Oklahoma Joe: Here’s to taking some much needed time off

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Joe Hight

Memorial Day is considered by many to be the official start of the “summer” holiday season. Today, the day after, you may have the chance to take this trip. However, others may not take stays or vacations for various reasons.

My advice: take your vacation. Take all the days off you have. And then plan a day off before returning to work to rest. For some reason, many of us try to cram a year of sightseeing, hiking, and shopping into a week or two.

I am among those. I traveled by plane, bus and car to five countries in 10 days. I traveled nearly 4,000 miles to reach my 50th state before my 60th birthday. I traveled 10 hours by bus from San Pedro Sula, Honduras to see the Mayan ruins of Copan and then on to Antiqua, Guatemala. I was bitten by jellyfish when I saw a shark below me while snorkeling off Kauai. Got lost in western Italy looking for a cruise ship that left us behind.

But of all the places I’ve seen, where would I definitely go back? Here are my top 10 or 11 or 12 in Oklahoma, USA and internationally.

First, Oklahoma, out of order:

• Wichita Mountains: Great place to hike, but avoid the rattlesnakes.

• Downtown Tulsa: art deco, restaurants, Greenwood district. Then head to Philbrook, one of Oklahoma’s top art museums, or take a stroll through Gathering Place.

• Myriad Gardens/Scissortail Park in Oklahoma City: Beautiful places to walk.

• Pawhuska County/Osage: Ree Drummond, “The Flower Moon Slayers”.

• Southeastern Oklahoma: magnificent landscapes, mountains and “Bigfoot” passages.

• Arbuckle Mountains: One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world which are most often thought of as hills.

• Oklahoma City: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City National Memorial and First Americans Museum — You can do them in one or two days.

• Route 66: In Oklahoma and out of state. My goal is to complete the entire course.

• Bartlesville: Woolaroc museum and wildlife reserve and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower.

• Claremore: Will Rogers Memorial Museum and House.

Now for my regional, national and international destinations for no reason except that I would love to visit them again.

Region:

• Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

• Galveston, Texas.

• San Marcos, TX.

• Dodge City, Kansas.

• Lawrence, Kansas.

• Colorado Springs.

• New Orleans, Louisiana.

• Springfield, Missouri.

• Osage Beach, Missouri.

• Most small mountain towns in Colorado: Creede, for example.

• Taos, New Mexico.

National:

• Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

• Charleston, South Carolina/Savannah, Georgia.

• Denali, Alaska.

• Boyne City/Mackinac Island, Michigan.

• Bar Harbor, Maine.

• Carmel by the Sea, California.

• Glacier National Park, Montana.

• Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho.

• Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

• Fargo, North Dakota.

• Crater Lake, Mount Saint Helens (anywhere in Oregon, Washington).

• Niagara Falls/New York State.

• Key West, Florida.

International:

• Victoria, Canada.

• Port Arthur, Tasmania.

• Sydney, Australia. I could easily add Brisbane and Melbourne to this list.

• Dubrovnik, Croatia.

• Tarragona, Spain.

• Antiqua, Guatemala.

• Copan, Honduras.

• Dublin, Ireland.

• Belfast, Northern Ireland.

• Paris, France.

• Venice, Italy.

• Edinburgh, Scotland, with a day trip to the Highlands.

• London, England.

You can have your own places to revisit. But if you go to these places or others during the holidays, have fun and try not to overdo it. But do it. You need time off for your sanity.

Joe Hight is a director and member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, a publisher who spearheaded a Pulitzer Prize-winning project, the Chair in Journalism Ethics at the University of Central Oklahoma, president/owner of Best of Books, author of ‘Unnecessary Sorrow’ and editor/editor of ‘Our Greatest Journalists’.

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