Old Route 66 crosses the Interstate again at Vinita, where the region’s Native American heritage is brought into focus at the Eastern Trails Museum (Mon.–Sat. 1–4 pm; free; 918/256-2115), next to the public library at 215 W. Illinois Street. The exhibits center on the Cherokee “Trail of Tears,” which brought the tribe here after a forced march from North Carolina in the 1830s, but the museum also covers the general history of the surrounding area.
Vinita is home to the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo, held here each August since 1935, the year he died; Rogers attended secondary school in Vinita after growing up near Claremore. Vinita also hosts an annual Calf Fry Festival in mid-September. (Calf fries are prairie oysters; otherwise known as beef testicles. Just so you know.) Contact the visitors center (918/256-7133) for details on any of these.
Vinita also has a great old Route 66 restaurant: Clanton’s Cafe (918/256-9053), right at the center of town at 319 E. Illinois Street.