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March 23, 1999

The Perry area has numerous worthy attractions that seem designed especially to lure visitors, but the problem is, how do we get the word out to potential tourists? How do we let them know what a great place this is, without buying expensive advertising in widely circulated publications aimed at certain markets? We really don't have the budget for that kind of promotion. But people do come here and we rarely know what attracted them, how they heard about our area's features in the first place.

There may be an influx of visitors from the Dallas area this spring and summer at the Homestead Bed & Breakfast at the GT Ranch, north of Perry, thanks to an excellent article in a recent Sunday edition of the Dallas Morning News. However, they'll have to learn about Perry after they reach this vicinity. The article is generally excellent but it does not contain a single mention of our town. Ponca City, Red Rock and even Oklahoma City are located for travelers' information, but not Perry.

GT stands for Good Times and Great Taste, according to the writer, Jean Simmons, travel columnist for the Dallas newspaper. The piece opens with a large photo of innkeeper Glenda Riddle as she hand-feeds her longhorn cattle. These animals are part of the atmosphere at the Homestead.

The article came to me from our friends, Russell and Helen Chapin, who live on Amelia Island, off the East Coast of Florida. Russell, an attorney and a native of Red Rock, retired not long ago from government service in the nation's capital. So it was a roundabout path that brought this to my attention, and I thank Russell and Helen for passing it along.

The feature is headlined: "Bed, Beef & Breakfast; This Oklahoma Inn Lets Visitors Ranch Out in Comfort." What follows is a description of the September 16, 1893, Cherokee Outlet land rush, and how the rustic log ranch takes visitors back to that time but with all the modern conveniences included. "Your lodging will be no crude log cabin," Ms.'Simmons writes, "but rather a beautifully handcrafted structure of hand debarked yellow-pine logs, built between May 1995 and May 1996 specifically for the comfort of overnight guests."

Another three-column photo shows the exposed log beams and cowhides which add to the Great Room's rustic character. A small inset map shows travelers how to find the ranch three miles east of I-35 at exit 203. The map, the photos and the entire article are just fine, except for the failure to include the proximity to Perry. Hard to figure the reason for that glaring oversight. We appreciate the publicity for one of our area's prime attractions, but we're baffled by the writer's failure to mention Perry or even Noble county.