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Branson Leap Day Tornado

  
  
  
  

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Pointe Royale Properties, Inc.

Early this morning, a tornado tore through the heart of Ozark Mountain Country, leaving several families homeless, several people injured, and several questions looming. 

Photo from KOMC

1.  Is Branson Open for Business?  First of all, and this is very important, Branson is still open, still ready to entertain.  I recall the national news from the flooding in years past leaving the impression that Branson was under water, and to stay away.  That wasn't true then, and it isn't true now.  We're Open!  The vast majority of Branson's entertainment venues, shopping centers, and eateries were untouched by the tornado.  And your tourism dollars will aid greatly in getting this town back to full strength.

2.  What Was Damaged?  Several homes, businesses, and a few of the theatres.  The most important of these damages is the damage to the homes.  Families have lost everything, businesses have lost everything.  But no life was lost in the Branson area.  There were between 30 and 40 injuries, mostly minor.  That is such a blessing!  The homes and businesses can and will be re-built.  The theatres that sustained substantial damage are the Branson Variety Theatre, Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theatre, and the Americana Theatre.  And those are not total losses, and should be re-openning this year, hopefully by the summer.  Also, the Veteran's Museum and the Branson Auto Museum sustained damage, as did several other businesses.  For a more complete list of properties damaged by the tornado, Click Here.  The path of the storm stayed, for the most part, on 76 Country Boulevard, or within a block or so to the north or south as it leapt around town.  There was also damage at the Hilton Convention Center and other nearby businesses at the Branson Landing.  The path of the storm was very narrow, but very long, about 20 miles total and about 7 miles of that right through Branson......long enough to go from the west end of town clear to the east. 

3.  How Can I Help?  The authorities are asking that volunteers not "self deploy."  So, don't just show up.  One way to offer your assistance is by going to the website set up for just this purpose:  http://www.volunteerbranson.org/.  SEMA and local officials will be announcing other ways to help in the days ahead, likely through local churches and the Red Cross.

4.  When Can I Come Back to Branson?  The short answer is, as soon as you want to, as most of Branson is undamaged.  There is debris on the road in some places, but city officials expect that to be gone in 1 or 2 days.  Seriously.  This town is tough, and this town is together.  We are gonna pull together and get this thing done!  So, please, don't hesitate to visit our lovely city.  We'll have a bit of construction mess on 76 for a bit.........but we'll have it back better than ever before you can believe! 

God Bless!

Branson Variety DamageLegends Sign @ Dick Clark Theatre

Branson Auto Museum Damage resized 600

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Christmas in Branson | Ozark Mountain Christmas

  
  
  
  

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When I first moved to Branson nearly 9 years ago, I was so stunned by the abruptness of the switch from Fall to Christmas in Branson.  Literally, one day you've got jack-o-lanterns & skeletons decorating your home or business, and the next day you've replaced them with Jesus in a manger, wise men, Santa and reindeer.  I'm accustomed to it now, but it sure was a shock to the system that first year.  Nine years later, I mostly look forward to the early Christmas season.  Branson is always friendly, but the early Christmas season here just means Branson's Christmas cheer spreads all the farther, and shines all the brighter.  
Miracle of Christmas

Here's a list of some of Branson's Must See Shows, and some Hidden Gems, as well.  Please note that, were it not for Andy Williams sudden announcement that he'll miss this Christmas season to undergoe treatment for bladder cancer, The Andy Williams Christmas Show would be First, Second, and Third on this list.  Andy Williams is, in large part, why there is such a thriving Christmas Season in Branson.  Thank you, Andy.  And God bless you in your battle against cancer.  We're praying for you!

Must See:
1.  Silver Dollar City, An Old Time Christmas.

     With over 4 Million lights decorating the park, a wide variety of Christmas music shows, Christmas Carolers, a 5 story Christmas tree light & music display, the Gifts of Christmas Parade----which the kids will absolutely LOVE, and SDC's wonderful production of A Dickens Christmas Carol, it is an absolute must see.

2.  Tony Orlando's Great American Christmas.
     Tony Orlando is another Branson Christmas institution.  Tony sings all your holiday favorites, and mixes in his timeless hits, as well.

