Conquered the Mountains | The Williams Family Descends on Branson Missouri
What I emphasize with my coaching clients is the importance of taking time out of their schedule to getaway from the business. As a business owner, you need this for a couple of reasons. First, if you're building a business to fund your life, it should also fund living your life out to it's fullest and experiencing what the world offers. Second, taking a timeout from business gives you the space to breathe, evaluate, and make decisions that can help you in growing your business to the next level. This last week, I did this for myself, and took the family to Branson, Missouri for a week of fun. If you're looking for a family friendly adventure, Branson is a solid option.
Day 1 - The Drive
We drove to Branson from Houston, Texas, and it took approximately 11 hours including a stop for lunch and a couple of bathroom breaks. Our first stop was in Texarkana, Texas because you obviously need a picture of the kids standing between the states of Texas and Arkansas. After listening to the bickering from the kids about having their pictures taken, we headed over to Naaman's Championship BBQ for lunch. Naaman's was recently on the Texas Bucket List, and I've made it a point as of late to hit some of these hot spots. We even had the opportunity to meet the son which the restaurant was named after when he brought our food to the table. Great atmosphere, excellent BBQ.
We rolled into Branson, Missouri around 6 in the evening. The drive through the Ozark Mountains is absolutely beautiful. We checked into our room at Marriott's Willow Ridge Lodge which is an excellent location to all the activities in and around the Branson area. After quickly unpacking and hunger setting in, we headed over to Gettin' Basted for, you guessed it, more BBQ.
The burger above was ridiculous....The mOink is made with American Waygu beef, pulled pork, sharp cheddar, BBQ sauce, onionpenos, bacon, and pickles. The housemade chips complimented this artery clogger perfectly.
Logan opted for the Chicken & Waffles which was a half chicken, waffle cut sweet potato fries, real maple syrup, BBQ sauce, green onions and a side of Texas toast. Branson, MO was serving Texas toast...imagine that. Now with us all having full stomachs, it set us all up for a good nights sleep.
My wife had convinced me a few days prior to sign up for The Redneck Comedy Bus Tour. I am glad she did. Was it early? Yes. At 10:00 in the morning, we boarded a bus with a few "wanna be" rednecks and even a few card carrying rednecks and our tour guides for the morning, Joey Baby and Floyd. For the next two hours we would not stop laughing. Joke after joke after joke. Logan even became a highlight of the show. The bus toured the Branson strip and surrounding area making stops at Branson Landing for moonshine testing at Smith Creek Moonshine, or Raylene's Magnolia Ice for the kids, and an overlook with views of Branson and Table Rock Lake. Along the way both Joey Baby and Floyd shared history about some of the buildings and different performers that have graced Branson.
On our stop at Branson Landing, the kids got in a quick ride on Parakeet Pete's Waterfront Zipline. We headed from the tour to lunch at Pickin Porch Grill not knowing it was a giant store that sold crafts. The restaurant was tucked to the back of the store. I have to say my fried catfish tacos with creamy guac sauce weren't half bad.
After the settling of our food, it was a trip over to The Track Family Fun Park for some go kart racing, a trip out to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery (you can feed the trout for 25 cents), and then we ended the evening with dinner at Mellow Mushroom at Branson Landing.
The hatchery is located below the dam at Table Rock Lake.
Our daughter, Emma, highly recommends the soft pretzels with beer cheese dip at Mellow Mushroom at Branson Landing.
After sleeping in and recovering from the activities the day before, we headed north of Branson to Snowflex Branson at Wolfe Mountain Lodge. The fee is for one hour riding the mountain as many times as you want, and a moving sidewalk saved a lot of time and energy.
After an hour of tubing, we worked up a hunger and headed over to Mel's Hard Luck Diner. The waiters and waitresses rotated singing a variety of different songs. They were all really talented.
After some grub, we headed to Runaway Mountain Coaster at Branson Mountain Adventure Park. This coaster got up to over 30 mph.
After the coaster we headed to the lodge for a little bit of rest before heading back out to the one and only show we committed to for the week; Dolly Parton's Stampede Dinner Attraction. While the food is absolutely terrible, the show was classic Branson. If you go, get there early to walk around the stables. The show features horse riding, bison, longhorns, and some cheesy comedy. It is not a "woke" show, and I personally loved the display of the American flags at the end. It was impressive.
Emma and Logan at the stables prior to the show.
Dolly Parton's Stampede Dinner Attraction
The forth day was a commitment to a single activity. We took the 20 minute drive to Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City is a theme park in a beautiful mountain setting. While the kids and Laurie tackled the coasters, I enjoyed the cool mountain breezes and people watching. If you're a coaster lover, Silver Dollar City has several big ones.
