Travel to the Cherokee Nation: A new website helps you plan

In the 7,000 square miles of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, there are attractions scattered across it. From National Historic Landmark Fort Gibson that was built in 1824 as a staging area for military expeditions in the west, to Will Rogers birthplace, to the Tahequah Cultural District–the Cherokee Nation’s capitol after the Cherokee were forced to relocate to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, the variety is impressive.

As a way to help tourists find their way across the Cherokee Nation’s vastness, and plan a trip according to their interests, the website Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism was recently launched.

Along with the navigation tools that allow people to find out specifics about each cultural attraction, there is also a Calendar of Events page and another page to help folks hook up with specific tours: Cherokee Old Settler Tour; Will Rogers History Tour; Cherokee History Tour; and Cherokee Civil War Tour.

The list of things to do on each day of February is impressive. One event that caught my attention on this month’s calendar is the Fiddler’s Festival, February 26-28 at the Western Hills Guest Ranch & Sequoyah State Park.

One place to start a trip to the region might be the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Oklahoma. Here you can learn more about Cherokee history and life. The complex also has an ancient village designed to look like it did before the Europeans showed up.

Even if you don’t plan to set foot in Oklahoma, head to the website as a history and cultural arts lesson. You’ll come away learning aspects of American history you may not have known before. [Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

Vinita, Oklahoma: Fond Memories

Vinita, Oklahoma comes up in my conversations at least once year. When Justin posted the photo of the world’s largest McDonald’s in Vinita, I once again thought of Vinita with a smile.

I spent a few days there the summer after I got out of the Peace Corps. In true traveler fashion one of my friends and I did a cross-country trip mostly on Greyhound and Trailways busses. For three months we stayed with friends, family, friends of family and family of friends–anyone who agreed to have us. Neither of us knew the family we stayed with in Vinita who owned the dairy farm, but they were friends of friends, and what I call “good folk.”

Besides their wonderful hospitality, luckily for my friend, there was a wonderful small town doctor who figured out why my friend kept getting boils-not all at once, one at a time. This doctor in Vinita was about her fourth medical visit that summer, and the one who figured out she had some sort of infection that could be cured with a high dose of antibiotics. Problem solved.

So, whenever I think of Vinita I remember nothing but good thoughts and the evening we had before sunset swimming in a lovely lake. If you head there, take some time out to slow down and enjoy the slower pace of small town life. As you meander along, besides stopping in the world’s largest McDonald’s for a hamburger, look for the Will Roger’s monument. It’s in the restaurant. There’s another Will Roger’s monument next to Route 66. This one was the first historical marker to be placed in Oklahoma. Here’s a link to other area attractions.