A destination/vacation spot
for the Midwest
But not limited to the midwest for travelers from all over the country come to Branson
It was a quiet sleepy town in the area known as the Ozarks known for fishing because first of all for the White River and then for
Lake Taneycomo which was built early in the last century for power
A snake of a lake, Branson is one of the towns that dot this lake made from damming up the White River
It is bookended by Corps of Engineer Lakes
Table Rock to the west
And Bull Shoals to the west and down into Arkansas
The Shepherd of the Hills attraction has been here a long time
For in the 70s it had a different sign
"Old Matt's cabin" and other things from the book written by Harold Bell Wright about this area of the Ozarks, brought tourists to the area.
And "Shepherd of the Hills Farm" was born.
They have a gift shop (of course) and nightly do a Shepherd of the Hills Play
and have for almost 50 years!
The most famous attraction, however is . . .
Silver Dollar City
It's been entertaining folks for 56 years
And to think it all started because of
The third largest cave in the United States
To entertain those who were waiting to go through the cave,
they built a street and would have gunfights . . .
It wasn't long before Silver Dollar City was more of an attraction than the Cave
that started it all.
Like Vegas, Branson has a Strip
76 Highway runs through Branson and into the Ozark hills and on to Silver Dollar City
Also known as "76 Country Boulevard"
for years, it was the only way to get from Branson to Silver Dollar City
And along "The Strip", artists opened theaters, motels were built to house the tourists who came to the shows and restaurants were built to feed those tourist.
When the shows got out in the evening,
it was bumper to bumper traffic
creeping along back to your motel
Branson realized the problem and because of better technology was able to build
roads around Branson -- called the "Green Loop", "Red Loop" or "Blue Loop"
Whichever loop you take, it allows you to go from Silver Dollar City to Branson without inching along!
And, of course, growth with more theaters, restaurants and hotels along these
And then there is old fashioned Downtown Branson
Dicks 5 & 10
A must see downtown
An old fashioned "dime store"
full of an odd assortment of merchandise
And I don't see how they ever do inventory --
the store is that packed!
A normal downtown with "tourist" shops --
not T shirt shops but stores filled with merchandise that tourists
At one time, Branson was the "Craft Hub" of the Midwest
but on this visit I noticed that the craft part was not as prominent as it had been on
It's still there, but just not as much!
In order to lure more upscale visitors, they built
Full of tonier shops and restaurants
Stores that you see in most metropolitan areas
anchored by Missouri's own, Bass Pro Shops
used to be just shoreline along the Taneycomo
Forty-three years ago!
Not far from Branson is the small village of Hollister
I'm not sure why, but they decided to make Hollister an English village
and their main street looks like a village in England
For years, it was Branson's poor relation but on this visit,
I noticed that more store fronts were filled.
Branson is known for it's food
For years, it was "home cooking" Mom and Pop type of restaurants
with a McDonalds being the only chain
Biscuits and gravy and chicken fried steak were on almost every menu.
But Branson is more upscale now and more restaurants are chains
than Mom and Pops.
On the way down, we stopped at Smith's in Bolivar.
We've been eating at Smith's for years in Collins, Mo.
but the realignment of Highway 13 caused the restaurant to move to Bolivar
And we shared!
We were so full from breakfast that for lunch we decided on a bowl of diner chili
Billy Bob's a Branson tradition
Their hamburgers are good but we were too full to even have a burger!
And a visit to Branson isn't complete without fudge!
There are fudge shops everywhere!
A throwback to early Branson tourism
This morning we had breakfast at
Billy Gail's in Reed's Springs
And yes, this, too, is one breakfast
And yes, indeed, we shared
Look at those pancakes!
When Branson got more touristy and those outer roads were built
to enable traffic to move more freely, three "Outlet Malls" opened
One has closed, one is partly open and the third seems to be booming
With the number of tourists and half of them women, outlet malls to me made a lot of sense
But it didn't work!
We did hit the one that is booming and I found a Vera Bradley store
With a great sale
I felt that I needed a new tote
It's really a good size for an overnight bag
but I'm going to use it for my needlepoint
For whenever I'm in the car, that's what I do . . .
My newest canvas
Cherries from Cleopatra's Needle
Jim and I have been coming to Branson since our honeymoon
(although it was closed since it was November)
but we went back the following year and have made many trips.
It is fun to see how it's grown
And to remember