Take Me to Tulsa: The Most Welcoming City of All
After landing in arrivals at the airport, I immediately felt the warm Oklahoma welcome. Recently, I went for a getaway with my family and it was definitely one to remember. We decided to take the off beaten road and go somewhere a bit unexpected: Tulsa. The weather in town had been unpredictable over the past couple of weeks with rain, floods, and gloominess, but good thing the sun was shining bright for the majority of our stay.
The city hosted their annual bike race and the festival of flowers at Gathering Place, the largest community park of the United States of America. What was just a dream in the making four years ago became a reality thanks to kind philanthropists who came together and contributed an estimated $425 million.
The Gathering Place is not just an ordinary park. This 100-acre riverfront oasis that had been built with the intention of welcoming guests near and far—and admission is free. It’s a beautiful space designed by renowned landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh. The kids had a blast there! D’Artagnan met a fairy princess during our walk and Alvieri had a chance to really enjoy the great outdoors. Upon visiting, you’ll find that it’s filled with playgrounds that are accessible to everyone, including people of all ages and those with disabilities, too.
When it comes to food, delight your appetite with delicious options such as the extensive offerings at Vista at the Boathouse. Over at Williams Lodge, the main building to the park, we took a break and I caught up on my social media scrolling—good thing for the free WiFi! My husband Mike and I fell in love with the earthy decor there and it even has the largest walk-in fireplace in the country. Yes, there is a theme here—everything is SO spacious. Quite different compared to New York!
The gathering room is fully furnished with a floor made of stone from an Oklahoma mountain. It’s actually the same type of wood that was used to build the park (fun fact: the park used 50 tons of this wood!). The residents joke that they took so much of the mountain that there is no mountain left. The ceiling is intricately made with five different types of wood, four of which are classic oak. “Peggy’s Pond” is the home to the only beach in Oklahoma and also the home of many critters including a tiny frog we came across while venturing through the park.
The landscape had been created to host over three thousand species of plants. There’s also an abundance of wildflowers whose seeds are scattered to grow in order to bring a natural ambiance. I couldn’t help but to run across the field of flowers and take snapshots along the way with my favorite jewelry and beauty products, of course! I took my go-to Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45 Sunscreen, Lagos bracelet, diamond pavé ring, small circle ring, earrings, and bright pink Givenchy lipstick.
And this is just stage one. We hope you visit and I can’t wait to come back and see firsthand how much the trees have grown. The programs throughout the city keep on developing as well as the changes they have planned with stages 2, 3, 4, and 5. Oh Tulsa, you have my heart.