Here are those pics from my Bartlesville trip that I said I was going to post – it’s only been a month. It was a pretty short trip; we left early Saturday morning and got home early Sunday evening.
View from Woolaroc Lodge
Our first stop was at Woolaroc, the country home of Frank Phillips, named for the woods, lake and rock. It is in a beautiful location. Unfortunately, Phillips was having a company party with thousands of guests while we were there. If we had known that, we probably would have skipped it. Parking, as well as the karaoke being performed, was awful. While there we visited the museum and the lodge. The museum houses a variety of items. Most interesting to me was the Woolaroc plane that won the Dole Air Race (across the Pacific Ocean). The lodge was smaller than we expected and I was a bit disappointed that the second floor was not open to the public. One of the other visitors said that one of the zebra heads (not trophies, because all the animals lived on the ranch and died of natural causes) was actually a donkey painted to look like a zebra. The docent was not familiar with this story, so I can’t say whether it’s true, but it was fun trying to locate it.
Once we got into town we stopped for lunch at Frank & Lola’s, a yummy burger joint with a funky atmosphere. If you ever go there, be sure to check out all the artwork they’ve made using wine corks. After lunch we rushed over to the Frank Phillips’ Mansion. We were a few minutes late for the tour, yes we were those annoying people, but the docent quickly caught us up on what we’d missed. I love old homes so I was in heaven. If I ever go back I would like to take the Director’s Tour to see the parts of the house we missed. We also went through the museum behind the home. It housed several interesting artifacts and provided a history of the Phillips family and business.
After the Phillips’ Mansion it was time to check in at the Price Tower. If you are claustrophobic or have a fear of elevators, this one might not be for you. It has some quirks, not uncommon of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings, namely the extremely small elevators.
I don’t think we could have stayed longer than one night; we wouldn’t have been able to get our stuff up in the elevator.
Our Room at the Price Tower
Fortunately the room was much more spacious and offered a great view of the city. Saturday evening we opted to eat dinner at the Copper Bar in the Price Tower. The coppertini I had rivaled any mixed drink my dad ever made (he mixed them strong).
Sunday morning, after breakfast on the terrace at the Price Tower, we walked around downtown. Very little was open but the weather was beautiful and there weren’t any crowds. There were some trees that had been yarn bombed by the local knitting club.
Like Oklahoma City, Bartlesville has a variety of Buffalo statues scattered through the city. I especially liked the Pistol Pete one.
For lunch Sunday morning we went to Weeze’s Cafe, one of the few places open (downtown anyway). They served your typical diner-fare – on Sunday’s it’s breakfast only. After lunch we headed back to the Price Tower to visit the museum and take the tour. Both were very informative and enjoyable. We also checked out the gift shop where I purchased some fun Frank Lloyd Wright drink glasses.
Knowing what I know now, there are a few things I would do differently. First of all, I would call Woolaroc in advance to confirm there weren’t any events scheduled for the weekend. I also think I would drive there from Bartlesville and not go up through Skiatook. The Skiatook route takes you down a long and narrow winding road; the Bartlesville route is more of a straight shot. But Skiatook does offer skydiving so maybe I would add that to the itinerary and brave the winding roads. Second, a lot of the attractions are closed on the weekends (especially Sunday), so I would try to visit on a weekday. Finally, I don’t think I would plan any meals at the Price Tower, but instead just visit the bar for a drink and weather permitting take it on one of the terraces. The Copper Bar is extremely small and did not offer the fine dining experience I was expecting. The complimentary breakfast was also disappointing. It was basically an unmanned kitchenette with some cereal and pastries. But overall, I really enjoyed Bartlesville. It’s an interesting city that every Oklahoman should check out.