Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Branson, Vetrans Day Weekend

Last week my brother Joshua called (he's stationed in Missouri for school with the Marines) and he was trying to figure out how to get home for his 10 day leave. They haven't told them what time his graduation is (he's ask, they haven't scheduled it??), so he doesn't know what time he can leave base to be able to catch a flight. Not to mention that the cheapest flight (with military discount) we could come up with for him is over $300 and he wouldn't be able to buy the ticket until that day or maybe the day before with the crazy lack of information. (And he'll have to fly back to Missouri to catch a flight to Japan the week of Thanksgiving and Heaven knows how much that flight will cost!)

We looked at all our options and my Dad and I decided to drive to Missouri and take him a vehicle (that his kind Staff Sergent gave him special permission for) so he can drive home after graduation and give a few of his fellow Texans a lift home. I called Lauren and told her I couldn't make it to craft day :( and we packed our stuff and headed to see bubba!

I was in Saint Louis when I was in high school but that was really my only experience with Missouri. I loved Branson! We didn't go to any shows because Little Miss Coralie can't sit still and be quiet to save her life... but we enjoyed our time together and taking in the area! Which, if you haven't ever been - is beautiful!!

On Saturday after picking Joshua up from base, we checked out the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield. This Bass Pro is huge! We quickly discovered we didn't have the time the store deserved to dedicate to the stop that evening and made plans to return the next day.

Sunday we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast we headed off to a resort in Branson that was hosting the Vietnam War Wall Monument that travels all over the country. When I was really young I vaguely remember my mom taking us to see this on a rainy day in a neighboring town. I knew it wouldn't be a long stop, none of us knew any names to look for on the wall but we wanted to see the Monument.

After visiting the Monument we headed back to Springfield to spend the better part of the day at the Bass Pro Shop. We had a good time! We were there for about an hour before Cora and I went inside, she had fallen asleep and I didn't dare wake her up to just go inside, so we both took a nap in the van for a little bit.

After Bass Pro it was dinner time and we were hungry! We'd heard great things about Lamberts in Ozark (between Springfield and Branson) so we braved the line (we waited 40 minutes, a short wait by all accounts) and we're so glad we did! Their food was delicious and it was a fun experience for all of us. Lamberts is the home of the "throwed rolls" they throw rolls across the restraunt to serve them and there are rotating servers who bring around delicous sides to serve on paper towels at the table in addition to your meal and it's sides (fried okra, macaroni and tomatoes, potatoes and onions...). It was all so good! We took more than half our food home and worked on finishing it the next day.

Monday was the last day of warm weather and our last full day in Branson. We kicked off the day with a visit to the Fish Hatchery in Branson. I think Joshua got a bigger kick out of feeding the trout than Cora did! I learned more about spawning trout than I ever cared to know... it doesn't work like you breed catfish if you're wondering. :)
My father also got a lot of giggles out of telling people who were asking about Josh, Cora and I that both Josh and I are his children. They of course assumed we were married. *eye roll*

After the hatchery we went over to College of the Ozarks. This College doesn't charge tuition to it's students, they are dubbed "Hard work U" because they require all their students to earn their education working on campus. We'd heard there was a tour of a working mill and that they had a delicious restaurant that the students served farm to table food produced on campus. We didn't eat on campus, we weren't hungry and knew we had a ton of food back at the hotel. We poked around at the restraunt/gift shop/lodge and then went to see the Mill. The students weren't working it when we were there, but it was still fun to look around.

We enjoyed lunch back at the hotel of our Lamberts leftovers and then Cora and I took another nap while Dad & Josh went to see a Car Museum (that they were disappointed in ): ).

That night we went to dinner at Cantina Loradeo in Branson Landing, a nice outlet mall shopping center in town. We were seated next to a nice couple with a little boy a few weeks older than Cora. We started talking about the kids and then it was revealed that the husband served as a Marine years ago. Well, it just so happened to be the Marine Corps Birthday & it's a big deal for Marines. The guys continued to visit throughout the meal and really hit it off, as they were leaving the kind gentlemen mentioned something about enjoying our dessert. I just figured he was assuming we would have dessert? Nope, he ordered Joshua a delicious Mexican Brownie for the Corps Birthday and picked up our dinner ticket. It was such a nice gesture from one Marine to another, and of course he and Josh exchanged information & I believe they've been in contact since then.

After dinner we were watching the water fountain (in the cold...) and heard that a big water/fire show should be starting shortly. We were so pleased we stayed to see it! Cora loved watching the display and it was a great ending to such a wonderful trip!

Tuesday (Veterans Day) we headed home, via a 4 hour detour taking Josh back on base. It was a loonnnggg drive home, particularly with a one year old in tow. It helped that my Dad and I could take turns driving back since we'd left one car with Joshua on base. It did not help that throughout the whole trip and on the way home too, I had a bad bit of motion sickness.

I'm so glad we made the trip! It was a fun time for all of us and in a year or two while Josh is serving overseas I'm sure we'll look back on this time fondly!

To see reviews of all the places we went in Branson (and our other trips too), check out my Trip Advisor profile! Trip Advisor is my favorite go to travel site for reviews and suggestions!

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