Tuesday, August 29, 2017


This is the tourism information I am submitting for a Rack Card to distribute to visitors to Watonga.  If anyone sees anything in any of the categories they think should be added, send me an email message at phoenixcir@yahoo.com   (formatting, fonts, etc. will be done by the printer

gateway to
(See BLAINE COUNTY OK COMMUNITY on Facebook for events throughout the year)


 Chaparral Retreat & Guesthouse (B&B)
         www.chaparralbb.com   located 4 mi
             north of Watonga on State HWY 8A
             (road to Roman Nose  Park)

Noble House B&B  (www.watonga.com)

Roman Nose State Park Lodge –
           OK HWY 8A  - Lodging and Restaurant
          Campsites, fishing lake, 580-623-7281

Watonga Motel  1-888-854-5709


Applemarket Deli & Grocery Store –
                             W.  Main Street

Roman Nose Lodge Restaurant
El  Rancho Grande Mexican
         Restaurant-115 N.  Noble

Eagle’s Nest – 11th St. & Weigle

Sonic Drive-In  -- Hwy 33

Hi-De-Ho Restaurant, Hwy 33

The Oven (outdoor wood-fired pizza)
             Reservations Required- 580-623-4269

General Store in Roman Nose State Park

The Garden Spot-–W. Hwy 33

China King Buffet – Hwy 33

Hutch’s Gas Station & Grill

Pizza Hut (Hwy 281 (South)

Subway Sandwiches (inside Love’s Gas) 


Whirlwind Winery, 109 E. Main

Big Bobbins –quilting, notions
                   121 E. Main St., 405-537-9950

Country Home Antiques 580-623-2599

Hitek Designs – 119 E. Main St - Gifts

Watonga Floral &  Gifts – 108 E. Main

             June’s Plant Place – Hwy 33 – Gifts and
                    Watonga Cheese – 580-623-8579

            Dollar General – 100 S. Clarence Nash

Tractor Supply – 220 S. Clarence Nash

Do-it-Best Hardware – 120 N. Weigle

Swann’s Pharmacy and Gifts  (next to
                       Applemarket Grocery Store) –
                       W.  Main Street


     Oklahoma House Concerts (live music) at
              The Chaparral Retreat & Guesthouse
               580-623-4269  or 940-735-1065

     Lucky Star Casino – Hwy 281 (South)

     Liquid ART – art lesson + wine at the

      Whirlwind Winery  - call 580-623-4269

      Watonga Cheese Festival – 2nd weekend
              in October.  Contact the Chamber of
              Commerce for information --

      Roman Nose Hills Trail Ride

      Watonga Golf Course -  580-623-4674

      Golf Course at Roman Nose State Park  -
              Call 580-623-7281


     TB Ferguson Home & Museum
               519 N. Weigle, Call 580-623-5069

    Ferguson Presbyterian Chapel


© Blaine County OK Community  June 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

August Update

PHOENIX CIRCLE FOUNDATION continues to make strides toward the goal of bringing arts and other educational opportunities to our community.  We want to thank all of our Art Patrons - teachers, parents, friends, and business people who are supporting our efforts to open an Arts Center in Watonga with your donations and attendance at our fundraising events. We are trying to use our GOFUNDME campaign to reach out to a wider audience of philanthropists and hope all of our facebook friends will share those posts.  We also want to thank the Red Carpet Country tourism association, their board of directors and members, for their encouragement and ideas for how the Arts Center can bring more people to our downtown.

Earlier this month Whirlwind Winery hosted a live music concert by Dylan Stewart of Ringling, OK. Dylan has played at the Chaparral Retreat and said he enjoys the small, intimate audience. We had a good crowd;  Dylan played for tips and we brought in some $$ for Phoenix Circle Foundation.  Brad sold a few bottles of wine for visitors to take home.  It was a special evening of entertainment and fellowship.  

This past weekend was the Blaine County Free Fair.  Though it was smaller than in past years, it was exciting to see the 4-H kids' art projects and all of the other exhibits. I didn't enter anything in the Fair this year.  There was a great Barn Quilt workshop at the Foley Building on Saturday,  led by Lynda Latta from Arnett, OK  (Ellis County).  Lynda is a fellow board member of the Red Carpet Country tourism association and is spreading the idea of Watonga being part of a "Quilt Trail".  As she and I visited at the recent Tourism Conference, she suggested that our Arts Center would be a great place to host future barn quilt workshops, once our doors are open.  Lynda has also talked to our Chamber of Commerce director and to Terri Crawford, head librarian, about putting up barn quilt squares in the vacant lot on east Main Street, where a building was recently demolished. Painting Barn Quilt squares could be an arts project for older 4-H Club members. I will be attending a Rural Development Seminar in October in Woodward for training.

Speaking of the Oklahoma Tourism Conference held this month in Enid, OK ... we had great speakers who shared ideas on how small towns like Watonga can "reinvent" themselves to attract more tourism dollars without giving up their history, culture, and "small town" identity.  I was also given information by Jeanette Nance from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful about grants they have available, and one in particular that could help us with the renovation costs for the building at 111 E. Main Street.  I'm sending in our application today!!

