15 photo-worthy stops in Grinnell, Iowa

15 photo-worthy stops in Grinnell, Iowa

Grinnell, Iowa, is an active and artsy college town. It’s also one of the most picturesque places we discovered on our weeklong road trip through the Hawkeye state. Whether you’re returning for a class reunion, enjoying a weekend getaway, or simply passing through, be sure to bring your camera (or smart phone) and check out some of these photo-worthy stops we found on our hosted trip to Grinnell.

1. Hotel Grinnell

Hotel Grinnell takes old school to a whole new level — literally. Once a junior high school, Hotel Grinnell is now a chic and modern luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Grinnell, Iowa. One step into the former school building and you’ll want to take pictures to show your friends. The owners elegantly transformed classrooms into guest rooms and the tall windows provide an abundance of light for fantastic photographs. Book a night in the old principal’s office or explore the ballroom which was once a gym. We promise, these will be the best school pictures you’ve ever taken.

 

Grinnell Iowa Hotel Grinnell

2. Merchants’ National Bank

At the corner of 4th Avenue and Broad Street sits the historic Merchants National Bank. Named a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of the Interior, it is one of legendary architect Louis Sullivan’s  “Jewel Box” banks. This incredible, well-preserved building now houses the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and Grinnell Visitor Center. Visitors are encouraged to step inside to look around and of course, take pictures of the colorful stained glass windows and intricate interior design.

Grinnell Iowa Louis Sullivan jewel box bank exterior

Grinnell Iowa Louis Sullivan jewel box bank window

3. Grinnell College Campus

Founded in 1846, this private liberal arts college has been an integral part of the Grinnell, Iowa, community for generations. With 1,600 students, the tradition-rich college is often ranked among the best undergraduate institutions in the nation. Old buildings, vast green spaces, and unique architecture make the entire campus picture worthy. Take a stroll across MacEachron (Mac) Field in the center of campus for a great shot of Rawson Hall featuring the distinctive central tower pictured below.

Grinnell Iowa Grinnell College

4. Central Park in Grinnell, Iowa

Covering nearly four acres in downtown Grinnell, Iowa, Central Park is a great place to relax and unwind making it a wonderful place to photograph kids and families. The covered stage hosts live music and special events. The the picnic shelter is a perfect spot for family gatherings and reunions. There’s also a water feature that can be activated between the hours of 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. during the warm weather months. It even lights up at night!

Grinnell Iowa Central Park bandstand

5. Drake Community Library

Friends of the Drake Community Library in Grinnell, Iowa, wanted to provide a photogenic destination sign that would also help visitors identify the library. Designed by local artist Ryan McGuire and manufactured by local signage company ASI Signage, the Friends of the Library installed this gigantic piece in front of the library at 930 Park Street. Definitely a picture-worthy stop, especially when there are blue skies.

Grinnell Iowa public library

6. Public murals

There are several large murals painted on buildings and walls throughout Grinnell, Iowa. We enjoyed finding this Dino mural behind a dentist’s office at 817 Commercial Street, as well as other murals around town. See how many you can find and photograph during your visit. The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce also offers a self-guided walking tour of community art HERE.

Grinnell Iowa dinosaur mural

Grinnell Iowa mural

7. The Periodic Table in Hotel Grinnell

The Periodic Table is Hotel Grinnell’s on-site bar and patio and we wanted to take pictures of everything in it! An oversized Scrabble board and a shuffleboard table sit in the lounge area, while the old junior high school scoreboard is lighted in the bar. Decorated with pictures of chemical elements, The Periodic Table is an ideal place to unwind with a beverage (with many more choices than white or chocolate milk) and share a small plate. The outdoor patio seating area is perfect for lounging around the fire or listening to live music with friends.

Grinnell Iowa Hotel Grinnell scrabble

Grinnell Iowa Hotel Grinnell Periodic Table


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8. Local architecture

Grinnell, Iowa, is well-known as a destination for fans of architecture. Art lovers and architectural historians alike come to see the town’s historic homes and unique buildings on the college campus. Folks also want to visit the entire downtown which is listed on the National Register of Historic places. The Chamber of Commerce even offers a self-guided Architectural Treasures Walking Tour that you can download HEREHave your camera ready to capture unique buildings like this one that once served as a dentist’s office. The chair was set in the turret with the windows around providing light for the doctor to work.

