s Bend area twice, both with a great group of friends. This area is a prime location for camping and cabining. If you are like me, cabining is your preferred way of glamping. I like running hot water, flushing toilets, and a heater when it gets cold. If I can sip a glass of wine while soaking in a bubbling hot tub and watching fall foliage, I win.
So let me tell you about my most recent trip to Bigofot Country:
On a crisp and cold November Friday morning, my friends and I made the long, four-hour journey to the famed autumn hot-spot, Beaver’s Bend. Cracked out on coffee and an incorrect McDonald’s breakfast order, we laughed and caught up on each other’s latest news while winding through tree-lined Oklahoma roads. We took the long way in order to lunch at Lovera’s Italian Market in Krebs, Oklahoma. We devoured hot pressed meaty sandwiches dripping in succulent juices and sauce, praying we would not fall into a food-coma behind the wheel. After refueling our gas tanks and caffeine supply, we took the Talimena Scenic Drive to get to our cabin in Beaver’s Bend.
Tip: When taking the Talimena Scenic Drive, allow yourself plenty of time to stop and take pictures. The views from the scenic stops are breathtaking. The old, tree-lined highway is said to be one of the best drives to take in the fall because of the colorful leaves and epic views.
After many side and scenic stops, we made it to our cabin late afternoon. Our cabin was situated off the main highway in Beavers bend. It was a property that had 2 cabins and many mature trees, providing a canopy of fall colors. We claimed our beds and took stock of all the amenities this cute place had to offer. The front porch was large enough we could have fit a small town on it for cocktail hour. Around the side was a hot tub, bubbling and warm, inviting us in for an after-dinner soak. The back of the property revealed a fire pit and cozy yard chairs to enjoy the fire. From here, the setting sun rays glimmered through the fall leaves, soothing the tired nerves from a long car ride.
Though we were ready for the festivities to begin, we needed food supplies. I made a list, and we hit the only store in the area, which was 15 minutes from our cabin. Because Pruitt’s Foods is the ONLY grocery store in the area, it was quite packed for a Friday night. Other cabiners were scurrying about the store with romantic ideas of grilling meats and smores over the fire whilst gazing at the star-lit night. Friend groups were spotted taking selfies by the seasonal creamers on aisle 2 so they could share it on their social medias. How sweet. We were in a mad rush to get our needs and get out. Time is money and we had our priorities—cold beer and food.
Once we had our necessities stocked back at the cabin, we bundled up and made the quick jaunt to Beaver’s Bend Brewery. This local favorite is hopping on a Friday night. We parked at Girls Gone Wine, it’s neighboring business, and made the trek up the tree-flanked staircase. We were welcomed to the landing with live music, heat lamps, and the promise of beer and hotdogs. Beaver’s Bend Brewery is known for its own brews. This place is heaven for the indecisive, like myself, as they have a build-your-own beer flight! While they were pouring my beer, the savory smells from the hot dog food truck were teasing my stomach. Quickly, I looked at the menu and selected my hot dog combo of choice, paid and found the perfect seating spot by the band and heat lamps!
Once we were all settled and sipping our brews, I took in the moment and realized how thankful I am to have those friends of mine in my life. The music was loud, but our laugher and drunken singing echoed into the hills, awakening the beasts that had fallen asleep.
After our stomachs were full and our thirst was quenched, we headed for the hot tub and fire pit at our cabin. A few of us ladies grabbed some wine and sank into the steamy depths of the welcoming hot tub. Slowly we sipped on our Pinot Noir, discussing online dating woes, family drama, and relived fun moments prior to COVID. Others congregated by the crackling fire pit, cloaked in blankets and armed with bourbon. Building work tensions melted away to allow for a weekend of recharging, bad ideas, and inside jokes.
Daylight awoke us with the promise of adventure. As the coffee was consumed, I whipped us up some bacon, egg, and cheese croissant sandwiches. The autumn morning was chilly, but bright. We took our breakfast outside on the front porch, sipped mimosas and coffee, and drank in the morning sunlight. Had it not been for our hurried gulps and satisfied smackings, the birds would have not been scared away from their fluttering fun. So judgmental. After nourishment was consumed, we started out on our morning hike at Beaver’s Bend State Park.