I helped out at the Whirlwind Winery this past Saturday and we were busy all day with people from OKC, Duncan, Bethany, Winfield KS, and other visitors who came to the area to visit Roman Nose State Park or to stay at the Chaparral Retreat. As the representative for Blaine County on a state tourism board, I have to disagree with a local resident's comment that "people [tourists] only come to Watonga and the Park to camp and fish". Every visitor we had on Saturday asked "what else is there to do in Watonga?" This town has a rich history, like the TB Ferguson Home and Museum, we can share with tourists.  Two couples said they were going over to El Rancho Grande for dinner, and another couple said they were going to the Lodge to eat.  I try to keep a supply of "WELCOME TO WATONGA" rack cards on the stand at the Winery and on Saturday ended up giving away almost all that we had on hand!

Phoenix Circle Foundation gave out over $200 in school supplies this month, and still had more requests.  We didn't promote the school supply giveaway as much this year as in years past because we noticed several other "school supply drives" being promoted. We will continue that mission next year and maybe start a little earlier to let families know that supplies will be available.  

Carla Burdick, executive director of Red Carpet Country tourism association, is going to be the program at Kiwanis this coming Wednesday.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fundraising for an Arts Center in Watonga

Aug 17, 2017
Everything is going well at the Chaparral Retreat and I need to spend some time focusing on my "pet" project ....

 111 E. Main St., Watonga, OK   73772

My focus these days is getting the building pictured above transformed from the eyesore it is now to an inviting building, before the annual  Cheese Festival. in October of this year.
We've invested our hearts and souls and money, and many friends and acquaintances (many of whom don't even live here) have also contributed finanially in support of the the idea of having an arts creative space on Main St.  The benefits can be phenomenal and I continue to pray that the town's community leaders and businesses that are headquartered here will support our GOFUNDME campaign (search PHOENIX CIRCLE FOUNDATION and click on the Scissortail Creative Space picture, then make a donation.) PCF is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so donations from individuals are tax-deductible (businesses can deduct the donation as "promotion or advertising" but we recommend you talk to your tax advisor).

The second photo here is just an idea of what we intend for the new front to look like. 

We have applied for several grants and have found that they all EXCLUDE funding for "construction and capital improvements", and so we have to rely on the kindness and generosity of people and companies that are interested and willing to invest in an educational facility and an economic development project.  As a member of the OK Tourism Red Carpet Country association board, I have seen how a little "fix-up" to a town's Main St. can bring in tourism dollars + provide additional income from taxes and utilities.

I know in my heart that this is a "God thing", that this project is meant to be. I have faith that others' hearts will be opened and prayers will be answered. As the Barrett family and Phoenix Circle Foundation has supported programs and fundraisers for other organizations and causes in Watonga, we believe this community will come together to support this project.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August already?!?!

Aug 9, 2017
I am looking at the calendar for the past two months and the upcoming three months and can't believe how busy we've been. It's been a whirlwind of activity, with many new guests and several returning friends, working at the winery in town, and my involvement with the Red Carpet Country tourism association.  I am now Secretary of that board and we have our annual Tourism Conference coming up later this month, so we've been busy preparing for that since our last board meeting in June.

Skeeter is still holding his own.  We think he's about 12 years old now. He still likes to do "his rounds" around the property, but then spends most of the rest of the day laying around.  He'll follow the kids up the hill about half of the time.

4th of July was quiet out here.  All four of us went into OKC on the Monday before (July 3) to an artists reception at a small gallery downtown.  That was a nice evening out. Andy and I got away for a weekend in July and went to visit friends in Tulsa.  Trips to Tulsa are always fun and relaxing, even though it feels like we are running and eating most of the time.  That weekend was a birthday celebration for our friend Phyllis, and during the day Teri and I met up with my friend from El Paso, Jana, for lunch and drinks.  Later in the month we went to see our friend Katie Ballew perform at a little bar in El Reno called Vice's.  I'm not a bar kind of person (one reason I love our house concerts); I don't like the smoke and I don't like being out late. The nice thing about Vice's is that it is only 45 minutes away, they have an outdoor stage and seating area, and their music usually starts around 7:00 or 7:30 pm.  Our first time there we met the owners and made contacts with a couple of musicians for future house concerts here.

We've had lots of hot temperatures in late July and early August, but we do have a garden with tomatoes, squash, zucchini, potatoes, basil, rosemary. This week (Aug 7-12) is supposed to be cooler, with temperatures in the 80's and maybe 90 degrees.  We were able to have two house concerts outdoors this summer, one in June and one in July, and just got lucky the weather cooperated.  

We celebrated BIG (for small town folk) with a musician named Dylan Stewart playing at the Whirlwind Winery.  Doesn't sound like much, but it was a great evening with live music, good friends, wine, food, conversation, and lots of laughs.  I took photos, maybe I'll be able to download a few here.  I did finally get a smart phone, but mainly for use as a camera.

I'll write more later -- till then keep the sun out of your eyes and your feet on flat ground!