I've been in Oklahoma for seven years now and until last week had never been to Tulsa, to see Tulsa! It's been on my mind to go for a visit for quite a while now but it took Samantha coming all the way from Virginia to get my booty there.
The first day she was here, I popped her by a couple Route66 stops and we had some tasty meals but on the second day, we hopped in the car after a morning work out, Starbucks in hand, and made our way to Tulsa. Tulsa is only a couple hours north east of Norman, it's a short and simple drive. I did some research prior to our trip and gathered there were two major things on our list: 1. The Philbrook Museum and 2. A walking tour of Tulsa.
We started our day at The Philbrook and just loved it. The Museum was once a home to a wealthy oil business dude. Later in life he gave the home and property to the city to become an art museum. The works of art housed there are fantastic but the home itself is definitely the jewel. The grounds are breathtaking! We spent a good amount of time out there. If you're going to Tulsa, you just MUST put this place on your list!
Next we headed to downtown Tulsa. I had booked us a tour covering the historic favorites of downtown. We met up with Mike from Tours of Tulsa just outside of the Philcade building and started the tour almost immediately. Mike took us through several of the buildings, and took special care to point out design details, something we, as designers, greatly appreciated. We both loved learning the unique stories and so-told-rumors of some of the design decisions made. Tulsa is rather unique in its design and architecture, as all of the buildings were built in the favored design of the wealthy oil businessman who funded the various building projects. While Tulsa is well known for many art deco buildings, there was also a great amount of interiors with heavy European design influences. It was so cool to see each building and how vastly different one was from the other.
The tour was great, not only for the history and fun stories, but we also got to check out special areas in the buildings that we would not have been able to see as just a visitor. Additionally, we both felt there were so many areas that you wouldn't have even known to check out because they weren't in the city guides. Seeing the tunnel systems was one of my favorite parts and definitely not something you see in every city. You haven't really visited a city until you've learned about it and I'm so glad we spent the time to take this tour. Ever since Kevin and I took our first city tour on our honeymoon, I've been convinced that you learn the most about a city through the mouth of an actual tour guide. If you're traveling to Tulsa, I highly recommend you gather a group and give yourself an hour to learn from the fabulous guides of Tours of Tulsa. It was worth every penny.
Mike gave us a few extra minutes of history as we walked with him toward his parking location, and then we checked out some stores before making our way to the Mayo Hotel, Mike said we couldn't miss it. The exterior of the hotel is my favorite but the interior certainly was beautiful. Samantha and I were able to catch a peek into the museum room. The walls were covered with framed photographs of famous musicians and actors that had visited and stayed there. We had hoped to pop up to the rooftop but we're just a little early, we found the ballroom level though and had a good time exploring the empty, beautiful room. I'd never seen such a simple yet ornate ballroom with that much natural light. The room had fabulous views. I could only imagine how beautiful a wedding might be in there.
|That's Mike our tour guide!|
We spent our last few minutes in the city at Utica Square before we headed back home to Norman. We had a quick bite at one of our favorites, Zoe's and then went to Bible Study. It was so fun to have Samantha at small group. She really got a big glimpse into our normal life that night, and I loved having her there.
I'm pretty sure we both crashed and fell asleep immediately that night. I wish we'd kept track of how much walking we'd done, I'm pretty sure we might have walked an entire half marathon collectively.
More on our trip to follow!
*I contacted Kelly of Tours of Tulsa about a week or so prior to our visit, I'm so thankful for her flexibility. She was so kind in helping us adjust our schedule and answering all my questions. Find Tours of Tulsa on their website (linked above) or on Facebook here. Be sure and let them know I sent ya!