MEDICINE PARK – Amidst the construction equipment, buzzing saws and pounding hammers, picturesque Medicine Park is slowly but surely getting a bit of a facelift.
Yolonda Ramos, Medicine Park’s court clerk, treasurer and deputy town clerk, explained how the wheels of growth are beginning to really spin in this appealing tourist destination along the clear waters of Medicine Creek.
“The community is excited to have new things,” Ramos said. “New shops are coming, and we are attracting even more tourists to this town.”
With Hitching Post Park getting a revamp and new businesses like Fancy Nancy’s, The Healthy Hippie and even a breakfast bar planning to open this year, the excitement is palpable.
Lawton’s Diamondback Harley-Davidson is also bringing business to Medicine Park. Their new building will include a restaurant called Bootleggers.
Another establishment, Open Range Eats and Mercantile, operated by Ronnie Burchfield, Cyndi Hardesty and manager Randi Harris, will be an extension of the longstanding White Buffalo Trading Post.
Along with specialty coffee, sodas, candies and other collectibles and treats, “we want to do specialty foods and chuckwagon-style food,” Burchfield said. This also includes Medicine Park and Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge themes T-shirts that are designed by the White Buffalo team.
“The store has a little bit of everything,” said Harris. “We try to keep it stocked with things people need.”
Burchfield, meanwhile, says expanding the store comes at a time when the White Buffalo is open seven days a week because of the dramatic increase in visitors.
Candace and David McCoy are very proud of their colorful, cozy Birdhouse Cottages along East Lake Drive.
“The whole point of this is there needs to be more shops and things downtown … and overnight lodging, which is what the birdhouses are,” said Candace McCoy said of the ADA-compliant structures.
Inside each cozy cottage is a bed, wall-mounted television, and bathroom with all the amenities. Each cottage features a large, circular window, offering plenty of natural light and a great view of Medicine Creek.
Building the Birdhouse Cottages in the center of town adds to the pedestrian-friendly nature of Medicine Park.
Hummingbird Cottage, for instance (all the cottages are named after birds, of course, and have bird-themed décor) has a seating area built below the cottage.
And talking to Ronnie Burchfield at the White Buffalo, he is eager to see more tourists come into town. In fact, he already has.
“Since COVID, visitors coming in have exploded,” Burchfield said, noting he now has four employees working the store. “It’s tremendous to have a thriving business.”
And with Open Range set to open before the summer season, Burchfield and his team are excited to greet one and all to Medicine Park.
INNHABIT TO INHABIT
SPACE IN MEDICINE PARK
Across the street from InnHabit, Tom Dyer, owner of Up The Creek Spirits, said when he opened the liquor store on Medicine Park’s East Lake Drive several years ago, it was one of the first new buildings in town. Dyer sold the property to Noel Alsbrook, who is behind the InnHabit project currently underway.
As a condition, however, Dyer said Alsbrook had to agree to have commercial businesses in the InnHabit space.
Alsbrook agreed, saying the InnHabit project is Oklahoma’s “first and only tiny house resort.”
Consisting of upcycled materials and shipping containers, Alsbrook said there will be 10 nightly, tiny house rentals available in addition to patios, rooftop decks and eateries like Redbone Indian Tacos, a woodfired pizza business, a custom ammo shop, a Mini Red Door Gallery and a Made in Oklahoma products business.
Alsbrook, meanwhile, will open the Great Ash Cigar Store in the InnHabit project, picking up where he left off with his former cigar store that had been on Cobblestone Road for a number of years.
“The whole place is repurposed, reused, upcycle materials. Old oil field drilling platforms, pipe that the town had used and had burst … we’ve had a lot of fun repurposing stuff,” Alsbrook said, adding, “This has been a labor of love.”
Alsbrook – who came to Medicine Park from California 21 years ago, and operates his business with his wife Julie – admitted he is amazed at how all of these projects are ramping up at the very same time, referring to Medicine Park’s growth and business activity a “boom.”
“It was not necessarily planned that way, but we’re pleased it worked out that way,” he said.
Coincidentally, while looking at some very old newspaper articles about Medicine Park, Alsbrook was pleased to learn that InnHabit is being built on the site of old tourist motor court.
“We didn’t know until after we purchased it that the site we built on was in fact a motor lodge,” he said. “It was called The Oaks Motor Lodge, which featured seven cobblestone cabins.”
Added Alsbrook: “I like it that we are returning it to its original heritage.”
InnHabit, he said, will celebrate its grand opening on Memorial Day weekend in late May, helping to kick off the summer season.
“Last Friday we went live at InnHabit.com. We do all our bookings through Airbnb,” Alsbrook said. “Our message box is full daily.”
For more details on Medicine Park, go to www.medicinepark.com.