3.  Gatlin Brothers with Debby Boone.
     Start with the sweet as honey voice and personality that is Debby Boone, add 3 legendary country music brothers, the Gatlins, mix together with tight harmonies and Christmas spirit, and you end up with a show that is quickly becoming a Branson staple. 

4.  SIX.
     If you've never heard the a capella magic that is these 6 brothers, then you absolutely must get to Branson this Christmas season.  You won't believe your ears as six unaccompanied voices blow your mind with amazing harmonies, vocalized percussion, and showmanship.  Throw in the fact that these guys are hilarious, and you've got yourself a Branson must see show. 

5.  Miracle of Christmas.
     The Sight and Sound Theatre hosts this amazing musical about the birth of Jesus.  With elaborate scenery and Broadway quality actors/singers, there's nothing quite like it in Branson.

6.  Andy Williams Christmas Variety Show.
    
Even in his absence, Andy has left a great Christmas present for Branson's Christmas visitors.  It's an elaborate, engaging, and endearing variety show featuring the Lennon Sisters, the Oh! What a Night quartet, the Warnocks, Pasha and Alonia--adagio dancers and quick change artists, Mike Cathcart, Dean Church, and Bob Anderson.  Andy produced this show himself, and you'll be glad you went to Moon River this Christmas.

7. Christmas on the Trail, at Shepherd of the Hills.
     The Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills is absolutely spectacular.  Quoting their website, "2-1/2 mile display of lights, sound, and motion, you'll see millions of multi-colored Christmas lights and themed, animated displays, winding its way through the 160-acre Shepherd of the Hills Homestead."  The kids will love it, the adults will love it, it'll be a great Chrismas memory for everyone.

Hidden Christmas Gems:  These are some wonderful Christmas shows that you may not be as familiar with.......but you should be.  They're great, too.
1.  Hamner Barber, Wings of Christmas.
    
Magic, music, comedy, illusion, and a stunning winged finale make you glad you celebrated the Christmas season with the Hamners, and the Barbers.

2.  A Christmas Snow, at Starlight Theatre.
    
This stage production adapted from the popular movie stars Muse Watson and Catherine Mary Stewart, reprising their roles from the film.  Heartwarming and beautiful, everyone I've talked to has loved it.

3.  Brule, American Indian Christmas.
     You've truly never experienced anything quite like the rhythmic beauty of this show.  If you'd like a change of pace from the Christmas Standards, this is your show.

4.  The Allen Family, Simply Christmas.
    
This family of 10 is sure to win your heart as they pour out theirs.  This is a celebration of faith, family, and the wonderful love surrounding the season.

5.  Tillis Family Christmas.
     Mel Tillis is another Branson institution.  Through November 17th, he'll be sharing the stage with his daughter, Carrie April, in a family musical event full of tradition and toe-tapping. 

I'm sure you'll enjoy any of these great shows/attractions.  There's always so many choices here in Branson!  Merry Christmas, everybody!

"And God bless us, every one." Tiny Tim 
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Branson, Beyond the Music

  
  
  
  

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Branson is the live music capitol of the world.  But, have you ever wondered what else there is to do in Branson, besides just the music?  Or, might I say, Beyond the Music?  If so, then you’re in the right place.  Branson is music and much, much more.  Join me below, as we travel on our 1st ever tour of Branson, Beyond the Music.

2 17 2008 053 resized 600

The first stop on our Branson, Beyond the Music tour is the Branson area’s assortment of lakes: Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, and Lake Taneycomo.  Before the construction of the area dams, these three lakes, and others, used to form much of the old White River.  Each lake is different, and offers it’s own claim to fame.  One might describe the 3 lakes this way:  Table Rock Lake is great for boating, and also fishing, while Bull Shoals and Taneycomo are great for fishing, and also boating.   The depth and size of Table Rock Lake make it well suited for larger boat traffic than Bull Shoals or Taneycomo.  Bull Shoals is great for bass fishing, and the cold waters of Taneycomo make it perfect for championship trout fishing.  So, whether you’re into fishing or boating, there’s something here for you.  In addition to fishing and boating, Table Rock Lake features a great beach, Moonshine Beach, for swimming, splashing, sunning, and general summertime fun.