Grinnell Iowa dentist office window

9. Solera

Nestled in downtown Grinnell, Iowa, Solera is a wine and beer bar and a favorite of locals. Offering a wide variety of quality craft beers and wines, you’ll find it filled with friendly folks who check their worries at the door. When you go, be sure to bring your camera to capture some of the fun and eclectic decor. There’s even a Ruth Bader-Ginsburg bobblehead doll and this one-of-a-kind toilet paper holder. Peacetree Brewing Co. is another great place to stop for a local craft brew. 

Grinnell Iowa Solera bar toilet paper holder

10. Flowers in bloom

The streets of Grinnell, Iowa, are filled with plush gardens, planters, and baskets filled with colorful flowers. Take time to walk around and admire the different of varieties of flowers. You can even make use of that macro setting on your camera!

Grinnell Iowa Flowers

11. Food from Relish

When we visited Grinnell, we had the opportunity to sample dishes created by Chef Kamal of Relish restaurant. Using foods harvested by local farmers and producers, Chef Kamal created a five-course meal that rivaled anything we’ve had in the finest restaurants in the Midwest. Because he uses seasonal ingredients from local farmers like Olson Garden Market and Middle Way Farm, there’s always something new or experimental on the menu.

Grinnell Iowa harvest dinner

Grinnell Iowa Relish restaurant caprese at the Harvest Dinner

12. Grinnell’s Giving Gardens

Grinnell established Giving Gardens in 2013 through a community transformation grant as a way to give the community access to fresh foods. Anyone can harvest the produce from several gardens around town and there is no cost to participate in the program.

Grinnell Iowa farmers market

13. Los Girasoles Mexican Restaurant

Not only does Los Girasoles Mexican Restaurant have delicious food, the restaurant itself is picture worthy. The dining room is covered in hand-painted sunflowers. We couldn’t resist photographing the booths, tables, and chairs that all showcased the beautiful flowers. Take lots of pics and splurge on the queso — it’s worth every calorie.

Grinnell Iowa Girasoles restaurant

Grinnell Iowa Girasoles Restaurant

14. Faulconer Gallery

The Faulconer Gallery on the Grinnell College campus is a great place for any photographer to find inspiration. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, the gallery is free and open to the public. With more than 6,000 objects in its permanent collection, the Faulconer Gallery presents exhibitions from local, regional, national, and international artists. In addition, temporary exhibitions change about every 12 weeks. The gallery also hosts many hands-on special events and offers yoga in the gallery twice a week. (We were able to visit while they were setting up a new exhibition – hence the ladder.)

Grinnell Iowa Grinnell College Faulconer Gallery

Grinnell Iowa Grinnell College rocks

15. Dari Barn

The Dari Barn is a longtime local favorite for fast food as well as delicious ice cream and frozen yogurt. We would have included a photo of the ice-cream we bought, but it looked so good we dug into it before we remembered to snap a picture! Soft serve chocolate and vanilla ice cream are always available. Local favorites include black raspberry yogurt, the cookie dough cyclone, and pulled-pork sandwiches. Be sure to get a photo of the adorable animal yard art outside the store!

grinnell dari barn


Have you been to Grinnell, Iowa? What are your favorite places to stop for a photo?  Disclosure: Our trip to Grinnell was sponsored by Hotel Grinnell, the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, and Travel Iowa. All opinions are our own. Contact the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce for more information and to plan your visit and tell them you heard about it on Postcard Jar!

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An inside look at the world famous Buckin’ Flamingo

An inside look at the world famous Buckin’ Flamingo

With a name like the world famous Buckin’ Flamingo and a mooing yellow truck with Conestoga wagon cover pulling a saddled flamingo out front, there is only one way to satisfy your curiosity about this unique store. You simply must step inside.

Truck and flamingo trailer at the Buckin' Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Meghan and friends Kelsea and Kennedy stand with the well-known truck and trailer the Garnetts use to advertise their business.

Buckin' Flamingo Pawhuska Oklahoma metal art display

A large display of metal art and bird feeders fills the center of the Buckin’ Flamingo in Pawhuska.

Our first visit to the Buckin’ Flamingo

The first time we visited the Buckin’ Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, shop owners Cody and Lauren Garnett greeted us with a warm welcome and invited us to take a look around. It took a minute to process the abundance of brightly colored metal yard art, but once we did, we knew we’d stumbled across someplace special. And quite unique.

