Explore the sweet sounds of quiet and serenity at this unique destination
Each cabin at Calico Heights is tucked into the trees with views of Lake Eufaula. Courtesy photos
When Deb and Justin Parry moved to Oklahoma from their home in Iowa, their intentions were to escape winters and retire to lake life in the quiet, scenic surroundings of Lake Eufala. After a renovation of their retirement home allowed them to rent out the basement to guests, they began to book out the apartment to Lake Eufaula visitors.
“We weren’t anticipating a renovation to our retirement home. But we had an entire basement area that was open and not being used,” Deb Parry says.
Within an hour of posting their newly renovated basement apartment online, it was booked.
“I was so surprised. I realized there was a need in this area for couples and small families,” she says. “There are large homes in this area, but nothing smaller.”
Shortly after discovering this opportunity, they started looking for land surrounding Eufaula. In 2015, they took the leap and bought 12.5 acres of raw land, a property they now call Calico Heights.
“It took a couple of years, but my husband and I put in all the utilities—water, sewer, electric—and then we designed and built the homes,” the Kiamichi Electric Cooperative member says.
The Parrys are not new to home building. The husband and wife duo have been designing and building homes and businesses for many years. Each home has its own unique aesthetic. It was also important for them to use refurbished materials, so the homes felt special and full of character.
“We’ve built and situated each home to have a fabulous view,” she says.
Each cabin is nestled in the trees and offers a view of the lake. Visitors travel from all over to savor the sweet sound of quiet and serenity.
“Guests come here to chill and escape the city. They love the quiet seclusion and privacy,” Deb Parry says. “I find most guests vacation here for the calmness and beauty of the lake.”
Even for a weekend, Calico Heights is a great escape.
“We went last year for Memorial Day weekend,” says Rhnea Berggren, a Calico Heights customer. “We are coming again this year and bringing our kids and their loved ones.”
“I’ve found that we are a good meeting place for friends and families,” Deb Parry says.
They are at a centralized location between Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. Most guests are from the surrounding states, but the Parrys have had guests from as far as Japan. Many visitors turn into return customers because they enjoy their stay so much.
“The cabins are clean and have everything you could possibly need in them. But if you ever have a problem or question, Deb is happy to help,” Berggren says.
As the co-owner and operator, Deb assists guest with anything they may need, but also gives them space to relax and enjoy the land and the lake.
“We have yard games, kayak and pontoon use, a swing set and play area, and state park passes, so you can access any state park or swim beach in the area,” Deb Parry says. “Another thing that makes us unique is that we’re pet-friendly and open year-round.”
Most rentals in the area require you to leave your furry friends at home, but they can tag along to Calico Heights. They’ll enjoy the hiking trail and the property almost as much as you will. The majority of rentals in the area close for off-season, but not Calico Heights. Guests can book a stay all year.
Both Deb and Justin worked full-time jobs in the beginning years of running Calico Heights. But since business has taken off, Deb Parry has retired from her desk job and invests her time in the cabins instead.
“If you’d told me 10 years ago that I was going to do this, I’d say you were crazy. This was not my plan,” she says. “But since then, we’ve gotten so busy. Since I quit my full-time job to run Calico Heights, I get to be hands-on. And I love it.”
An unexpected opportunity turned into an exciting adventure for the Parrys at Calico Heights.
”We manage it so guests get the best possible experience there is,” she says. “We really wanted to open Calico Heights to share the beauty we’ve experienced here in Oklahoma.”