- ABOUT US
This bed and breakfast at the tip of the Panhandle gives guests an experience that’s like bunking with family.
By BLAIR WALTMAN
After travelers have crossed the sublime vastness that is the Oklahoma Panhandle, the first thing Vicki Roberts offers the road-weary—after a warm hello and a glass of homemade iced tea—is the grand tour of her Black Mesa Bed and Breakfast outside Kenton.
“If you need anything, just come on in,” she says. “You’re staying with your aunt Vicki now.”
Nestled at the tip of the Panhandle, this secluded B&B with a bright red tin roof feels less like a hotel and more like visiting a relative’s country cabin. That’s fitting, since the property was originally Vicki and husband Monty Joe’s home and cattle ranch. A downturn in cattle prices in the late 1990s slowed business and forced the couple to change tactics.
“We didn’t know what we were going to do for money,” says Vicki. “Monty Joe was on a mission trip and I was here, and when he came home, we felt like God wanted us to open a bed and breakfast. We both came up with that very same thing, apart from each other.”
With that divine guidance, the couple began work in March 1997, renovating their 101-year-old ranch into a functioning inn. They were open by the first of May that year.
“Monty Joe’s a really good carpenter,” Vicki says. “He works fast.”
The couple refurbished an old water well and a chicken coop into cozy bunkhouses that can sleep from two to eight, depending on “how friendly they are with one another,” as Vicki puts it. The Black Mesa Bed and Breakfast ended up with a total of eight beds in five rooms, not including futons in the bunkhouse and the trailers they rent out for overflow.
Rates aren’t by room but by renters: fifty dollars for solo guests, eighty for couples, and flexible rates for groups.
After the bed comes the breakfast, and Vicki rolls out the feed wagon for guests with a full country spread: eggs to order, sausage, bacon, hash browns, ripe cantaloupe, and the pièce de résistance: prickly pear syrup and jelly made from hand-picked cactus fruit. Perhaps better than the food is the fact that it’s ready when guests are, and not vice versa.
“You’re on vacation; why should I tell you to get up at seven o’clock?” Vicki says. “If you want to get up early and go hike, then come back, and I’ll feed you. Or you can eat before you go.”
Hiking brings a lot of visitors to Vicki and Monty Joe’s doorstep, as they’re only three miles from Black Mesa, Oklahoma’s highest point. But so do the nearby dinosaur tracks, the Old Maid’s Head rock formation, and the tri-state marker that denotes where Oklahoma brushes against New Mexico and Colorado. Bird-watching and bicycling also bring guests calling.
The untarnished night sky has drawn amateur and professional stargazers, including the Vatican’s astronomer and the annual Okie-Tex Star Party in September. But more than a striking landscape and outdoor activities bring visitors to the Black Mesa Bed and Breakfast; the hospitality is a draw as well. It’s what struck Oklahoma City residents Richard and Vivian Stehr.
“It’s the first time we’ve stayed at a bed and breakfast,” Richard says. “This place is very nice—wonderful food and wonderful people.”
While the abundance of activities has resulted in visitors from Europe, Japan, Africa, and all over the United States, the thing that keeps people coming back is the B&B itself. This is a place to unwind, re-center, and feel at home.
“If you stay in a motel, you don’t write back to the motel and tell them what a good time you had,” says Monty Joe. “But we get that a lot here.”
Get There: Black Mesa Bed and Breakfast is located at 2 Carrizo Road, two miles north of Kenton from State Highway 325. (580) 261-7443 or bmbb1.com