Buckin' Flamingo owners Cody and Lauren and their daughters.

Buckin’ Flamingo owners Cody and Lauren and their daughters.

You see, the world famous Buckin’ Flamingo is one-of-a-kind, just like the couple who owns the place. He was a professional steer roper and she was a high school math teacher before the couple wed nine years ago and their entrepreneurial spirits took off.

Metal art at the Buckin' Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

It couldn’t be called the Buckin’ Flamingo if there weren’t at least SOME flamingoes! (And a giant grizzly for good measure.)

Family business

Cody’s family had been in the horse trading business (among others). He knew lots about bartering when he opened his first business, Big County Pawn, in Pawhuska. Cody also knew a lot about marketing, having worked in the field for top brands like Carhart, Copenhagen, and Jack Daniels.

Orange Cadillac Big County Pawn Pawhuska, Oklahoma

This orange Cadillac, and everything on it, was pawned at the Garnett’s Big County Pawn shop. It is well-known around town.

It’s all in the marketing

So, he put all of that knowledge together and in no time he found himself driving around town promoting his pawn shop in a bright orange Cadillac (pawned). The car is accentuated with horns above the grill (also pawned) and shotguns on the hood (yes, you guessed it, pawned). A little out there, maybe, but it got people’s attention.

Metal art at the Buckin Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

One of the many fun pieces of metal art available to spruce up any man cave.

Locals began frequenting his store, and Lauren set up a bail bonds business there, as well. Then, when The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond announced plans for her Mercantile, the Garnetts knew they had a great business opportunity.

Metal art at the Buckin Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Pick up a metal sign to decorate your shop, man cave or whatever. Chances are your favorite brands are here!

They began tossing around ideas for retail businesses that would also attract visitors of The Merc and finally came up with one that stuck while vacationing in Mexico. “We found this place that built metal yard art and we brought a truck load of it back with us and put it in the pawn shop,” Cody said. “It became our main retail and was outperforming our guns and ammo.”

Metal art at the Buckin' Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Unique metal art for sale at the World Famous Buckin’ Flamingo

Today, their store on Main Street includes metal yard art, signs, bird feeders, and holiday decor. And much, much more. They also sell beautiful turquoise jewelry, zippered pouches and coin purses with funny sayings. You can even get a jar of spicy Hatch chili sauce there. Be careful, though, it’s addictive.

Buckin' Flamingo Pawhuska Oklahoma tourquoise jewelry

Turquoise jewelry at the Buckin’ Flamingo makes a perfect gift.

Buckin' Flamingo Pawhuska Oklahoma zippered bags

These fun zippered bags are perfect for make-up, charging cords, pencils, or anything else you want to keep safe.

So why Buckin’ Flamingo?

Cody said when the metal art store took off, they needed a name that would draw attention. They knew pink flamingos were popular but the Garnetts also wanted to draw on their rodeo/ranch/prairie lifestyle. Flamingo Prairie was too boring. Flamingo Ranch sounded naughty. And then they came up with Buckin’ Flamingo, and it stuck.

Metal art at the Buckin Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Pick up a metal sign to decorate your shop, man cave or whatever. Chances are your favorite brands are here!

Even more Pawhuska businesses

In addition to the Buckin’ Flamingo, pawn shop and bail bonds services, they own several other small businesses, as well. The Garnetts also have Osage County Auction Co., the Flamingo’s Nest short-term rental, and get this, a goat ropin’ business. Yes, Cody and crew will bring their homemade goat ropin’ arena right to your home for a fun-filled activity for your special event.

Goat Roping in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Another business offered by the Garnetts is goat roping. A popular activity at the Cavalcade Rodeo, roping sessions last well into the night.

Flamingo's Nest, Pawhuska, Oklahoma

The Flamingo’s Nest, the B&B property owned by the Garnetts is great for large groups and even has a pool table.

Together, and with the help of their family, friends, and community, the Garnetts and their businesses are flourishing and we couldn’t be happier for them. If you’re in Pawhuska to visit The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, be sure to step around the corner and take a peek inside the world famous Buckin’ Flamingo. You never know what kind of cool stuff you’re going to find.


Have you visited the Buckin’ Flamingo? What did you think? 

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A look inside Cody and Lauren Garnett's world famous Buckin' Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

A look inside Cody and Lauren Garnett’s world famous Buckin’ Flamingo in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Our first day in Rome, Italy, was quite an adventure. But who cares? We had wine.

