Our second stop in the Show Me State brought us to Forsyth in the Ozarks, on a bluff above Shoals Bend Lake, about 15 miles northeast of Branson. We stayed at a Jellystone Campground which is part of the Yogi Bear franchise. The owners were very nice; the park was neat and clean – and practically empty, so we had the place virtually to ourselves for two-weeks. We were at this location during Christmas and New Year’s, so we tried to take advantage of all of the holiday festivities this tourist area had to offer. The only thing we did not see during our visit to Branson was a show (I know, how lame of us). The problem was that all the shows we had selected to see were closed for the season by the time we got to town. It didn’t really matter to us, we still enjoyed our time here.
This stop concludes our month in Missouri. On Monday, 1/5, we move to Hot Springs and start our month of January in Arkansas.
On New Year’s Eve we went to the Butterfly Palace in Branson. This black and white butterfly landed on Mike’s left shoulder and ‘hung around’ for about 10 or 15 minutes. It waited while we took pictures of it, while Mike took pictures of other butterflies, while we walked around the trail through the landscaping… until we finally took this selfie. When we told it we had to go have Indian food for dinner, it finally flew away.
We were hoping this beautiful black and purple butterfly would land on my shoulder.
The Butterfly Palace.
It was cloudy during most of our time in the Ozarks. Here is one sunny shot of Table Rock Lake as we drove across a bridge. The water was so blue in the lake!
We paid a pretty penny to walk the path at Dogwood Canyon Nature Preserve. I can’t say that I remember ever paying $13 per human to walk six miles… and I can say for sure the dogs have never paid $3 each to go with us. However, in this case we paid the fee and it was worth it. I’m glad we watched the forecast and picked a day with good weather. I think the sun and blue skies made the hike that much more beautiful.
The lady at Dogwood Canyon’s front desk told us we might see some bald eagles.
She was right!
Trying to get the perfect shot of the bald eagles flying above us.
The streams at Dogwood Canyon were stocked with all kinds of trout.
One of the waterfalls that flowed into emerald blue water at Dogwood Canyon.
We also paid too much money to visit Silver Dollar City Amusement Park in Branson. Only one of the roller coasters was running because of the cold temperatures (not that I would have ridden anyway). We basically paid $125 to walk around the pretend 1880’s village for 2-plus hours.
Once the sun went down at Silver Dollar City, it was obvious that the lights were SPECTACULAR. They outlined every inch of every building, and covered quite a few trees from their base to the very last limb.
The tree at Silver Dollar City.
Big Cedar Lodge is owned by the same folks that have Bass Pro Shops. Over the past couple of years I have started a list of fancy or cool hotel resorts that I would like to come back and stay in. This place made my list.
The marina at Big Cedar Lodge. You can bring your own boat, or rent one of theirs (with or without a captain).
We enjoyed a luxurious Christmas afternoon brunch at the 1921 Worman House at Big Cedar Lodge. A beautiful expansive view of Table Rock Lake was the backdrop through a wall of windows in the dining room. One of the best parts about this Christmas was that the sun came out and the temperatures warmed up to make it a splendid day.
The entrance into Big Cedar Lodge includes a beautiful view of Table Rock Lake through the trees.
There was an undeveloped subdivision behind our campground, so we got to take the dogs on long PAVED walks almost every day that we were in Forsyth.
I looked up the details of our abandoned subdivision. The lots were basically 5 acre parcels at $20,000 – owners could subdivide once. Seems like a good deal for someone that wants to live out in the middle of nowhere – with electricity, water and sewer.
I wish I could have snapped this photo of the Ozarks on a clear sunny day, but we didn’t have too many of them during this stop.
We found a Methodist Church in Forsyth. We were able to enjoy the Christmas Pageant on the Sunday before Christmas, and a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The greeter ladies by the front door always teased Mike about his longhorn hat when we arrived.
Mike’s favorite thing about the Methodist Church in Forsyth was this cool space shuttle bus. It took me a while to figure out that it couldn’t actually be driven.
Branson Landing is located between the river and historic downtown Branson. They have a water fountain that ‘dances’ to music. Each hour on the hour they feature a song that includes fire too!
A giant nativity scene sits high up on a bluff across the river from Branson Landing.
Some of the Christmas lights in front of the fountain at Branson Landing.
We took advantage of as many Christmas activities that we could while we were in Branson during the holidays. This was a drive-through light display on our way to eat Thai food.
Mike figured out how to attach the swag we bought from Ted Drewes in St. Louis to the front of our coach.
Our spot at Jellystone Campground – W4.
Mike ordered a bunch of parts from China and made his own rope light (complete with remote control). We put it in our front window as part of our Christmas décor, but I think it is going to stay permanently. When it is not Christmas, we will program them to be blue, green and purple to match the inside decorations.
Santa said he wasn’t quite sure if he would be able to find Piper and Cessna on Christmas morning, so he gave them their presents early while we were at Branson Landing.
At least the Longhorns made it to a bowl game, although the outcome was not pretty.