What happens in Branson…stays in Branson. Mostly.

Once upon a time…there were 3 little cousins, who used to play with Barbie’s at Mammaw’s. And then they grew up! They had 9 kids between them …. and so they decided it was time for a break.


Take 1!    “Girls Gone Wild: Branson Edition!”

My two cousins and I grew up very close. We come from a very tight-knit family and we have that special “bond.” No need in trying to explain that. If you have “it,” you know what I mean. If you do not, I feel sorry for you. Come hang out with my family. Even though we lived a couple of hours apart either direction, it never stopped us from meeting one another for a play-date at our mammaw’s or spending the summer with one another.

Eventually we traded in Ken for real husbands, and our dolly’s for real-live children. I do see one of my cousins regularly, but our other cousin is too far away now and well…life just seems to get in the way.

We met up this summer for a cousins reunion and decided it was high-time for the 3 of us to get together for a girls weekend! Could we really pull it off? Could we schedule our families, our jobs, school, cooking…house-cleaning…………laundry…………………….feeding the dogs/cat/guinea pig/turtles/birds……………………..?? It did not seem possible, so we designated our more “responsible” cousin to do the leg-work. To force us to plan and then actually carry it out. And so she did.

On Friday we were scheduled to meet in Branson. Why did we choose Branson over a “real” destination? Well , for starters, we only had a weekend. And it is close. And..we LOVE, LOVE to shop. And Branson has shopping. Plenty at that! So my cousin and I who live close together drove there and met “responsible” cousin.

But…we barely made it. First we seen Paris Hilton working at the toll booth…. and then on the way there we were invaded by aliens and plagued by a swarm of  bugs. I lie not.  Just take my word for it…because I just cannot speak of it. It’s an “alien” thing. Out of body experience…Twilight Zone saga…. and see…now you already think I am cuckoo ca choo…. so NO MORE DETAILS!!! Thank you for understanding………….maybe one day I will tell…. NAH.

Ok, so we arrived. The hotel was hmmmmmmmmmmmm…. how do I say this….not exactly the way I had remembered it when I had stayed there 10 years prior. There was one thing the same. Their clothes. And the same people. With still…the same clothes. Pioneer dresses..washed out pantaloons. Pioneer dresses in a Victorian Inn…………Alrighty then.

The room was not bad. Small, yet cozy. And clean. We could deal…right?? And so we got settled in. “Responsible” cousin had not yet arrived and so we decided to do a little shopping at the least popular outlet mall. We had two stores we wanted to go in to waste time until she arrived. On the way down we noticed a group from the class of 1950 celebrating their class reunion. And a big tray of cookies and drinks. We wanted a cookie. OK, I didn’t…but “irresponsible” cousin insisted. “Get me a cookie!” NO! I’m scared that washed out, complimentary breakfast, pioneer woman is going to yell at me! Maybe they are only for the class of 1950! And so off we went. Cookieless. Void of sugar. Running on nothing but pure adrenaline. After all, we were in “Branson!” Who wouldn’t be excited?!?

We shopped until “responsible” cousin called “irresponsible cousins” and said she had made it to the hotel. We came back and once again…spotted the “cookies.”   Since they had a lid on them…I was extra scared to get them because it was going to draw attention..the opening and closing of the lid and all…so….my cousin said she would distract “Victorian/Pioneer” lady whilst I made the heist. It went off without a hitch and we flew up the elevator in anticipation of our next adventure.

“Responsible” cousin was almost as excited to see us as she was that we had brought her a treat. We were all starving and so we decided to go work out in the hotel gym go out to eat of course! I had spotted a sushi place on the way in and no one made any bones about that as our choice of eats for the evening! So we “Jezebelled” ourselves up and made our way to “Wasabi.” We were a bit afraid when we walked in. A lot of open tables…no waiting. Would this be a mistake? Let me answer that for you in one word. Ummm…NO.  Let me just say that this was hands down , right up there with one of the top of the top, premium, to-die-for meals any of us had ever had. The food was INCREDIBLE.  “But why was the restaurant virtually empty?” And then I had a “lightbulb” moment. This was Branson. Where old people come. Enough said.

 I forgot to take a photo of the Miso soup and salad but you can see the sushi. It was “as pure as the driven snow.” (← Thanks be to Shakespeare!)

Royally gorged (hee hee……….) we sparked out for “Branson Landing” on Lake Taneycomo for some waterfront shopping. The weather was outrageously perfect and we were thrilled to be “free.”  Shop after shop….we were drawn towards the jewelry and accessories mostly. We also were looking for souvenirs for our kids. The problem with that is when you have four kids it gets tricky. Because….when you find one thing for someone, then you have to make sure and equal it out with the other kids so as not to throw off your “ratio.” So then you think you have it all squared away when you find something else that you cannot pass up for someone, well…then it starts the whole process over…and so 4 gifts turned into 12 gifts….

By this time after having been abducted by aliens earlier, we were drained. But we found one store that stayed open later than the rest. We went in with the intent of going to the bathroom and ended up them having to throw us out after the doors were shut. My cousins made absolute spectacles of themselves laughing while I had managed to restrain myself the entire time…. The shame of it all! I forgave them for being “disorderly” and we moved on. While we were in the store I had made a bet that they could not “guess who the outfit I picked out looked like” game we always play….but they did. On the first try. And so I had to buy Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream for them as I had lost. It was crazy good.