Our first day in Rome, Italy, was quite an adventure. But who cares? We had wine.

Caio from Rome, Italy!

We made it and Rome and intentionally did not pre-plan much of our first day in Italy. We tried that a couple of years ago but a mechanical issue caused our flight out of Omaha to be canceled and we lost money on pre-purchased tickets for a Vatican tour. We ended that day eating Papa John’s pizza at Omaha’s Sleep Inn. We weren’t going to make that mistake again, so we left our first day in Rome wide open.

Since it was about 60 euros each way to take a taxi from our hotel into the city, we opted to save money by taking a shuttle bus and train instead. It was our first day abroad, after all, and we wanted a little adventure. We took the free shuttle bus back to the airport, then paid 14 euros each for a train to the main station. From there, we walked what seemed like 68 miles to buy a 24-hour Metro subway ticket for 7 more euros, each, so we could get to the Colosseum.

Our first stop in Rome was the Colosseum and Forum.

We’d toured the Colosseum a few years ago, but didn’t have a chance to walk around the Forum much, so we thought we’d try that if we could get a ticket. We walked around for a bit trying to decipher Italian signs and find an entrance to the Forum. We walked up and down hills, across cobblestones and flagstones, and even in and out of a church, looking for the entrance to the Forum. We finally figured out that tickets for the Colosseum and Forum were one in the same so we headed to the entrance of the Colosseum.

The forecast was not looking good when we arrived.

As we drew close, every five yards or so we were approached by a vendor selling everything from bicycle rides and guided tours to bracelets and hats. It was incredibly annoying. Finally, one of them asked if we would like a 40-minute guided tour of the Forum for 25 euros each. We considered paying the overpriced fee for a quick second, but then noticed dark clouds moving in and told him we’d come back another time. He insisted it wasn’t going to rain and pointed to a small corner of sky that was only partly cloudy. Knowing it seemed cloudier now than  just two minutes before, we still opted to try for the Forum another day.

Boy, are we glad we did. We walked back to the subway just as thunder and lightning began to fill the sky. We were hungry by then, and decided to look for a place to get our first tastes of authentic Italian pasta and wine.

We remembered a wonderful little place we’d eaten when we visited Rome three years ago, but couldn’t remember the name or location of the restaurant. Then, I had an idea! I remembered taking a photo of Steve pouring wine from a liter pitcher at the restaurant and searched through the photos on my phone. Finally, I was able to justify to Steve why it is necessary to keep 27,502 (and counting!) photos on my phone.

A search for wine in my iPhone photos found 150 matches. And no, I am not ashamed.

I easily found the photo from the restaurant (by searching for “wine”) and we got back on the subway to head that direction. When we arrived, we were about to leave the station when we realized it was a complete downpour outside. People were coming down the steps from the street above completely soaked. We shared a smile that we weren’t standing like wet dogs in the Forum.

Thunderstorms filled the sky on our first day in Rome, Italy.

At this point you probably assume that we reached into our trusty backpack and pulled out our rain gear. Well, you would be wrong. We forgot to pack any (#travelisreal). Instead, we reached into our pocket and pulled out 10 euros to buy two overpriced “Roma” ponchos from yet another random guy wandering around the station selling them to make a quick buck.

Yes, we paid 10 euro for two glorified garbage bags.

Thinking we had two or three blocks in the pouring rain to the restaurant (best we could tell from Google maps) we emerged from the underground station and had a good laugh when we saw the restaurant about 30 steps from the subway entrance.

Cute Roma poncho, don’t you think?

In any case, we made our way in, ordered a liter of the house wine, and enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal.

A liter of the house wine was just what we needed after a long day/night of traveling.

We started our Italian food experience with a four-piece bruschetta appetizer. The picture below shows three of them. Steve was just little eager to taste the prosciutto and mozzarella one and had it in his mouth stomach before I could take my 27,503rd photo.

The four-piece bruschetta sampler.

We shared a caprese salad (one of our favorites) and each ordered a pasta dish. Steve had the bucatini all’amatriciana (thick spaghetti with a bacon and tomato sauce) and I opted for the carbonara. Both were delizioso!

One of our favorites, caprese salad.

We ordered two pasta dishes, one with a tomato and bacon sauce and the carbonara.

