Butter, cream, and bacon. That’s such a great foundation right there. Ree Drummond
I admit it, I’m a groupie. And I’m throwing my sister under the bus here because she is one too. We both love Ree Drummond aka the Food Network’s Pioneer Woman. Everyday around lunchtime she comes into each of our homes regaling us with “what’s happening on the ranch” and showing us how to cook meals that have been approved “by cowboys and hungry kids”!
We hear about her family, her friends, and her dogs and we know how much she loves cumin and hates bananas. We know her husband is her “Marlboro Man” and that she homeschools her children. She is transparent, good humored, and relatable. And, unlike many cooking shows, her recipes aren’t difficult with weird ingredients.
So, since we had to drive through Oklahoma to head home, we figured we might as well swing through the town of Pawhuska and visit the Mercantile she opened a couple of years ago. And, as luck would have it, the day we visited they were also offering lodge tours which allows you to go to their ranch and admits you into the guest lodge where she films her show. Can you say “bonus”?!
We headed to the Mercantile bright and early to enjoy breakfast and a little shopping. While it was busy, we did not have to wait for a table and we promptly ordered our meals. We were not disappointed! The Mercantile sells a variety of items related to the show including kitchenware, cookbooks, and even clothing similar to Ree’s signature style on the show. On the second floor there is a bakery and candy counter with a large area of seating suitable to enjoy your purchases and gaze out the windows at the small town of Pawhuska. Since we were full, we passed on the sweet treats and feeling that we had done the Mercantile justice, we decided to head out to the lodge.
On days when lodge tours are available, you request a ticket from an employee at the Mercantile and they provide you with directions. Tours are free and everyone who asks gets a pass good for that day. The lodge sits on their 433,000 acre ranch approximately 12 miles from town. The last 6 miles is a dirt and gravel ride with long range views of their land. As you can see by the pictures it was a beautiful day for our visit but very cold at 42 degrees and windy!
When we first arrived there were quite a few people in the lodge mostly gathered in the kitchen she uses to cook on her show. The lodge however is a large guest house and they allow you to wander freely into all the living areas, pet their basset hound Walter, and take pictures to your heart’s content. So after a quick look at her kitchen, we headed down the halls away from most of the people and peeked into the bedrooms, bathrooms, living room and storage pantries. There is also a large industrial kitchen at the opposite end of the lodge from the kitchen she uses on her show. Once we had perused these areas sufficiently and satisfied with the pictures we had taken, we headed back to the kitchen area and were pleased to see that most of the people had gone! This allowed us the opportunity to really be geeks and pretend to play Ree, taking pictures of each other stirring pots at her counter without “strangers” crowding our scene! Silly I know, but trust me, we weren’t the only ones! We stayed about an hour before heading back to the RV and the real world. All-in-all it was a great visit and they have done a great job in rehabbing an old building downtown and in making people feel welcome onto their property. The only disappointments of the day were that Ree didn’t pop in for a surprise visit nor did we see hubby, Ladd, herding cattle out on the range. But, let’s not forget, we did get to pet Walter so we will be content with that…