Our Family Vacay: Making Memories and Discovering Dishes in Branson
The Craig Crew has just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Branson, Missouri, and although we are exhausted from cramming a week's worth of activities into essentially 3 days, we consider ourselves to be abundantly blessed to have been able to take this family vacay yet again!
Our first Craig Crew Branson Trip was following a particularly horrendous year for our family. In 2012 we almost lost both of Dwayne's parents, our SugarMama and Poppy, from extreme illness. The extensive recovery and rehabilitation that followed made us realize how strong we were when we stood together in our faith and that we had much to celebrate!
Our annual journey is always the week following the 4th of July and thus involves a coordinated red, white, and blue travel wardrobe (Kaylee loves for us to have a common clothing color scheme and/or theme for events where we will be photographed together. She's not wrong! It really gives a much more cohesive look!).
Our traditions also include attending performances (the Sight & Sound's production of NOAH was extraordinary, safe, and perfect for Lily & Layla!), shopping, and dining at some of the city's best and most unique restaurants.
Eating Our Way Through Branson
Our Poppy absolutely LOVES barbecued ribs and Famous Dave's serves some of this favorites! We order the All-American BBQ Feast and it easily feeds us all.
Many of us voted our meal at Paula Deen's as their favorite meal of the trip this year. We love the family style dining (we order The Albany meal), gracious waitstaff, and cute little gift shop!
This was our first time to try the Farmhouse Restaurant, although we've talked about going for years, and we LOVED it! Breakfast is served throughout the day and the sweet tea was perfectly brewed and served in large Mason jars. We were also able to purchase some jellies and spreads and their cookbook from their gift shop, so we were pretty happy with this find!
Don't you just love a happy accident? We had planned to dine a Guy Fieri's new restaurant, however, they were unable to accommodate our large party during their soft opening. Our nephew Morgan quickly did some research and found that Little Hacienda Mexican Restaurant had wonderful reviews and was less than 2 miles away, so he called and reserved a table. We arrived to find the restaurant located on Downing Street (an English-style village established in 1910) in Hollister, MO. The food was delicious (Y'all! That Salsa...Yum!), they were able to quickly serve our large group, and got us out in plenty of time to get to the show that evening. We will definitely return!
After reading several rave reviews of the specialty cinnamon rolls at Grandma Ruth's, we knew we couldn't leave town without tasting a few. Y'all! They were amazing! They ship these goodies, so we highly recommend ordering some!
Shopping and Stocking Up
We shopped until we dropped! We adore visiting all of Branson's quaint little stores to find delicious and unique additions for our charcuterie and grazing boards throughout the year. Some of our favorites include Mulberry Mill located at the Grand Village Shops, Kitchens at Branson Landing, and the Amish Country Store. This year we also discovered the Missouri Amish Store and we are SO glad we did! Owner Kyle Smith made us feel as though we were old friends within minutes of walking into the store! Not only did we pick up a few more jams to try, we also purchased this hand carved board. We enjoy looking though some of the antique stores in historic downtown Branson (where SugarMama purchased her several more cookbooks to add to her 970+ collection) as well. Look for some of our finds to be featured in some celebrations to come!
Kelsey and Kaylee took Lily and Layla to the Branson's Butterfly Palace where they were mesmerized and delighted to interact and feed butterflies and learn about the rainforest. The excursion was a highlight of the trip for our girlies and will certainly be a new tradition!
The 2020 Branson Trip did not go according to plan as we never could have imagined wearing masks (of course we removed them to eat and for photos), social distancing, and closures to be a part of our vacation. Yet we made the best of it, watched our Lily & Layla enjoy each and every minute, laughed until it hurt, discovered new favorites, returned to some special places, and created more precious memories as a family! We don't know what the next year holds, but we do know we'll travel through it together!
Cue the confetti, Y'all!