After our late lunch/early dinner, we took the overly crowded subway (and when I say overly crowded, I mean my body was touching at least six people at the same time) back the main train station, bought a ticket, and attempted to find the correct train back to the airport. It was a bit confusing and when we asked for help, we were directed to the wrong train. I got on before Steve pulled me back off.

One of our many stops at the train station on our first day in Rome.

We then went to the wrong track, backtracked, and missed our train. Thankfully, we could easily catch another one. The airport express runs every 15 minutes, unless the train is running late, which it was. We finally got back to the airport and then hopped the free shuttle to the hotel.

Rome is a busy city, full of people from all over the world. We were happy to represent Crete, Nebraska, USA.

By the time we got back we were ready to be away from the crowds of people that had surrounded us all day and get some sleep. We showered, did a quick load of laundry at the hotel (it will likely be our last chance for 10 days) and crashed. For about nine and half hours, to be exact.

Next stop – Siena, Tuscany, and our time with Massi the Driver and Italy Unfiltered. If you missed our earlier post about our hosts, Deb and Massi, you can read all about them HERE.

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What we did in Rome, Italy, when we arrived with no pre-booked tickets or plans.

8 things for men to do while their wives shop at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, including a suggestion from Ladd Drummond, himself

8 things for men to do while their wives shop at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, including a suggestion from Ladd Drummond, himself

Men, we’ve all been there, sitting in the man seat, holding bags and baskets of merchandise while our wives gleefully continue their shopping sprees. And I know that many of us, when faced with our wives’ desire to go to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, recoil in fear of long hours stuck sitting in that chair.

Loved this chair for non-shopping men we saw in Pawhuska.

But men, I’ve got good news:  If you play your cards right, you just might have more fun than your wife when you go to Pawhuska. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in this cowboys’ playground.

1. Shop for your man cave

The World Famous Buckin’ Flamingo is just down Main Street from the Merc, and is definitely worth a stop. They sell some of the most unique metal art you’ve ever seen, perfect for decorating your man cave. You’ll find vintage signs for beers, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, baseball teams, and gas/oil companies. You can also prepare for your anniversary, Christmas, or your wife’s birthday by shopping their selection of beautiful sterling silver and turquoise jewelry. How thrilled would she be with a memory of one of her favorite towns on that special day? I daresay you’d get a LOT of points!

You can shop for your man cave at The World Famous Buckin’ Flamingo that is just around the corner from The Mercantile on Main Street.

From there, head over to Big County Pawn and check out their selection of tools, vintage items, case knives, guns, ammo, and cleverly named, delicious, Sh*t bar-b-que seasonings that can take your grill game to the next level. (Pardon my French.)

For that sh$%^y relative or neighbor that you don't know what to get for Christmas.

And, to up your grill game even more, stop by Lorec Ranch – Pawhuska and pick up a small branding iron to char your initial right into a juicy steak.

LOREC Ranch steak branding iron, Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Heat this up and put a unique mark on every steak you serve!

2. Roam the Osage

Head east from the Merc about three blocks and board a tour on the Roaming the Osage Historic Scenic Tours van. Casey and his crew have put together an informative tour that will give you an overview of the area and its history. You might even get to see a bison.

The Roaming the Osage Tour will give you a great overview of Osage County while you ride in style.

The Roaming the Osage Tour will give you a great overview of Osage County while you ride in style.

The best part is that the tour is in the coolest tour van you’ve ever seen. It’s a Mercedes convertible with a retractable roof. When the weather is nice, you’ll roll through town in the open air, but when you head out on the highway, they close the top and the AC pours over you keeping you comfortable. It’s a unique experience — our understanding is that only two of these particular vans exist in the United States.


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Things for men to do while their wives shop at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.


3. Go fishing at the lake

Located just two short miles outside the city limits is the large, beautiful Bluestem Lake. When you head to Pawhuska, pack along your fishing gear because you can spend long, peaceful days at the lake.

Bluestem Lake offers lots of outdoor recreational activities, including fishing.

You can catch whiskered channel catfish, largemouth bass, speckled crappie, spotted bass, lengthy saugeye, ray-finned sunfish and white bass while your wife eagerly shops for all the kitchen gadgets you’ll need to prepare a wonderful dinner with your catch of the day. (Note: A state permit is required for fishing.)

