Heading south on I-35 from OKC, billboards boast that Pauls Valley (only an hour away) is “not an ordinary small town”. Though lovely old buildings house downtown businesses and there is the friendliness exclusive to smaller towns, it also has panache.
Exit 72, entrance to Pauls Valley, is easy to recognize. The enticing tasting room of Valley Vineyard & Winery, 601 Butler Road, sits below a western knoll north of the exit. Sunlight bounces off wine bottles and stained glass in this high-ceilinged room where guests sip fine wines. The winery can easily accommodate a large group and, with notice, provide a catered lunch. The beautiful patio and brick fire pit make the perfect setting for the art shows and intimate concerts they often host. Hours are Wednesday thru Saturday noon to 6:30; Sunday 2pm to 6:30. (405)207-9829 or valleyvineyardsandwinery.com.
After an enjoyable respite, we’ll drive east on Highway 19 into downtown and turn right at Walnut Avenue, following its winding way to Your Framer & Gifts, a charming boutique at 822 S. Walnut. The back room is where exceptional custom art framing takes place. The front room is filled with luxurious smelly stuff from Thymes, delicious packaged food from The Barefoot Contessa and Stonewall Kitchen, natural fabric clothing from Fresh Produce and all kinds of goodies from the Life is Good line. Allison also carries a wonderful selection of handmade jewelry by several local artisans whose prices will astound you – in a good way!! Hours are Tuesday thru Friday 10:30 to 5:30. (405)238-3579.
Next we visit Debbie at Corner Market. Located at 115 S. Chickasaw, this historic building is filled with fabulous home décor, gifts and things you just have to have; like Melie Bianco & RuthMichael handbags, aromatic candles and luscious Pré de Provence Bath & Body Product. Select some colorful Fiesta Ware and take home the latest kitchen gadget or how about Paula Deen’s famous spices and seasonings? But before you’re done, you’ll want to partake of a specialty coffee or an Italian soda at the fountain. Hours are Monday thru Friday 10 to 5; Saturday 10 to 4. (405)238-2640 or cornermarketgifts.com
Our final “must see” is thegallery at 204 W. Paul - a cozy place where fine art holds hands with everything from clothing to needlepoint. Ruth Anne travels the globe to find the right gifts to share with her customers; silky soft children’s clothing and accessories from Barefoot Dreams and Little Giraffe, haute women’s apparel from Planet, Johnny Was, and Green Dragon, award winning handmade greeting cards and elegant jewelry, fine art and an extravagant selection of Lampe Berger lamps & fragrances, plus a superb collection of yarns and hand painted needlepoint canvases. Hours are Monday thru Friday 10 to 5; Saturday 10 to 2. (405)207-9527 or shopthegallery.com
Pauls Valley is the home of bedré Chocolate Factory, Field’s Pies and the Toy & Action Figure Museum. Contact (405)238-6491 or visit paulsvalley.com.
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