Go to Guthrie
For great antiques and charming bed-and-breakfasts, travel 100 years back in time to "the capital of the Oklahoma Territory," less than an hour from Oklahoma City.
Blaze a trail to this territorial town where a new generation of pioneers are reviving Guthrie―once called the "Queen of the Prairie."
Starting point of The Great Land Run of 1889, Guthrie grew from a little known settlement to a tent city of 10,000 people practically overnight. Those who settled here soon transformed the city into the thriving capital of the Oklahoma Territory. However, in 1910, when the state capitol was moved to Oklahoma City, Guthrie sank into an economic slump that lasted 70 years.
Recently, thanks to a few community members with a desire to preserve the past, the city has experienced a renewal. Nostalgia lingers on every brick sidewalk, and renovated homes now entertain guests throughout the year.
To truly experience Guthrie's charm, you must stay at one of the 17 bed-and-breakfasts--there are more here than anywhere else in the state. We chose one of the largest, The Lauren Danielle Bed & Breakfast (rates range from $125-$175;  282-4230). First, check in to this purple and pink mansion that's frilly and fancy in true Victorian style. Upstairs you'll choose from three bedrooms, each with its own bath.
Eat dinner at Granny Had One--the best restaurant around. Enjoy the evening buffet ($9.95) or Grandpa's Favorite Burger ($6.50), topped with pepper Jack cheese, bacon, and guacamole. Murals of Guthrie cover the walls of this 1891 brick building.
Arise for waffles and fresh fruit. Catch a trolley on the corner of Harrison and Second Streets to start your tour of the area. For $2 you'll circle the town and hear a brief history lesson. After this 45-minute orientation, get off where you boarded and start walking.
You'll find many shops worth ducking into. Elk's Alley Mercantile gets a new shipment of beautiful old-world pieces from Europe every few months. Near and Far gallery on West Harrison Street fills its two lots with home accessories.
Don't be alarmed if around 1 p.m. you hear gunshots and shouting--local characters in full Western garb are simply re-enacting a lively gunfight at the corner of Harrison and Second. You can watch every hour on the hour after that as they entertain visitors with their humorous antics.
Around 1 or 2 p.m., when your stomach finally starts growling, head to Stables Cafe. This colorful diner serves up a mean hamburger.
After lunch, check on tickets for evening entertainment at the historic Pollard Theatre or Preservation Playhouse. Prices usually run about $15.
At 4 p.m., enjoy tea at the Lauren Danielle. Take a break outside on the porch swing before heading out for the evening. Ask your host to suggest a spot for dinner: New places are popping up all the time. Be sure to finish in time for your show.
Sleep late, and then enjoy another grand breakfast at the B&B. If you're up for more shopping, this is one downtown that doesn't sit still on Sunday; most stores open at 1 p.m. By this time you'll know your way around town and will find those places you missed yesterday. There--and everywhere--you will sense the pioneer spirit that once again has turned Guthrie into a place of character.
For more information: Contact the Guthrie Convention and Visitors Bureau, 212 West Oklahoma, Guthrie, OK 73044; (405) 282-1947 or www.guthrieok.com.
This article is from the January 2002 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.