A quick trip to Branson, MO

The period from March 19 until now is the longest I have stayed home in a while (that’s right, Covid-19 – I’m looking at you!). I have gotten pretty used to hitting the road regularly with my husband’s band and photographing the concerts while I’m there. As of now, we have missed a good handful of gigs and more are getting canceled by the day. For the people in the music industry, this is a rough time. Those who depend on this income as their sole livelihood have had to scramble to enact Plan B.

My husband and I were going to celebrate our 1-year anniversary on the last weekend in June by going to Branson, MO, where we married, but my son’s graduation stopped that plan when it was rescheduled for that weekend. No biggie. We just pushed the vacation back a week. We needed to get out of the state of Iowa so badly! We were tired of this house, tired of this town, and – to be honest – tired of the endless cornfields and flat land of Iowa. It was time to travel.

We wanted to return to Branson for many reasons: first, it was where we married, so it was only appropriate to go back there; second, it is a beautiful area, and we were anxious to explore the landscape more than we had time for last year; and third, we have several friends there who are in the music industry and we wanted to see them. When the Elvis fests are in full swing, we are used to seeing these people pretty regularly. It’s been four months and we started to feel the void.

We again stayed at Branson King Resorts, home of the famous Presley Penthouse (a perfect place to stay if you are an Elvis fan!). This time, however, we did not stay in the Penthouse; we were given the Loretta Lynn/Conway Twitty room. There are a few theme rooms scattered throughout the property, including John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. Great care has been taken to find pieces authentic to the time period.

We did some touristy things while in Branson, including visiting the freaking awesome Titanic museum, the toy museum (which is a wonderful nostalgic trip), and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. All three are great fun and also perfect for children. I mean, where else can you see a pic of Elvis composed completely of barcodes – all of them barcodes for Elvis products?

One thing we learned on this trip – Elvis is EVERYWHERE. Literally.

We were able to see some of our music friends and spend some time with them, which provided a great sense of something we’ve been lacking lately – NORMALCY. It was much needed! We saw the man who married us last year perform as Elvis at Legends in Concert, and I cannot even begin to describe how refreshing it was to see live performances again.

The highlight of the weekend was when one of our friends took us up to Top of the Rock – a park nestled in the wilderness outside of Branson. There we rented golf carts and went on the trails, going through waterfalls and stopping inside the “bat cave” for a cocktail.

My phone didn’t really know how to take a picture of this combo of bright and dark. How would you like to be a bartender in a cave? This was a totally unexpected but very cool part of this trail ride.

I wish I would have known this place existed before because we definitely would have made time for it last year. Needless to say, my hubby and I are talking about the next time we can go up there again. Picturesque and peaceful – two more things that have helped feed our souls.

Ignore my finger. I was so scared I was going to drop my phone in the abyss that I made sure I had a FIRM hold on it.

Our timing on the trails was perfect. It started to sprinkle as we returned to the golf cart parking area, and by the time we disembarked, it was a total downpour. The golf cart canopy was NOT rainproof, so I felt bad for those who were stuck on the trail without shelter. They would have been soaked coming back!

I wish we could have stayed longer, but hubby’s job demanded that we be back on Monday so he could sit in front of the computer working his graphic design magic. On the 8 hour ride back home, we stopped at as many antique places as we could manage until they closed. Here are some of my finds:

The lady ringing up my purchases took one look at this and said, “Do you teach?” Ha ha! She must understand the fixation that people like me have on old classroom supplies. I love the font used on this box. And the crayons (blackboard crayons) are GUARANTEED. Guaranteed to do what? Work?
I was on an enamelware rampage this weekend, I guess. Here is an enamelware icebox in great condition. I just had to have it.
These enamelware bowls might be reproductions instead of true vintage, but I don’t care. They were cute and the perfect size for big salads or cooking/baking prep.
I stumbled across a set of Pyrex dinner plates and knew I had to have them. Sure, I have some Correlle plates that are nearly identical to this, but the Correlle plates were purchased for one reason only: they don’t break when little kids accidentally drop them while unloading the dishwasher. I’m ready to graduate to good plates, and these Pyrex beauties fit my red vintage kitchen perfectly.

We are now home from Branson rather reluctantly, but we cannot wait to go back and spend more time exploring the area around it. Have you ever been to Branson? What was your favorite part of it?

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