Some years back, my father bought a timeshare. I know…timeshares are a bad investment and come with a laundry list of problems, but I would never buy one for myself. My father, however, enjoyed the benefits of his timeshare. He especially liked staying in Branson, Missouri. “Son, if you ever get the chance, you should visit Branson, it’s a great place,” he said to me on more than one occasion. Well dad, if you can hear me, I’m taking your advise. We are going to Branson.
Located in the Ozark Mountains, Branson, Missouri has long been a tourist attraction. A blend between the Las Vegas Strip and Gatlinburg’s Parkway, 76 Country Boulevard offers an array of entertainment theaters. Big name performers are often seen on the marquees. Hotels, restaurants and amusement parks also line the boulevard.
Table Rock Lake, built and operated by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, is another Branson destination where vacationers can enjoy beaches, sailing, fishing, waterskiing, hiking, camping and much more. We saw marinas filled with boats of all sizes, jet skis racing across the lake, and fishermen trolling the hidden coves. I heard that one can even take an old time riverboat for a dinner cruise around the lake. Table Rock State Park, located along the shore, offers a scenic natural setting with hiking trails, picnic tables and pavilions.
An abundance of vacation rentals are all around the area and there are a number of campgrounds too. We are at Indian Point Campground. Our daughter and son-in-law are nearby with Bryan’s parents in a vacation rental that has a balcony with a beautiful view overlooking the valley. Bryan’s sister is staying with her family at the same campground as us. Bryan’s brother and his family also came along. They are in another vacation rental nearby. We are all together for a few more days.
Bryan’s sister took her family of six to Silver Dollar City for a fun day on the roller coasters and other rides. Located on Indian Point not far from the campground, the themed amusement park, much like Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, attracts large crowds daily. We skipped the thrill rides and instead, joined the others for a different kind of fun day.
We started our day by meeting up at Billy Gail’s for breakfast. It’s a popular hole-in-the-wall country restaurant open for breakfast and lunch. Known for their down-home cooking and large potions, their eye-popping 14 inch jumbo pancake and 5 egg omelets will satisfy any appetite. There is usually a wait to be seated, but rest assured, it is worth it.
Afterward, we walked off breakfast among the blossoming dogwood trees at Table Rock State Park where there are a variety of trails to explore. Down at the lake, we walked out on a dock. The water was clear and we saw trout hiding in the shadows. We drove to the trout hatchery on the lower side of the dam to learn how they raise and stock the lake with trout for the sport fishermen. Mid-afternoon was when we went to Lindwedel Winery to sit on their terrace and enjoy the scenic panoramic view and a bottle of wine. We ended our day around a campfire with everyone telling stories while roasting marshmallows. Can life get any better?
The next morning, Grammi and I arose to a beautiful sunny day. It was on this day, thirty-nine years ago, when Grammi and I were married. The two of us celebrated our wedding anniversary exploring Branson. We strolled hand-in-hand along the boardwalk at Branson Landings, past the fountain, and saw a zipline racing across Lake Taneycomo. That looked like fun, so we gave it a go. At Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline we climbed into a seat, much like a ferris wheel chair, and was hoisted up a cable to the other side of the lake. It was a great view. We saw the city spread out in front of us and boats motoring around on the lake below. Without warning we were released to speed down the cable and across the water. It was so much fun and Grammi and I screamed with laughter.
We walked the streets of downtown Branson, stopping in shops to see what they had. We browsed a quilt shop. Grammi is in the market for a new quilt for our camper bed. She didn’t find one that said “take me home”…this time. We stopped at a candy shop and bought a few chocolates. We looked inside a visitor center where we were greeted by friendly, helpful staff whose ultimate goal was to sign us up for a presentation pushing vacation timeshares. Yep! They still do that here dad.
As evening fell, we went for dinner and a show. We ate Thai food. The food was good. On a recommendation we went to see the Haygoods. The Haygoods were nothing less than spectacular. This Vegas quality music show was entertaining beyond expectation. It was obvious the family was talented and has been performing for many years. Thank you Ron for the recommendation. It was a perfect way the celebrate our anniversary.
Dad, as usual, you were right. Branson, Missouri was all you said it would be. I am sorry it took us so long to get here. Rest assured though, we will be back. We barely scratched the surface. There is so much more to see.
So until next time…happy days and safe travels.