It had been over a decade since I was in Branson, but when I learned that my mom’s favorite, Johnny Mathis was coming to town, we hit the road. We traveled to Branson the weekend before Thanksgiving and much to my surprise, Christmas had arrived already in this Ozark Mountain town.
Visitors were first drawn to the Branson area to visit a colorful cave located under today’s present day Silver Dollar City. The owners of the cave were profiled as characters in the book Shepherd of the Hills that was written by minister Harold Bell Wright.
The book has become the forth most popular book ever written and this book drew visitors to the area where they like visitors today enjoyed the outdoor beauty and activities that the area has to offer.
Branson history offers that once a dam was constructed creating Table Rock Lake, tourists flocked to the area and the dam allowed electricity bringing entertainment to town. The Mabe brothers put together a variety act and in 1969 the Baldknobbers built a theater bringing the first of many.
We visited the Oakridge Boys theater to see the amazing 80 year old Johnny Mathis sing with all the beauty I remember from mom’s records. They played every Saturday morning as she turned up the music while we cleaned house. I think my sister Debbie and I both can belt out many of the tunes like Chances Are by heart.
We also attended another show during our two day visit and we were impressed by the beauty of the theaters, the talent of the performers and the amount of glitz both the men and women wore! I think my friend Linda said it best, “Branson in like Las Vegas in the Bible Belt.”
She is right, mom and I both found it refreshing during the shows and around town that the mention of God and Christmas were commonplace. During one performance there was a tribute to Veterans, patriotism reigns supreme.
What I really loved was our day downtown in old Branson where the old stores were decorated and the shops were filled with quality goods. We also visited the local museum featuring wood carvings and the Branson Auto and Farm museum where I saw cars and farm equipment galore!
While there, unless you are at Silver Dollar City, you probably won’t see many visitors below the age of 50 during the winter time, we blended right in and had great fun.
If you are looking for a place to go where the scenery is lovely, the food is good and the entertainment is supreme, head to Branson. During the holidays it is the place to be. Be ready though for traffic and STEEP driveways. I never did get the courage to go through the real entrance to our hotel which seemed to be on a 50% angle heading straight up!
Decorated to the hilt, if you have a few extra days before New Years, head south!