Lovin’ Our Tulsa Time

This past weekend saw the final installment of our summer of concert series. The hubby and I traveled the 3 1/2 hours from our home to Tulsa Oklahoma to see the spectacular Janet Jackson! This would be the 7th concert we had seen this year and was truly the icing on the cake!

Despite this being a very quick trip to Tulsa we hoped to make the most of our time there and I’d say we definitely succeeded! First of all, I’m not a road trip kinda girl. Spending hours on end in a vehicle is not my idea of a good time so even though Tulsa is really a short trip from our place in Southwest Missouri I knew we would definitely be making a pit stop or two.

What better place to get out and stretch our legs than in Vinita Oklahoma at the Will Rogers Archway. Built in 1958 it was dubbed as “the first over the road restaurant”. The Glass House, as it was then known as, offered a cafe type environment for travelers to stop and enjoy. Later, as times changed, it was remodeled into a fast food restaurant and became known as the World’s Largest McDonald’s.

Now it still has a small McDonald’s restaurant but is more of a tourist attraction with a gift shop to purchase souvenirs. A convenience store for buying the essential travel snacks and of course bathrooms make it a great place to stop. There is also information on the origins of the archway and lots of windows for taking in the sites of the passing cars. And of course, we had to take the obligatory selfie!

We soon arrived at our final destination – Tulsa. Having traveled through Tulsa many times this would be my first time of having a true Tulsa experience and I planned to make the most of it. Starting with our choice of hotel. Tulsa has a lot of hotel options, but we opted to stay in the downtown area which would be close to our concert venue. When looking at my hotel options I decided to stay somewhere historic and unique to Tulsa.

That lead us to The Mayo Hotel. Opened in 1925 it soon became the place to be for high society people visiting what was then known as The Oil Capitol of the World. Notable visitors include President John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Elvis Presley. And of course now you can add the hubby and me to that esteemed list!

Walking into the hotel it is easy to see what garnered the attention of all of these celebrities. It is beautiful! The grand staircase is picture perfect. I can almost image the rich and famous sipping cocktails as they listened to the music being played on the grand piano in the corner.

Although built almost a century ago it certainly doesn’t lack for any of our modern day conveniences. Our room was perfect. A large bed with tons of comfy pillows, huge flat screen TV, and a shower with body jets were a nice contrast to the historic elegance the hotel offered.

Before going to the concert we wanted to try out some of the local cuisine. Looking online I searched for unique restaurants and found Andolini’s. It boasted offering “Tulsa style pizza” and we were eager to try it out!

Taking the hotel provided shuttle to Andolini’s our driver couldn’t speak more highly of our choice so we knew were in for some great food. On a little side note, when on vacation I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take the time to talk to the locals. Our shuttle driver not only commended our dining location but also gave several recommendations for restaurant to try on future visits as well as local shops of interest we might enjoy.

But back to the food! Located on a cute little corner lot Andolini’s is a popular place, even on a Sunday evening. We had barely made it in the door when we were met with the mouthwatering aroma of freshly prepared Italian food. The pizza is prepared in an open style kitchen where you can watch your pie being baked. They also use freshly prepared ingredients, including homemade Italian sausage to make their pizzas extra special.

Our server offered great recommendations, including a cocktail that had been created by one of their bartenders and had been featured in an area bar-tending contest. I must say the “Norma Jean”, a blueberry and lemon concoction, didn’t disappoint! We also opted for the house specialty salad and even when getting a half size order it was more than enough for sharing.

With our bellies full we headed off for the main event, Janet Jackson! We grabbed an Uber and once again, took advantage of the time traveling to learn from a local. He gave us some local history as we traveled to the arena including this little tidbit of knowledge – the BOK Tower in Tulsa was built by the same architect who designed the World Trade Center in New York and has many similar features.

The BOK Center in Tulsa is where the concert was being held. Built in 2008, it is planning on celebrating it’s upcoming 10 year anniversary with a special concert series. Dubbed the “10 for 10”, the first of the series was recently announced to be none other than the king of country himself, George Strait! I’m personally not a fan of modern country music, but I love me some George!

But back to Ms. Jackson. Like any superstar diva, she arrived on stage fashionably late. This extra time just built up the anticipation for her arrival and the DJ providing the pre-show entertainment did a great job of getting the dance party atmosphere started.

Photo Credit to N. Harvey Moore

I feel I must include that the political views of Ms. Jackson were what opened the show. A video depicting what she feels is the State of the World Today, hence the name of the concert tour, was displayed immediately prior to her taking the stage. However this night wasn’t about politics, it was about entertainment and from that point on it was all about the music.

I will admit I haven’t listened to much Janet Jackson since high school, 25+ years ago, but that didn’t matter. The music, the dancing and choreography were all AWESOME! She may be 51 years old but she is still drop dead gorgeous and completely fierce as she commanded the stage. Sometimes an older act can look a little silly performing the moves they did back in the day, but this most certainly didn’t apply here. Her dance moves were flawless!

Photo credit to N. Harvey Moore

I often jokingly say that going to concerts is my cardio. Never sitting down, we danced the entire 2 hours and loved every minute of it! However as the house lights came back on and people starting making their way out of the arena, it was time to head back to the real world. I would no longer be a dancing fool, but I did have a few more hours to enjoy in Tulsa before heading home and there were still more memories to make!

Located directly across the street from the BOK Center is a candy shop called Pinkitzel. First of all, whoever chose that location was a business genius. Where better to go after a night of partying than to a grown up kinda of candy store?

All I can say is WOW! The unique decor was the perfect backdrop for the main attraction – the sweets! Offering all types of candies including taffy, gumballs and lollipops there is something sure to satisfy every sweet tooth.

But what caught our eye was located in the front display case. Surrounded by eager customers we were curious to know what all of the fuss was about. The homemade truffles, macaroons and cupcakes were a visual delight and seemed to be calling our names.

What a perfect way to end the night!

Waking up the following morning we knew it was almost time to head back to Southwest Missouri, but before hitting the road we tried out our hotel’s restaurant, The Boiler Room. I opted for the lobster mac and cheese while the hubby chose a BLT and we shared a house salad. Can you say YUM?

One more quick stop before heading home came at the recommendation of our shuttle driver. The Rustic Cuff is a Tulsa based jewelry store that was based on a unique re-gifting concept. The pieces are true works of art. The decor is cute and inviting and even had a seating area for the hubby! Her jewelry has been worn by many celebrities and she was even on Oprah! I recommend checking out her website as her story is truly inspirational, especially to someone like me who is also pursing a new passion a little later in life.

Well, that’s it. The conclusion of our Tulsa experience. I think we managed to squeeze a lot into less than 24 hours, what about you? Of course, as always, the most important part was spending time with the hubby as we keep collecting memories as we go.

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