Tuesday, September 23, 2008

BRANSON FAMILY FUN

Branson, Missouri, is a feast for the eyes and soul. No matter from where you come, here in the USA or from other countries, once you've visited you will want to come back. Located in the southwest part of Missouri, Branson is nestled in the mountains off highway 65. If you like history, especially Americana, fishing, hiking, camping, shopping, amusement parks, music shows, fine dining, fine junk food, or just simple "being," Branson is the place.

What I like best is that it is safe for the children. All the music shows have comedians, and they will have you laughing to tears. But not a single offensive word, not a single off color joke, not a single angry slap, will be made.

This is my absolute favorite time to visit Branson. The crowds have thinned, the colors are turning, and there is that delicious cool nip in the air. It is the start of an extending holiday season and everyday is a celebration.

There is so much to do there that it will take several installments to cover it, so the best way would be in logical order. Today I will start with places to stay.

There are hotels that fit every budget and I've stayed at a lot of them. Here are some of my favorites.

Big Cedar Lodge is a resort that can only be described as "rustic elegance." Surrounded by mountains, and lakes, the flora and fauna, it makes just staying there vacation enough. Throw in the fine dining, spa and fitness center, horseback riding, marina, golf, and special events, once I'm there I don't want to go anywhere else!

Visitors can either stay at the lodge, rent a cabin or cottage. We've done all three. This place is pricey, but well worth saving for.

Neal surprised me one anniversary with a romantic getaway at the lodge. The folks there couldn't have been more accommodating. A bottle of wine and two glasses commemorating our anniversary awaited us in our spacious room. the bed was luscious with its feather bed topper and down duvet. We strolled the many paths that were still beautiful even though it was winter. I highly recommend the champagne brunch.

The deluxe rooms have fireplaces and private balconies. The only draw back for some is that there is usually at least one deer head or a huge stuffed fish on the wall somewhere in the room. But Big Cedar is owned by Bass Pro Shops. So what can one expect?

The cabins and cottages are my favorite,and of course, the most expensive. But there is a kitchen and if you are traveling with friends, you could share the cost.

Chateau On The Lake is situated on Table Rock Lake. It looks like a castle. The atrium is breathtaking. It has an indoor stream that pools here and there, where I love to watch the Koi fish. There is a huge tree in the center, beautiful foliage and flowers. Birds sing from their perches. It brings the outside in.

There is a library lounge with a fireplace. It is the perfect place to find a comfy chair and read on rainy or cold days. There is a small bar in there and it is open in the evenings. It is so nice to sit by the fire with a glass of wine and friends.

There are several places to eat. I like them all. Especially the sweet shoppe. They have a small bit of shopping there, the usual souvenirs, and a small dress shop.

The rooms are comfortable. The only complaint I have is that the Internet isn't free. I can't quite figure it out. Cheap hotels = free Internet. Expensive hotels charge? Hmmmmmmm

The main strip where all the show are is Highway 76. There are many, many, resorts and hotels there. Just go to http://www.branson.com/ for ideas of where to stay. You will also find campgrounds and cabin rentals.

Neal and I love to trout fish and there are two fishing resorts on Lake Tanneycomo where we like to stay.

Ozark Trout Resort isn't fancy, but clean and comfortable. Lynn and Wanda Wilson, the owners, are friendly and very helpful with fishing advice and needs. The dock is open all year to fishing.

Lilley's Landing is next door to Ozark Trout. It is really nice, clean, comfortable. It has a great little store and a wonderful dock! It is a little more expensive than Ozark.

Both Ozark and Lilley's are close to the strip and so if the fishing is slow, there is always something to do. Personally, I like watching the water from the dock while writing.

Well, that should keep you busy deciding where to stay. Next up, what to do.

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