The 3rd row back you can see Laurie, Logan, and Emma on the coaster Wildfire at Silver Dollar City.
Day 5 is what I refer to as our museum day. During the morning, we visited the Titanic Museum which was very interesting with many items from the actual ship. The tour was a self-paced audio tour. At the beginning of the tour, you're given the name of an actual passenger. At the end of the tour, you find out whether or not you died, and for those that survived, you actually got to see what lifeboat they escaped on, and what they did later in life. I was the only one that died.
After lunch, based on the recommendation of one of my clients, we headed out to The Lost Canyon Cave at Top of the Rock. This is located on a property owned by Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops. The tour was a self-paced, golf cart tour down into and back out of a canyon going through a cave and passes many waterfalls. It is absolutely beautiful. The kids loved this activity, and my wife and I thought this to be the most enjoyable activity during our stay in Branson.
With your tour ticket, you also get access to the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum. The museum is very interesting with an impressive collection of Native American, American West, and Civil War artifacts. When you visit, also make sure to Arnie's Barn for an Arnold Palmer. The barn actually belonged to Arnold Palmer and gifted to Johnny Morris. Also make sure you checkout the church Johnny Morris built for his daughter's wedding with views of Table Rock Lake. It is stunning!
After spending some time on this amazing property, we headed to Branson Landing for flavortown to have dinner at Guy Fieri's Branson Kitchen + Bar. We all agreed that they had the best burgers ever! Yes, ever!
Emma and Logan standing in front of the Titanic Musuem.
Replica of the original staircase aboard the Titanic.
On the trail at the Lost Canyon Cave at Top of the Rock.
Several beautiful photo opportunities along the trail. There would be places where you could pull over, park, and enjoy the scenery.
The Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum featured the head dress and war vest of Sitting Bull.
The chapel built for Johnny Morris daughter's wedding. Gorgeous views of Table Rock Lake.
One of the ponds on the course would not hold water, and after further discovery, they have found a large cave system that they are currently excavating. You can look down upon this from Arnie's Barn.
Bacon Mac n' Cheese Burger at Guy's.
The Ringer Burger at Guy's. Food coma!
Watching everyone on social media talk about how great the movie Maverick was, we couldn't wait any longer, and we headed over to Branson's IMAX Entertainment Complex. The movie lived up to the hype. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it, and it was great watching it on an IMAX screen.
The trip was starting to catch up with everyone. Our tradition on trips is to allow the kids each to get something as a souvenir as a reminder of their trip. We made a couple stops including the Five and Dime Store and Bass Pro Shop at Branson Landing. After shopping, we headed to Paula Deen's Family Kitchen for dinner. The only word to describe that meal is BUTTER.
To walk off all the butter we ingested, we played miniature golf into the night at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf.
Burning time on the phone...hey man, time to watch the movie. We all had a need for speed. Maverick was the solution.
The Branson Landing Bass Pro Shop had a really cool fish tank. Logan liked it. I could only think about how those rainbow trout would taste great in a nice butter sauce.
You better have an appetite if you're going to eat at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen. All the food is served family style. When you finish something, you simply ask for seconds. The fried chicken was perfect.
Logan and Emma Williams playing putt-putt golf. Logan won the match. It might have been a little competitive.
We all hit the wall on this day. We limited the day to grabbing brunch at Billy Gail's. This was the only restaurant that we actually had to wait for a seat for nearly 50 minutes. Everyone was there to attempt eating the 14 inch pancake, billion dollar bacon, and other comfort foods. It was worth the wait. We had dinner at Gettin' Basted (Our first and last meal for our time in Branson took place here.) After dinner, we played another round of putt-putt golf at Professor Hacker's Lost Treasure Golf. This time I won!
Early bird gets the worm. We were out the door and car packed by 7:30 am, and we made the 11 hour trip back to Houston, Texas. Branson was a whirlwind, and we created many memories to cherish in the years to come. A reminder again for my business owners, make sure you give yourself some time away from the business. I can tell you that this week, I am feeling renewed and ready to tackle each day. We all need those breaks. Make sure you take a moment to get out your schedule and make a commitment to that time. You will not regret it.
If you decide to go to Branson, hopefully you've found some things in here that you too might enjoy. I trust this helps. Here are some other trips we've taken if Branson is not your cup of tea.
Get Additional Travel Tips Here
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Author: Jeremy Williams is the Owner/CEO of Red Hawk Coaching, and #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author. For more information about coaching opportunities with Red Hawk Coaching, visit www.RedHawkCoaching.com.
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