Located in the northeast corner of Delaware County and skirting the eastern shore of the massive Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, Grove has a population a shade over 7,000. That figure holds during the week, but on any given weekend, it can swell manyfold.
Grove Area Chamber of Commerce president Donnie Crain asserts – only partly in jest – that come the weekend, Grove is the “third-largest city in Oklahoma.”
Grove is about a 90-minute drive from Tulsa and about three easy hours from OKC. Grand Lake boasts 46,500 surface acres and was formed from the federal government’s construction of the Pensacola Dam on the Grand River for hydroelectric power.
Grand Lake sprawls across four counties and is managed by the Grand River Dam Authority. The massive Pensacola Dam, located between Langley and Disney, opened in 1940, is a mile in length and 10 stories high.
Crain says permanent residents and visitors alike are mostly immersed in the “lake life,” and besides offering all the attractions of a major body of water, Grove itself presents a number of other reasons to visit or retain a permanent residence. Tourism, Crain says, is the city’s primary economic driver, but there is also good employment in the aerospace industry and the medical field.
“Whatever your interests are, you’ll find space to do it,” he says.
Visitors also can check out the city’s standing attractions, such as Har-Ber Village Museum, a 38-acre park that includes a pioneer life museum, restaurant and over two miles of nature trails; and Lendonwood Gardens, an eight-acre botanical garden along the lake.
Honey Creek State Park, one of three on Grand Lake, is inside Grove’s city limits and offers camping, hiking and most of all, stunning scenery year-round. It is surrounded on three sides by water.
Sherri Burris, manager for the Honey Creek, Bernice and Twin Bridges state parks, says the Honey Creek peninsula is a great place to walk, have a leisurely lunch or just “unwind and be stress-free.” The park offers a fishing dock and boat ramp – one of the few that’s open when the lake is high.
Nicole Reynolds, Har-Ber Village Museum director, says visitors come from all over the U.S. and other countries, and find one of the most complete collections of pioneer artifacts and demonstrations anywhere. The museum depicts life from about 1830 to 1940 and offers living history demonstrations each Saturday.
“We’ve been told that we’re like Silver Dollar City but without the rides,” she says. “We get a lot of comments about the scope and size of our exhibits.”
Reynolds also mentions the upcoming 10th annual Pioneer Days, running Sept. 23-25, that offers 50 living history demonstrations.
In addition to all that, she says, Har-Ber Village Museum is situated on Grand Lake.
“It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen, and I’ve been around the country,” she says.
Crain, meanwhile, says Grove is experiencing a downtown renaissance and a housing construction boom. But Grand Lake continues to be the development catalyst.
“The lake,” he said, “is where it all comes back to.”