We were fat and happy and we went back to the hotel. Victorian/Pioneer hotel had a bonus. The hot tub/indoor swimming pool stayed open until midnight! Please other fine establishments such as this one…get a clue…don’t close at 10! That is insulting and maddening. Agreed?? So hot-tubbin away we went. On the way down…we passed the “cookie” table….. and I noticed a sign that read, “Tea time 2-4.” Well that would have been nice to know before we had panic attacks, distracted pseudo, pioneer people and snuck cookies!!

Ok, I’m just going to say it. Some Yankees were in the hot tub. They heard our “accents” and moved on rather quickly while muttering something about…“You all must be from the South..” FYI…it’s “YALL!”

Settled in bed after sneaking past the Pioneer/Victorian/desk keeper in the towels we were not supposed to take from the pool room…we snored. And then we got really hot. And woke up. At least 7 times. Turned the air down to 65. Snored. Woke up sweating. Stopped up, congested and swollen from massive amounts of soy sauce mixed with hot,  non-working A/C.

After dumping 1/2 of the container of “non-dairy creamer” in my coffee, we had a nice breakfast of biscuits and gravy in the “complimentary breakfast” area and went to complain about our smoldering room. Well, I did. Because my cousin was chicken…

Someone would be up right away. So we hurriedly got dressed and let maintenance in. He pushed like one button and it fired up, got cold and we silently cursed ourselves.

What would be on the agenda today? Funny…we never mentioned going to a famous show, nary a talk of Silver Dollar City…we just had an unspoken rule. We were going shopping. At the outlet mall. All the day long and NO-ONE was going to stop us.  And shop we did. We broke for lunch. And went back. And shopped we did again. And broke for dinner. By this time I was feeling pretty good about life so I decided to venture out and sport some wedge heels. After all, there is nothing more pleasing to the eye than elongating a normally short, stubby leg with the illusion of a tall heel. I was scared..because we were going back to the “Landing”and I did not want to regret it. Eariler in the day I tried to convince my cousins to let me buy some Isotoner slippers to wear out there…because frankly…my dogs were barkin’ and I could only visualize comfort at this point. But they were being mean and said “NO.” So I opted for cute. And thank goodness, it ended up working out. That was a first. But then again, the entire experience had already been a first. Beautiful weather, no traffic, only one text from kids had come in stating “It feels like there is a bug in my ear“……and so far..no bad food.

Our destination was “Cantina Laredo:” Home of the“we make your guacamole table-side.” Bring it on. And so they did.

It was late, and again, we found one more store that stayed open later. Again, we stayed until they threw us out after trying on masks that made us pee our pants.


Back to the hotel, back to the hot tub, back to bed. This time with the A/C going full-tilt boogie. Exhaustion had eluded us. I was awakened the final morning by text after text rolling in… “Happy Mother’s Day!” My friends and my kids loved me. My cousins were still asleep, I got ready for breakfast, set my alarm beside my “non-morning person” cousin’s ear and set it as loud as it would go to laughing babies. It didn’t go over too well. Good thing for Otter Boxes….

Looking forward to my complimentary biscuits and gravy , we set off for breakfast. But something was amiss. Somehow…between the morning before and this morning…the biscuits had become petrified. Hard as rocks. Not unlike that of a hockey puck. And the muffins were frozen solid. At least mine and my other “irresponsible” cousins was. “Responsible” cousin claimed hers was warm. That’s about par.

And so in not letting “Cranky, Victorian/Pioneer complimentary breakfast lady” get one over on me…I designed my own gourmet breakfast. I had overcome what could have been the start to a really bad day.



After that…you guessed it. We went shopping. Again. We had last-minute gifts and regrets we had not picked up the day prior. And I was in search of a chocolatier. I wanted something sweet for my “Big Injun Man.” He had kept our kids plus 3 more over the weekend. 7 in total. He had given me plenty of spending money and told me to go and have fun. We went for lunch at a place we had kept passing , the gigantic chicken out front had screamed “We have fried green tomatoes!”  for long enough. We succumbed. And boy…was it worth it.


Fried Green Tomatoes.


I found my Chocolatier. The original candy store in downtown . The original owners. They look like they need to retire. A quaint little, charming store. Original in its own right. There is a sign on the outside that drew us in. “A foot of chocolate for .99¢. It was a foot all right. A mold of a persons “foot.” On a sucker stick. Too cute. And the “turtle” chocolate candy I got there was wonderful.

Good shopping, great food, and glorious cousins. I could not have asked for more.  🙂

Take 2!    “Girls Gone Wild: Branson Edition!”

Some things are just better left un-said.





Tags: , , , ,

Categories: childhood, family, food, funny, people, travel


I am Rachel. I have a skewed sense of reality and I like to live through my imagination. Unfortuntely, that has taken me down some rocky roads and I am here to share some snippets of what happens when a girl has a mind of her own.

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7 Comments on “What happens in Branson…stays in Branson. Mostly.”

  1. May 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Sounds like you had an excellent time!

  2. Laura Rutledge
    May 11, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I wish I had a cousin or two like you Simple pleasures

    • May 11, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      Yes, simple it is. We only require one anothers company for fun 🙂

  3. lifewith4cats
    May 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Lots of yummy food pics. I want some banana peanut butter bagels too.

  4. May 12, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Sounds like a heap of fun was had by all!

  5. May 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Great post! Sounds like you girls did some damage in Branson.

  6. Sharon McElwrath
    May 12, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    You should have gone to the lake, best part of Branson!! Used to live a half an hour away from there, definitely miss the lake, now I’m a Yankee again…..lol

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