Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Week in Branson, Missouri- August 14-24, 2014

Years ago, when Tom and I were working we bought a week of timeshare. Since retiring and traveling in our motorhome that week was no longer something we looked forward to doing. We had attempted to sell by several means but that proved impossible. Finally, this year our home resort, Marriott Royal Palms in Florida, offered to buy it back. So we are to receive back about 1/10th of what we paid to be rid of this, not a good deal but the only deal, and we will be free of the yearly ever-increasing maintenance fees and the need to go travel in this fashion. We still had 2 weeks of timeshare on the books to be used, one that had to be used before October. Hurriedly, we were able to book a week in Branson, Mo. for August 16 through 23. We had hoped to take our granddaughter, Maddi, along but she had made the field hockey team so was unable to go.

On Thursday, the 14th of August, we left home in our Jeep with suitcases packed heading west toward Branson. We spent 2 nights on the road- on the west side of Columbus, Ohio on Thursday (Hampton Inn) and then the west side of St. Louis, Missouri on Friday (Drury Inn). This was our first time to stay at a Drury Inn. Included in the room was a dinner buffet (soup, salad, pasta entree, salsa and chips) as well as a hot breakfast buffet ( omelets, sausage, fruit,etc.). The room cost was less than the Hampton Inn and the bed was more comfortable.

We arrived in Branson about noontime and were able to check into Spinnaker Palace View but we could not get our room keys until 4pm. So we went out for lunch and the spent time at the Shepard of the Hills fish hatchery and Lake Taneycomo until 4pm. During the week we went to several shows. Pierce Arrow show had been recommended to us by a group we encountered at the hotel on Friday evening. The Duttons show was a well rated show as well as the Haygood show. These shows were about 2 hours long and all proved to be very entertaining. Tom and I agreed that the Dutton's was the best of the 3 shows. The Dutton's are a family of talented musicians and entertainers. The Haygood's are another talented family group with louder music. Pierce Arrow is a group of musicians that perform a lot of gospel songs.

One afternoon we went on the Showboat Branson Belle. This paddle boat cruises Lake Taneycomo for 2 1/2 hours while the passengers enjoy a dinner and show. We were pleased with the meals that we had- Tom had prime rib and I had Mahi-mahi. The show was enjoyable.

For lunch one day we went to the College of the Ozarks. This college made quite an impression on us. The 1500 or 1600 students work 15 hours a week in order to pay their tuition. There is a restaurant, an inn, craft shops (weaving, furniture making, mills making corn meal and flours, jelly/jam kitchens) and farming. This is a liberal arts college. All the students we encountered were well groomed and very proud of their college. Since the college was not in session at this time students are allowed to work 40 hours a week to pay for their room and board. Most students (65-75%) come from the Ozark area. A great program and the students expressed their appreciation for being able to take advantage of this educational experience.

For whatever reason, this particular week is a down time for Branson. We wanted to go to Silver Dollar City and to the Shepard of the Hills outdoor play. Both of these activities were only open on Friday of this week. Silver Dollar City is an amusement park that also has stages throughout with entertainment. Presently, the entertainment is gospel groups. We sat through a couple groups of entertainers and rode a few rides. This weather this week was dry but hot. Temperature were in the 90's all week increasing to 100 degrees on Friday. Needless to say,the day would have been better in cooler weather. Later in the evening, we attended the Shepard of the Hills play which is performed in an outdoor amphitheater. Again this would have been more enjoyable in cooler weather.

Saturday morning we packed up and started our trek to home. We spent Saturday night at a Fairfield Inn in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. We ate dinner at a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant. While eating,there was a thunderstorm with sharp lightning and heavy down pouring of rain. Drawing out the dinner with coffee, we finally made a break for the parking lot and back to the hotel when there was a let up of the rain. Sunday we continued on and got home about 7pm.