4. Get yourself a custom hat and boots

While your wife is busy trying out whisks, spatulas, and mixing bowls, head across the street to Osage Outfitters and try on a new cowboy hat for yourself. Owner Joey Lee will help you pick one that is just the right size and will then custom shape it while you wait at the hat bar.

Osage Outfitters owner, Joey Lee, will be happy to shape a hat just the way you like it while you wait.

Osage Outfitters owner, Joey Lee, will be happy to shape a hat just the way you like it while you wait.

In just 10-15 minutes, your new hat will be shaped however you want, whether that’s a Cattleman’s Crease, a Gus Crease like in the movie, “Lonesome Dove,” or something else entirely.

Check a wide selection of quality cowboy boots at Osage Outfitters on Kihekah Ave. in Pawhuska.

Once you have your hat, pick out a pair of beautiful boots made from sustainably sourced hide. Osage Outfitters has some of the highest quality boots around, and they can even get a pair custom made just for you. Why should your wife be the only one to get new things, right? No matter what you choose, you’ll walk out of the store looking good. (Full disclosure: Osage Outfitters has a lot to offer the lady in your life, as well, so you might want to show her around the store while wearing your new hat.)

5. Relax with a book

Head up Kihekah to the Book Burrow, a used book store where they probably have a copy of just about anything you’re looking for. Don’t have a title in mind? Owners James and Kelly are super friendly and can help you quickly find something that will grab your interest whether that’s a novel or a book on how to build cabinetry. Then, kick back and relax in one of their comfy chairs and enjoy some quiet time to yourself.

Book Burrow, Pawhuska, Oklahoma

The Russells, owners of the Book Burrow, are friendly folks who will help you find the perfect book.

Another book option is offered up by the Pawhuska Public Library which has a huge selection of reading material in a comfortable, relaxing, and perhaps most importantly, air conditioned building. Let your wife deal with the hustle and bustle of downtown Pawhuska while you catch up on a novel or your favorite hunting magazine in a quiet, calm, environment.

Read a book, or take a cat nap at the Pawhuska City Library.

Read a book, or take a cat nap at the Pawhuska City Library.

The librarian told us that some guys even take little cat naps there, and she said that’s perfectly OK as long as they don’t snore too much. Get off that man bench downtown, and slide into a comfortable chair with a book. You can find the library’s hours on its website.

6. Grab a bite to eat

Obviously, you will want to eat at The Mercantile. I mean, the chicken fried steak is amazing (and so is the queso dip, and the lasagna, and the chicken parmesan, and the cattleman’s breakfast and the…). But if you’re out and about in town, you should know that there are some other great places to satisfy your hunger.

Buffalo Joe’s is a local favorite and has daily specials that are all fantastic. Grill 125 and El Vallarta’s Mexican restaurant are also good places to try.

The street tacos at Buffalo Joe's are outstanding and so are the breakfast burritos.

The street tacos at Buffalo Joe’s are outstanding and so are the breakfast burritos.

If you’re looking for something a bit more, um, rustic, try T-Bones Pig Stand for a great pork sandwich. And if you’ve got Bar-B-Que on your brain, then head over to Bad Brad’s for an amazing Frito pie.

Steve enjoyed a chopped pork sandwich at The Pig Stand just on the edge of town.

Steve enjoyed a chopped pork sandwich at The Pig Stand just on the edge of town.

Oh, and don’t forget that any day now, you’ll be able to go across Kihekah Ave. to P-Town Pizza, Ree and Ladd’s new wood-fired pizza restaurant. Judging from the pictures we’ve seen and what we’ve heard from our local contacts, the pizza, desserts and hand-crafted cocktails are all beyond incredible. And let’s be honest, if the Drummonds are involved, you know it will be top-notch.

7. Play a round of disc golf

You’d likely never expect a town the size of Pawhuska, Oklahoma to have three disc golf courses including two of the top ten courses in the country.

Taylor Ranch disc golf course in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Taylor Ranch disc golf course in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

One course is located in town, while the two championship courses are just south of town on Highway 99 at Taylor Ranch. Drop your wife off at The Merc for her shopping adventure, and head out to challenge yourself to a round of some of the best disc golf there is anywhere in the U.S.A.

8. Take Ladd Drummond’s advice

When I met Ladd at The Mercantile last fall, I told him we’d write a post like this someday and asked him what he thought men should do while their wives shopped. His simple suggestion may well be the best one on this list: Get a piece of chocolate or pecan pie from the bakery at The Mercantile, sit back on the large couch upstairs, and watch the game on TV.

