Announcing the Best of the Best

By Brooke Clay Best of Chickasaw Country The votes have been counted and the results have been confirmed! It’s time to announce the Best of the Best in Chickasaw Country! This list is worthy of five stars, two thumbs up and possibly even a high-five. I highly encourage you to read about each of these great destinations and then put them on your Oklahoma bucket list!

Best Museum in Chickasaw Country
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
“Named as one of the Top 10 Western Museums in the US by True West Magazine in 2009, the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is dedicated to celebrating the history, art and culture of the Chisholm Trail, the American cowboy and the American West. Experience the Old West by tossing a rope around a longhorn steer, riding a bucking bronco, creating your own brand or sitting a spell near the campfire and listening to Jesse Chisholm as he offers advice to a young cowboy on his first cattle drive.”

Best Festival in Chickasaw Country
Okie Noodling Tournament
With so many fabulous festivals, I was a nervous wreck watching the votes roll in. Do you remember my adventures at last year’s festival? My oh my – it was wonderful. Make sure June 22 is on your calendar, you don’t want to miss a fun-filled day of Okie Noodling.

Best Live Music Venue in Chickasaw Country
Arbuckle Ballroom
Built in 1974, the Arbuckle Ballroom has hosted more than 1,500 concerts with popular artists ranging from Jason Boland to Reckless Kelly to Kevin Fowler. I’ve seen Kevin Fowler rock the mic at this venue – it’s worthy of a visit. The atmosphere is unique with a Honky Tonk vibe and plenty of space to take a few spins on the dance floor.

Best Casino in Chickasaw Country
Newcastle Casino
With more than 83,000 square feet of exciting games, food and entertainment and a social media manager who is always keepin’ it real on its Facebook page, it’s no wonder Newcastle Casino took the title as Best Casino in Chickasaw Country.

Best Family Venue in Chickasaw Country
G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park
To be completely honest, I don’t know how we can pick one place to win the best family venue in Chickasaw Country. However, with that said, I do love G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park. It won me over when I first visited in October 2011. They let me hold Natasha and we became instant best friends, but that probably has nothing to do with it. (That’s a lie. Have you ever held a tiger cub? It’s the best thing in the world. Ever.)

Or, the time I saw a lion, tiger and a bear in the same day. Actually, it was on the fifth stop of the Custom Canvasing Chickasaw Country Tour that G.W.’s won my heart. Have you ever seen a tiger cub and a miniature dachshund play? It’s the most adorable scene in the western hemisphere.

Best Attraction in Chickasaw Country
Chickasaw Cultural Center
The Chickasaw Cultural Center is one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen. When you add in cultural events and more cultural events it’s no surprise this venue locked up the title of Best Attraction.

Best Boutique in Chickasaw Country
The Mix
Before we venture into how lovely The Mix is – I should clarify that I personally think of The Mix as an all encompassing boutique including both the Ada and Sulphur (The Mix Mercantile) locations.

Sigh. I’m going to miss boutiques like this when I leave. Chickasaw Country really does have five-star boutiques.

Best Barbecue in Chickasaw Country
Pigskin’s BBQ
I said this barbecue venue was a home run and your votes proved me correct. It’s a beautiful thing being right.

Best Fine Dining in Chickasaw Country
Fireside Dining
Why haven’t I been here yet? I need to visit before my responsibilites as the Chickasaw Country travel writer end!

“After a day of work or play, treat your group to an evening of great food in a beautiful rustic setting. Located among the glorious flora and fauna of the Lake Murray area, Fireside Dining offers a wonderful meal in a relaxed atmosphere. Try the famous steaks, fresh seafood, hickory-grilled dishes and delectable desserts.”

Best Lake in Chickasaw Country
Lake of the Arbuckles
Forming the western portion of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, The Lake of The Arbuckles consists of 36 miles of shoreline and 2,300 acres of open water. This lake is perfect for fishing, water sports and even Bald Eagle watching. Yes, I’ve been Bald Eagle watching.

Whew. That’s quite a list! Cheers to you, winners! You’re the bees knees.