The next stop on our Branson, Beyond the Music tour is Silver Dollar City theme park.  If you’ve never been to this 1800’s American frontier themed park, then it’s a definite must see.  There are awesome rides, roller coasters, and authentic American craftsmen at work on everything from glass blowing to candles to furniture to ironworks to quilts to pottery to……well, just about anything they needed on the American frontier.  (They do have several music shows, also.  But, as this is Branson, Beyond the Music, forget I mentioned that.)

Stop number three on our tour without tunes is a stop to shop.  Branson has lots of shopping, with everything from quaint, local shops that have been here for 50 years (Dick’s 5 & 10) to our selection of outlet malls (Factory Merchants & Tanger) to the downtown lakeside Branson Landing area.

Next up on our Branson, Beyond the Music tour is a walk through the Ozark Hills at one of our local hiking trails.  The trails are diverse, some challenging, some leisurely, some paved, some very primitive. So there’s something for every level of hiker.  There’s lots of great scenery and wildlife to be appreciated along the way. (See my previous blog on Branson area hiking trails.)

Pointe Royale 12th Hole

If we're talking about Branson, Beyond the Music, we definitely have to talk about golf.  With a such a variety of great golf courses, Branson has become very much a great golf getaway.

It can get a tad dark on our next stop, as we enjoy one of the area caves.  Talking Rocks Cavern is over in Branson West, and well worth the short drive.  And Marvel Cave is the attraction that started Silver Dollar City to begin with.

Somewhat new to the Branson area are the Ziplines.  There are 4 local Zipline companies, with a full array of Zipline choices, from short trips to 1 ½ long adventures. (See Art’s previous blog on Branson Ziplines.)

To be honest, that’s just the tip of the iceberg (Titanic Museum) of all the Branson, Beyond the Music activities to choose from.  And it may be odd (Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium) that I would leave off there.  But if I don’t stop now, I may tend to wax nostalgic (Hollywood Wax Museum) about all there is to do here in Branson, Beyond the Music.

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Springtime in Branson

  
  
  
  

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Well, spring has officially sprung here in Branson.  The Ozark hills are flush with verdant new life, and the return of that bright green beauty that only spring can boast.  Summer is lovely, too. Don't get me wrong.  But by summer, the leaves of the primarily oaken forests are a deep, rich green, blending in with the deep green of the evergreens.  But in spring, the leaves are bright green, contrasting in a patchwork quilt of deep, dark, light, & bright greens. It's a beauty that only appears this time of year.

Spring Flowers

(photo by Aunt Owwee)

There is so much going on in this year's Ozark Mountain Spring.  From World Fest and Bluegrass & BBQ at Silver Dollar City, to the FLW Bass Fishing Tournament featured on ESPN, the spring is loaded to the gills with fun & festivities.  Here are some of the highlights:

April 7-May 8, Worldfest @ Silver Dollar City
April 28-30, Hand in Hand, Branson Honors Purple Heart Recipients
  April 29-30, Missouri Food & Wine Festival
May 12-30, Bluegrass & BBQ @ Silver Dollar City
May 19-22, 10th Annual Branson Motorcycle Rally
May 20-22, Plumb Nellie Days
May 21st, "Branson Doesn't Forget" Armed Services Appreciation Show
May 28, BBQ and Big Smith Show
May 28-31, Memorial Day Sidewalk Sale
May 30, Memorial Day Rememberances

And those are just a few of the Spring activities.  Gonna be lots of fun, lots of music, lots of BBQ, lots of good times!  Click HERE for a full listing of Ozark Mountain Spring events.

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Dinner Cruise aboard the ShowBoat Branson Belle

  
  
  
  

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Pointe Royale Properties, Inc.