The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond's husband, Ladd.

The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s husband, Ladd.

Honestly, men, is there a better way to spend a day than that? And remember, they make fresh, homemade pies. All. Day. Long.


Do you have any ideas for things for men to do in Pawhuska? Let us know in the comment section below.

As always, thanks for sharing and pinning!

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Things for men to do while their wives shop at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Things for men to do while their wives shop at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

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Claude and Kathy’s unexpected night at The Pioneer Woman’s Boarding House

Claude and Kathy’s unexpected night at The Pioneer Woman’s Boarding House

If you like The Pioneer Woman, or have ever dreamed of spending a night at her new Boarding House in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, you have got to see this video.

Now, here’s how we met this adorable couple.

Earlier this week, we made an impromptu trip back to one of our favorite places, Pawhuska, Oklahoma. As you may know, Pawhuska is a small town so word typically travels fast there. We’d only been in town a few hours when someone mentioned that there might be a few rooms available at new The Pioneer Woman Boarding House for that night due to a last-minute cancellation.

Steve and Ann at the PW Boarding House

We were super excited to get a room at the boarding house on a recent visit to Pawhuska.

Now, you should know that when this cowboy luxury hotel opened for reservations this spring, they booked every room available (for months in advance) in about an hour. From the moment it was announced, Pioneer Woman fans from all over the world anxiously awaited the opening of the Food Network star’s new boutique hotel. Since opening, reservations there have been nearly impossible to get. Take a look at this picture from The Tack Room and you’ll see why.

The Tack Room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

The Tack Room at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House.

So when we called someone at The Boarding House Monday afternoon and discovered that a few rooms had indeed unexpectedly become available for that night, we jumped on it before they were booked. We arrived at the front desk in about four minutes (you can do that in a town the size of Pawhuska). We were so excited for the rare opportunity to check in and enjoy one of the eight luxurious, themed rooms.

Photograph Room bed

Like all beds in the PW Boarding house, the bed in the Photograph Room is king-sized, has a Tempurpedic mattress and amazing bedding. If you’re anything like us, you’ll sleep well.

We unpacked our suitcase in The Photograph Room, which was beautifully decorated with white wainescoting, charcoal gray walls, and photographs taken by Ree Drummond herself.

Fresh flowers at the PW Boarding House

There are always fresh flowers in every room at the PW Boarding House.

Photograph Room picture

A picture of one of the Drummonds’ beloved dogs in the Photograph Room.

A little after 5 p.m., we joined a few other guests for complimentary wine and cheese in a common area and got to talking about anniversaries and what brought each of us through Pawhuska.

PW Boarding House social hour

Jessye pours wine during the social hour at the PW Boarding House.

One couple from Oklahoma was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary while our soon-to-be friends Claude and Kathy were there to learn more about Osage history after reading the book, “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann.

After having supper at the newly opened P. Town Pizza (you must have the Not Knots if you go), we went back to the hotel where ran into Claude and Kathy again outside on the balcony overlooking Kiheka Avenue.

Not Knots at P-Town Pizza

The menu at P-Town pizza calls the Not Knots “life changing.” After trying these savory morsels, it’s safe to say the menu is correct. These are the stuff dreams are made of.

It was then that we learned more about how they came to stay at The Boarding House that night, despite knowing little about Ree Drummond or having ever watched even one episode of The Pioneer Woman’s popular TV show!

Claude and Kathy were a hoot. We ended up showing them around The Photograph Room and they invited us to see The Prairie Room in which they were staying.

Photograph Room bathroom

The bathroom in the Photograph Room has beautiful black and white tile.

We got such a kick out of this couple who was married 50 years ago on the same day of the year as we were – August 27! Their story and lively personalities were just too good not to share, and they happily agreed to allow us to interview them on video.

We hope you enjoyed their uplifting story as much as we did. It certainly made for a memorable stay for all of us.

-Ann & Steve


Note: The Pioneer Woman Mercantile is inviting you to put your name into the hat for a free night’s stay at The Boarding House in 2018! Simply sign up at the link below to subscribe to The Merc’s email newsletter and each month for the rest of 2018 they will draw a random winner.

https://www.themercantile.com/pages/boarding-house

(Note: If you are already a subscriber, your name will go into the hat as well!)
*Dates subject to availability

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