A March 2003 trip
to Branson by jennyjones
Quote: We heard the Ozarks were beautiful and we chose to exchange a week for Spring Break 2003.
We exchanged a week with the Worldmark at Branson and it was VERY nice. We had a 3-Bedroom/2-bath condo overlooking a golf course. A staff member told me they had opened only two years before. The Worldmark was very well run and had a great common area/activity center. All the staff we encountered were extremely helpful and professional.
We were located outside of town enough to have quiet, yet still be convenient to local attractions. We also had a great view of the lights of town in the evenings.
We enjoyed caving, the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, the factory outlet centers, and the local galleries. We especially liked the Ozark Scenic Railroad tour; 40 miles in reconditioned passenger cars winding through the hills into Arkansas and back.
The scenic beauty was great; hiking, caving, horseback riding, etc. is available. Theatres and shows line the town but we only went to one show (and regretted that). Miniature golf, water parks, museums, and other attractions are available to make for a very good summer trip with younger kids.
There was an honest-to-goodness five & dime store in the old downtown area that took me back to the place my mom used to take us to when I was four in Indiana. Billy Bob's Dairy Diner was a great place for lunch; we had hamburgers, BBQ, and old-fashioned ice cream there. It also seemed to be a good local hangout.
Think of Branson as a country music Vegas without the slot machines or glamour. With an older teen and a family generally geared more toward outdoor activities, we really didn't get into the shows. I did buy tickets to The Dixie Stampede since I enjoy horses, but that was only about a third of the show. The rest was a hokey trumped-up musical with North vs. South and Civil War times, complete with audience participation and, yes, those northern aggressors won again. 'Nuff said about THAT.
Our favorite part of the week was the day trip we made to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It was about an hour's scenic drive from Branson. The entire downtown area is on the National Registry of Historic Places. There were several restaurants and galleries pleasantly situated around the winding streets. Natural hot springs are peppered throughout and several spas are available to experience them first hand. Several hotels and spas dated back from the 1880s and the whole town was just beautiful.
I had the best massage of my life at The Crescent Hotel's spa in Eureka Springs. The hotel overlooks the town high on a hill and is rumored to be haunted by several ghosts.
If I had known about this area, we would have stayed in Eureka Springs for the week and done a day trip to Branson. Parking was iffy there but they have a trolley system to negotiate the town easily.
Many activities and attractions in Branson aren't open until April or later. Even so, while we were there in March, traffic jams were a daily occurance. Traffic must be horrible during the summer season.
Avoid the signs that claim 50% off or free tickets for RCI members; high pressure timeshare sales people lie in wait for you inside. We're very happy with our timeshare and the RCI program and I had to be rude to escape. I must be naive, but I found this tactic misleading and very annoying.
Definitely get a detailed map of Branson if you're driving--it's not exactly laid out in a logical manner. It is obvious they've spent some time building alternative roads and other routes to help ease the traffic issues.
Hotel | "Worldmark at Branson"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 24, 2003
2794 Fall Creek Road
Branson, Missouri 65616
Aransas Pass, Texas