Showboat Branson Belle The beautiful Showboat Branson Belle has been gliding across the waters of Table Rock Lake for the past 15 years providing its many guests great food, wonderful entertainment and a step back in time when riverboats steamed the great rivers of our fabulous country.  The 2011 season is now under way with a new show and a new menu.  It was our pleasure to cruise the Branson Belle last evening and sample this exciting new show ENCORE. 

Our sailing was scheduled for 4pm and things got under way promptly.  Mr. Christopher James was our master of ceremonies. Christopher is an energetic young man as well as an accomplished magician.  As dinner is being served "The Rockin Dockers", a five piece ensemble provided a musical backdrop for our dinning pleasure.  Our service was the best, Valerie our server, was ever present to assist and insure our meal needs were completely satisfied.  A short intermission interlude after dinner allowed us to the enjoy the outside decks of the Branson Belle.  As we explored the ship this gave us the opportunity to enjoy the Ozarks and beauty of our surroundings as we gently skimmed across the normally serene waters of crystal clear Table Rock Lake. 

It's show time!  The new show ENCORE introduced us to the Showmen, six young men blending their voices in great harmony.  We were treated to a montage of musical hits performed by many of our favorite male groups. 

The real star of ENCORE is Ms. Janice Martin.  Her credentials include performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City and having studied at the world renown Juilliard School of Music.  There is no question, this is one multi-talented performer.  Ms. Martin was fabulous!  The Showboat Branson Belle has hit a home run with this show.  Make certain you include the Branson Belle on your itinerary this year.  We plan to see her performance again, soon.  You should too!  We can plan your next cruise experience on the Showboat Branson Belle, give us a call.

The Paddle Wheel Room is a private dinning room with seating for up to 40 guests.  Located at the rear on the 2nd deck its large picture windows provide a picturesque view of the massive churning paddle wheels and the spectacular scenery of Table Rock Lake in her wake.   Special mezzanine level center stage seating is reserved for all Paddle Wheel guests, perfect seats to take in a great show.  To complete your dinning experience a special menu is included with your Paddle Wheel Room reservation.

Making reservations with us at Pointe Royale Condominium Resort & Golf Course is quick and easy, simply click the on-line reservation link or call us directly at 800-962-4710.

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Andy Williams Moon River Grill in Branson, MO

  
  
  
  

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Opening night anywhere is an exciting event.  Whatever the business; opening night has to be definitely a pressure evening.  You want everything to be just right.  For those of us that live and work in a seasonal community opening night brings high hopes for a great new season.  I'm certain all the staff and management were equally excited last Friday night at Andy Williams Moon River Grill as they entered the 2011 season. 

Friday March 4, was my wife’s birthday and the Moon River Grill was her choice to enjoy her birthday dinner out.  The dress required like all of Branson is resort casual.  We were greeted with a very warm welcome from the hostess and all the staff members.  In the coming months I recommend that you make reservations.  The walls are covered with pictures of Andy with celebrates that he has meet and performed with on his TV show.   It was a treat to look at all the pictures. 

We were seated in the Atrium; it has a nice view of a waterfall and garden just outside.  The background music was live and he played throughout the time we were there.   Andy has some specialties on his menu that you don’t find everywhere.   The Chicken Pot Pie and Meatloaf are his mothers own recipe.  My wife’s choice was the Macaroni Cheese topped with Blackened Chicken Breast, and mine was the Marinated Bourbon Salmon.  The Macaroni Cheese is made with Gouda cheese. Wow!   It was so smooth, rich and creamy, the best we have ever tasted.  The Bourbon Salmon is marinated for 48 hours before preparation.  This salmon was delicious; we made two excellent choices for dinner.  Alyssa our served; made certain everything was just right. 

We enjoyed celebrating my wife’s birthday that evening at the Moon River Grill; we look forward to returning very soon.  The food, service and the atmosphere was just right.  If the Macaroni Cheese or the Salmon is not what you would order, the menu has much more to offer.  Try a full one pound burger; it is available with a smothering of cheese and toppings.  Happy hour is until 6pm.  Relax and unwind at Andy’s Moon River Grill in Branson, MO it’s just a short walk from the Moon River Theater.  Take in a show and dinner. 

