At Carlton Landing near Lake Eufaula, you can hike, bike, fish or stroll your way to urbanism bliss in this glamorous hamlet that mimics the lifestyle and resort feel of getaway Florida spots.
Tucked away in the wooded shores of Lake Eufaula, there’s a best-kept secret resort spot awaiting your exploration and discovery. Take Oklahoma Highway 9A and just before you reach the town of Eufaula, turn down Carlton Landing Drive. A delightful, winding 3-mile trip through the woods leads you to the newly minted town of Carlton Landing (incorporated 2013), a planned community that promises to offer a luxurious getaway from your everyday life.
Carlton Landing combines two different approaches to town planning to create a one-of-a-kind experience within driving distance of Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Ft. Smith. First, the town mimics the lifestyle and resort feel of getaway spots like Florida’s Seaside and Rosemary Beach, both of which are built around the concept of new urbanism — a walkable community with all the major amenities within a 5-10 minute walk from your residence.
Town founder Grant Humphreys, an Oklahoman with fond memories of family vacations past, explains that his visits to Seaside and Rosemary Beach profoundly influenced the approach he and his wife, Jen, took when structuring Carlton Landing. “When we would travel to Seaside and Rosemary Beach as a family, we saw how powerful a planned community can be,” he says. “It offers a sense of quality and intentionality. Visitors feel like they’re in a nice place that was not planned haphazardly.”
For visitors to the resort town, that means you can arrive for your vacation, park your car and not have to get behind the wheel again until you’re ready to head home. “It does bring people together,” says Humphreys. “People are often isolated or have to drive by automobile from place to place. It feels disjoined, inefficient.”
Thus, one of the pleasures of Carlton Landing, is its walkability. Take advantage of that when you visit, says Humphreys. “When you take the car keys away, it changes the pace of life in a dramatic way,” he says. “When people come here, they often do very little except be present in the moment.”
In other words, luxurious down time is yours during your stay. Stroll with your family, including the dog, to the country store, where you can pick up the essentials to cook a meal at home. Walk to the lake, hop in the kayaks available for your use, and play in the calm waters of Lake Eufaula. Stop by the local drinking hole — designed like a casual beachside bar — to order a beer and enjoy the sunset. Or head to the pool and hot tub for a dip and time in the sun.
The second design element Humphreys incorporated into Carlton Landing is an old-time farmhouse and lake house experience that hearkens back to the days before we had cell phones, constant Internet distractions, crowded streets and a driving need to be entertained. You won’t find video arcades, movie theaters or malls there. You won’t find fast food. But what you will find is the old-fashioned, slow-paced vacation time to detox from all that normally keeps you busy and frazzled.
“Our direct experience of the lake is very personal and relational,” Humphreys says in describing why the town is so low-key. “We had the chance to reconnect with family at the lake. It was casual, laid back. I loved that, and the Oklahoma attitude that when you go to the lake, you have a chance to decompress and relax.”
The Oklahoma sensibility is carried out even in the design of the houses, which are laid out like the large farmhouses of our state’s past. Outside, the homes are wrapped by spacious porches that invite conversations with friends and family over a glass of wine or a cigar. Inside, the rooms are spacious, bright and modern, promising comfort and ease. There’s room to spare for those who have large families or want to share a cottage with several friends.
The town’s future plans include making it even more sustainable and green. “Long term, we see a local food system and thoughtfully designed urban farm fitting in very well,” Humphreys says. “We have identified local farmers to help us who are small scale but really get farming. They love it and have been doing it about 30 years. Our first fall crop is growing right now.”
In addition to farming, the future promises a nature center, as well as a work-in-progress of nature trails and land preservation in partnership with the Nature Conversancy. “ The first trails were set up this year,” Humphreys says. The town is working on getting grants to help develop the nature center further.
For those who want a second home or are looking for a permanent place to live, Humphreys says that Carlton Landing is someplace to consider. To appeal to those who move there permanently or spend a good part of the year there, the town offers amenities like a community garden, and even a small school house for younger age children. Condos are being developed along the waterfront area, and a partnership has been arranged with Elite Alliance — a timeshare which will allow a week at a Carlton Landing condo to be traded for a week in places like Napa Valley, Telluride, Rosemary Beach and Cabos San Lucas.
Some of the homes are already occupied by permanent residents, although a large portion will probably always be secondary homes and rentals. Either way, the goal is for everyone to feel a sense of community there, whether residents or visitors.
20 Boulevard | Eufaula
November is also the month for giving thanks, and we’ve got that covered as well. Whether you’re a Thanksgiving newbie or pro, this issue has all the recipes, tips, and techniques to make your holiday season easier, more delicious, and as sanity-saving as possible.
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