BRANSON, Mo., July 14, 2012 — During the celebration of the selling of the Branson Tourism Center’s three millionth show and attractions ticket earlier this Spring, Eddie and Peggy Barthel from Florence, Mississippi, the purchasers of the ticket said that it has been 30 years since they had been to Branson. That started me thinking, how many other people out there have been away from Branson and, hopefully, its fond memories, for far too long?
For most, those memories would include a trip to Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction, the award winning 1880s style theme park, Silver Dollar City. It’s hard to forget this Ozark Mountain treasure with its natural beauty, Marvel Cave, demonstrating craftsmen, rides and so much more. Oh, sure the rides, shows, festivals and food services have grown and expanded, but all within the framework of what has made Silver Dollar City the special place that created “Memories worth repeating” for tens of millions of its guests. Isn’t it time to return to Silver Dollar City to repeat some or those memories and make new ones?
Like many, one of my first memories of Branson was the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Play conducted amidst the beauty of the very area where it took place and inside the magnificent Shepherd of the of the Hills Outdoor Theatre. The memory and spectacle of that performance, as 80 actors and actresses, 40 horses, a flock of sheep, several guns and rifles, and the actual burning log cabin, ” brought Harold Bell Wright’s novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” to life has never been forgotten. That story is still retold today as it was then and shares the love, hardships, history and heritage of the Ozarks in a spectacular and inspiring way. Isn’t it time to experience this epic inspiring drama again or share it with someone you love.
The natural beauty of the Ozarks and its two closest lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo are a major part of many people’s memories of Branson. Whether it was boating, swimming, fishing or some other activity in one of Branson’s lakes or the constantly changing beauty of the surrounding Ozark Hills, it’s still here and is basically the same as it has been for the last 50 years. A major change would be the Lake Taneycomo lakefront where the magnificent Branson Landing has replaced the old waterfront with a spectacular shopping, dining and entertainment experience.
Even here however, memories of the past remain. Although most of the Trout fishing docks are gone, Scotty’s Tout Dock and Marina has just been moved upstream, to the south end of the city’s Lake Side RV Park. Many have pleasant memories of riding on Lake Taneycomo aboard the Lake Queen, a paddle boat replica from Branson’s riverfront past. Those memories may be relived on a daily basis as the Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen departs daily from the Main Street Marina in Branson Landing. Her sister ship, the Landing Princess, a 100 foot luxury yacht offering dinner and other cruises, provides even more opportunities to experience Lake Taneycomo.
Many will remember wonderful times shared eating in one of historic Branson’s downtown cafes such as the Branson Cafe, Farmhouse, Clockers or the Shack. Those special memories may be relieved and shared with new generations as, on a daily basis, these same “hometown cafes” offer the same Ozarks hospitality and down home cooking they have offered for decades.
Shopping has always been an inherent part of the Branson experience. Before the major outlet malls and Branson Landing most shopping was done in Branson’s specialty shops and stores. As great as the addition of the outlet malls and Branson Landing is, from Dick’s 5 & `10 and the dozens of small specialty shops in historic downtown Branson to specialty shops of every variety located all over Branson, shopping in Branson is a unique experience that is yet another reason to come back to Branson.
If you have been to Branson before and haven’t been back in a while, isn’t it time to come back to revisit some of those fond memories and make new ones?