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Opening Night in Branson Dixie Stampede Style

  
  
  
  

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The 2011 Branson Show Season has now officially opened! 

A near capacity crowd was on hand last Friday evening fDixie Stampedeor the opening performance of the Dixie Stampede

We have been to many performances at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and have enjoyed them all.  This past Friday we were fortunate to attend this opening performance with our 2 yr granddaughter, Riley. 

She was all dressed up for this special opening event.  Riley was really excited to be going to the Dixie Stampede.  On the short drive to the theater she kept repeating Dixie Stampede, Dixie Stampede, Dixie Stampede.  From the parking area to the lobby you must pass all the horse stalls.  Many of the horses were in the stalls ready to perform and as we passed each stall she would call out horsey, horsey, big horsey. She was excited, to say the least.

This was going to be really something different for us to watch the excitement and enthusiasm of a 2yr old enjoy the show.  She clapped, tried to stomp her feet and danced to the music through out the performance. 

You bring your own utensils; your fingers.  So it’s just right for a two year old.  She had plenty to eat and with the help of a horsey bag we had some left over’s the next day. 

The show has lots of action from start to finish, never a dull moment.  Lots of changes have been made from the previous years show, adding to the fun.  At the conclusion we were able to approach one of the riders as she postioned her horse along side the arena and she allowed us to pet her horse Gator.  What a treat for any child.  

Dixie Stampede is a show for all ages, it is a family show.  As I looked around the area that night everyone young and old was having such a great time.  For us, it was a super evening as we enjoyed The Dixie Stampede through the eyes of our granddaughter. 

A trip to Branson is not complete without The Dixie Stampede as part of your itinerary.  You might just find that 2yr old inside you having a wonderful time.  We can help plan your trip to Branson, Pointe Royale and the Dixie Stampede.

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March Madness......Branson Style.

  
  
  
  

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2011 NAIA CHAMPIONSHIP

March Madness.  The Big Dance.  Cinderella at the Ball.  David vs Goliath, for all the marbles.  We are all familiar with the NCAA Tournament and Final Four each spring.  With the exception of the World Series, March Madness is my personal favorite sporting event.  But that isn’t the only Mad March.  Right here in Branson, MO, each & every spring, the March gets excitingly and exceedingly Mad, as well.  To be completely accurate, the epicenter of the Madness is College of the Ozarks, at Point Lookout, MO, just a few miles south of Branson.  Each March, the best teams in NAIA’s Division II converge on the Keeter Gymnasium on the Campus of College of the Ozarks for the Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournament.  This year’s tournament is slated for March 9-15, and should be especially magical, as it’s the 20th such tournament.  College of the Ozarks has played host to the tournament each year since 2000. 

Obviously, the families, friends, and fans of the participant teams make up a large portion of the crowd.  (And here at Pointe Royale, we offer a Spring Special that attendees can take advantage of.)  But the tournament has become a real Branson event, too.  The locals crowd into the Keeter Gymnasium to enjoy some fantastic basketball in an exciting college championship atmosphere.  Rest assured, great basketball competition can be found at all levels.  And this is the pinnacle of such competition in NAIA Division II.  The teams are both talented and well coached, and are great examples of true student athletes.  This year’s Championship Game will be nationally televised at 9pm on CBS College Sports.  So let’s get out and enjoy some great college hoops!

Click here for a complete list of times and ticket info.

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Montana Mike's for Lunch | Pointe Royale Blog

  
  
  
  

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Lunch at Montana Mike’s

My Dad had some business that brought him to our fair city today.  And whenever he’s in town, we like to have lunch or dinner together.  So we met today for lunch at Montana Mike’s on hwy 248.  We’ve eaten there many times, and I’ve eaten there many times without him.  It’s one of my favorite places to eat in Branson. 

