Remembering Old Faces
Many buildings built in the early 20th century were not only functional towers of space and convenience, but their outward appearances normally featured little details that gave those buildings their character. Skins of glass on modern skyrises might offer employees a workplace of light and space, but it robs the outer world in providing no emblems of craftmanship that will weather the ages and critics alike. Look more closely at the older buildings in downtown America, and the truth will readily appear.
Tulsa's Top Pub Grub
Who can fail to love a pub that has nearly 60 beers on tap, offers a full menu, and celebrates things like the UK Summer Bank Holiday with Sam Smith Winter Welcome Bottles for $3.50?
Housed in a renovated brick building in downtown Tulsa's Blue Dome District, McNellie's two floors of exposed walls, high beamed ceilings, and seating for up to about 200 create an inviting place to celebrate the finish of that latest project with a round of Murphy's Amber or enjoy a late night conversation over a platter of Sweet Potato Fries and a Red Stripe. In addition to the beer on tap, McNellie's also offers 180+ bottled beer selections, hailing from Australia to Zimbabwe, as well as beer flights, beer mixes, and a wine and beverage list.
But drinking isn't McNellie's only draw. Its full menu of fresh, well-prepared foods includes appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches (try the "Take Me Back to Tulsa Club"), thick, juicy burgers, entrees like fish n' chips and boneless pork loin chops, and special daily desserts. Live music, often of the Irish variety, is featured every Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and every Wednesday, from 5pm to 10pm, is the very popular $3.00 burger night. McNellie's also offers rooms for private parties. I really like those Sweet Potato Fries!
Tallgrass Prairie Preserve - Views from the Past
Getting even farther afield, but still easily accessible and well worth the visit, is the 39,000 acre Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (TPP) located about 55 miles NW of Tulsa near Pawhuska, OK.
A drive through the TPP provides at least a glimpse of the American heartland before the arrival of European settlers. The sweeping, unspolied vistas of the open hills and relatively narrow valleys are startlingly beautiful. Sunrises and sunsets can be breathtaking. The natural vegetation includes 747 identified plant species and features the namesake tallgrasses: big bluestem, indiangrass and switchgrass, each of which can reach up to eight feet by September. Wildflowers bloom throughout the preseve from spring to late summer. A herd of over 2,300 Bison freely range over about half of the preserve. Dozens of bird species, including Greater Priaire Chickens and Bald Eagles, call the preserve home, as do armadillo, beaver, badger, bobcat, deer, and many other forms of animal life.
A scenic route on public county roads takes you through the heart of the preserve. Starting and returning in Pawhuska, the drive is approximately 35 miles. Self-guided 1-3 mile nature trails begin near the preserve headquarters. The headquarters are located in the historic bunkhouses of the ranch that once owned the property.
Bison are almost always viewable from somewhere on the roadways, and often may block your path for a time. It is exciting to see these magnificant animals up close but please remember that these are wild and potentially very dangerous animals (males may be over 6ft. tall and weigh 2,000 lbs!).
Picnicking is allowed near the headquarters. Camping, hunting and fishing are not allowed. The TPP is open dawn until dusk, every day of the year. There is no admittance fee. From March through November the Preserve Headquarters is staffed by volunteers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.