Beaver’s Bend State Park had a red-carpet road made of hills and canopied trees luring us to await natures performance. Upon arrival, we were greeted with the open arms of Broken Bow Lake, where her sparkling blue waters shimmered in the sun’s spotlight. Moving further into the park, laughter from near-by campers and hikers serenaded us along the way. Our windows were cracked to allow the fall breeze to whisper the way, but were instead teased and tempted by the aromas of gilled meats and lake water. Finally, we found our parking area, nestled into a hidden pocket of the hills and river. Eager for exercise and surprises, we wandered our way through a few peaceful trails, trying not to trip or promote a muscle spasm. Quiet moments draped in intimate nature secrets provided the perfect opportunity to stop time. One could lose themselves for a whole day trying to discover all the hidden gems each trail was waiting to unveil, while trying to massage out that sharp pain in a muscle they forgot they had.
Wandering through the woods and along singing streams worked up a ravenous appetite among our group. I am not a fan of road kill, but at that moment, I am sure it would have tasted like filet mignon if it came off the grill. Foggy Bottom Kitchen was conveniently located along our hiking way, assuring us our hunger pains would be eased. Greeted by a huge twig-made Bigfoot, we made our way into the lobby of the restaurant. Since the wait was quite long, we opted to order our food to go, eliminating the chance of a hangry outburst amongst the fed. We had a pup in tow with us and also wanted to sit by the river. My boyfriend and I ordered the chicken and waffles. Remembering the airiness of the waffle and the crispy crunch of the tender chicken drizzled in bacon maple syrup makes me salivate to this day. We all devoured our lunch to the back drop of a large wall of rock and tree and rustling river, causing the actual animals to look civilized. The area was crowded but nature drowned out the yelps and cries of screaming tired tots.
A few more hikes and the late afternoon sun teased us of the arrival of dusk, advising us to wrap up our hiking adventure and to put some icy-hot on our protesting muscles. Tired and sore, we did not object to the notion of a hot shower and cold beer that awaited. That night we all feasted on a crock pot chicken soup, bacon wrapped mushrooms, and hot apple cobbler. Wine was poured, games were played, and music blared into the midnight sky. The Birthday boy got his cupcake while we roasted s’mores over the firepit and attempted not to fall into the flames. We all slept like the dead that night as our aching muscles recovered.
After a restful night of hike and wine induced sleep, we slowly crawled out of our beds, dreading our return to our real worlds of working over time and schedule conflicts. We were able to squeeze in a breakfast of left-over chicken soup, toast, and coffee. We all pitched in and cleaned our rental, scouring every inch to ensure we were not leaving clues of our festive moments or other personal items behind. We meandered around the outside of the cabin, pausing to reflect on the memorable nights spent bonding by the fire. We tiptoed around the hot-tub to avoid disturbing the now peaceful waters from their slumber, seeking any forgotten earring or wine glass. We grabbed our bags and bid our farewells to the cabin that sheltered us that crisp autumn weekend.
On the way out of town, we realized that absolutely NO retail therapy, other than groceries, had been had. Janet’s Treasure Chest hooked us in off the road with its preview of large bronze statues and oddities framing the entrance. Who wouldn’t want to hop on the back of a bronze horse? Could your day get any better? Only if Bigfoot himself made a cameo to the shopping trip, which he selfishly did not. I was able to buy a bunch of treasures I didn’t really need and get some birthday gifts for friends. So, it was a success that had me excited all the way home.
Beavers Bend / Broken Bow / Hochatown is the perfect weekend getaway for anyone longing for escape but has limited resources or on a time budget. This area is best enjoyed as a group. My advice is to plan your trip ahead of time, as the restaurants, breweries, and wineries close early, even on the weekends. When I was there in January, there was only one restaurant open for brunch, however more were open in November. With only one grocery store in the area, I would suggest bringing some groceries with you and only buy what couldn’t make the drive in a cooler.
- Have you been to this area before?
- What were your favorite things to do there or favorite places?
Please post your info, sworn secrets, or tips in the comments for us all to see!
Until my next adventure,
Make Life Zesty.
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