That said, I’m on the Atkins Diet, all low carb foods.  I’ve really not been out to eat since I started the diet a few weeks ago.  (I did go out one other time, and had a burger without the bun.  It wasn’t very fulfilling.)  I sat down with my menu, knowing that my typical orders, their awesome Hickory Burger or the Chicken Fried Steak, were not on my diet.  So I needed to try something new.  I settled on the Steak and Shrimp combo, with Grilled rather than Fried Shrimp.  It comes with a 9 oz sirloin steak and 10 skewered shrimp, with a very tasty buttery-cajun seasoning.  Now, I love a good steak.  So I wasn’t surprised when it was very good.  But the Shrimp was fantastic.  I don’t usually care much for seafood; but this Shrimp was great.   They had several choices for people like me, who are on a low carb diet, as well as the richer foods that I’ve enjoyed so much in the past.

One thing they do at Montana Mike’s, is to have you cut your steak when it arrives, just to be sure it is cooked to your liking.  I appreciated that.  If there’s a problem, they can take care of it right away.  Good customer service.  Arlene was our server, and she did a great job, as usual, taking care of us, especially keeping our iced tea glasses filled.  I appreciated that, too.

If you’ve never been there, the décor is pretty consistent with the restaurant’s name:  lots of animal pelts, fishing gear, and rugged looking, outdoorsman memorabilia.  It’s got lots of seating, so I’ve never had to wait very long for a table.  There are 2 Montana Mike’s in Branson: the one we dined at today, and one on hwy 76, which is closed now for re-model.  If you like good food, good portions, and good service; then stop in at Montana Mike’s.

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Branson & the Old West | Western & Cowboy Music & Heritage

  
  
  
  

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Riders of the Circle B

Branson is the “Live Music Capitol of the World.”  And much of Branson’s music reputation is built on Country & Western music.  It’s easy to find the Country.  It’s nearly everywhere.  But where do you turn when you are really only looking for the Western of the Country & Western?  You know…….good old Cowboy culture:  six guns, trusty steeds, ten gallon hats, tumbleweeds, and tight harmonies. Well, look no further.  Here are 5 great Branson shows that truly bring honest, rugged, tumbleweeds-dancing-down-the-dusty-street Western music and culture to life right here in Branson.

  1. Sons of the Pioneers.  This pillar of the Western music world has been weaving tight harmonies and tales (some taller than others) of the Old West for 75 years and counting.  Their classic renditions of “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds,” “Cool Water,” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” are landmarks in the history of American music.  They perform at Shepherd of the Hills, with a tantalizing Chuck Wagon Dinner show.
  2. Circle B Supper Show.  Speaking of great Chuck Wagon Dinner shows, the Riders of the Circle B serve up a great dinner and even greater evening of entertainment.  Before the show, you’ll enjoy popcorn and Old Western movies & TV shows.  Then, this hilarious family serves up a great meal, all from scratch, and performs some fantastic Cowboy, & Cowgirl, music.  I’ve seen the show twice, myself; and had a great time at each performance.  You’ll love the intimate setting, and the music!
  3. Roy Rogers Jr Show.  Following in the footsteps of his legendary father, Roy Rogers Jr takes you back to those classic western moments with great music, comedy, and nostalgia.  Joined by his son, Dustin, and backed by the High Riders Band, you’ll understand why Roy Rogers Jr was named 2009 and 2010 Western Artist of the Year by FAME.  (Families Advocating Moral Entertainment)
  4. Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama.  One of the best selling American novels of all time,  Harold Bell Wright’s classic, “The Shepherd of the Hills,”  is brought to life nightly at the historic outdoor Old Mill Theatre.  Not exactly full of music, but this tale of mountain folklore and plain old mountain folk is a must see.
  5. Silver Dollar City’s “Headin’ West.  As you likely already know, Silver Dollar City is full to overflowing with 1880's music, craftsmanship, and lore, with a variety of music shows, the saloon show, and many, many more.  But you may not know of the acclaimed musical “Headin’ West.”  It was produced specially for Silver Dollar City, and features great music, special effects, and ultra-talented performers. 

Now, after all that Western fun and fare, you’ll likely want to take a great Western photo of your own cowboy crew.  You may want to give “Saloon Photos” & “Mo’s Old Time Photos” a try.   Each is located right on 76 Country Boulevard, and a trip to either will give you a period photo keepsake to commemorate your Branson Old West Adventure.

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