Branson Invites You to visit
photographs courtesy of the venues
Everyone is grateful for the concern expressed after the Feb. 29 tornado in the area. Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley said, “We’re touched by the outpouring of support from around the nation. We forget how many millions of folks we have welcomed to Branson over the years.”
And there are a lot of years — Branson will soon celebrate its 100th birthday.
Also 100 years ago, on April 14, 1912, the world lost Titanic, at that time the largest manmade object on the planet. Titanic Branson is celebrating the ship’s maiden voyage; their newest gallery is the Molly Tobin Brown Gallery. There, visitors can learn about the amazing life of the “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” Margaret Tobin Brown. Brown was from Hannibal, Mo., and was actually not called Molly. “Molly” came from the 1960 hit Broadway musical based on her life and made famous by the 1964 Hollywood movie adaptation starring Debbie Reynolds.
The beaded gown worn by Reynolds in the movie is in the gallery. Most items are Brown’s possessions, including an Egyptian statue from 700 B.C. Valued at $60,000, it's thought to have magical powers. Other treasures include delicate lace from Brown’s stay in Switzerland, valuable silver-service pieces and a prized secretary desk and hutch from Newport, Rhode Island.
One very special Titanic event this year is the April 14 Centennial Tribute Honoring Titanic. The evening includes story telling, re-enactments and interactive ceremonial events. A candlelight ceremony will honor the 2,208 passengers and crew. Choral groups; the lighting of the Titanic Eternal Flame; and firing of distress rockets will highlight the night. Limited VIP admission includes a keepsake gift. Log onto titanicbranson.com for more information.
Branson offers an outstanding variety of lodging and dining. If you enjoy rustic elegance at its finest, The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks is an excellent choice. The center opened in 2004 and has an extraordinary history; it is modeled after the 1904 World’s Fair State of Maine Building, which was moved to the college and used as a weekend lodge. All the elegantly-appointed rooms and suites have a fireplace and private balcony. Turndown service includes freshly-baked cookies and milk, from the college dairy.
The dairy and The Keeter Center provide more than 80 campus jobs where students work for their tuition. Dobyns Dining Room in The Keeter Center is another and is a delicious dining choice for lunch, dinner and their famous Sunday brunch. Many meal ingredients are produced at the college’s mill and dairy and in their vegetable garden. It all makes for healthy and unique menus. Robert Stricklin, executive chef, said, “We built the menu around traditional Ozark flavors and added a contemporary take.”
This summer The Keeter Center invites guests to learn about “Farm to Fork” dining. The weekend includes fun cooking classes with The Keeter Center Culinary Team; accommodations; made-to-order, in-room breakfast; Saturday lunch; and Sunday brunch. For more history, information or to register for the class, log onto keetercenter.edu or call (417) 239-1900.
If you like a lake view and lake access, Chateau on the Lake Resort and Spa, a five-star resort, is for you. Overlooking Table Rock Lake, one of the best views is from the outdoor Roman Bath, beneath a waterfall in Spa Chateau. The Spa is a 14,000-square-foot facility that combines “modern delights with old world luxury” and offers spectacular pampering for couples or a girls’ getaway.
You’ll be treating yourself, too, when you dine at Chateau Grille. An advocate of the “slow food movement and sustainable agriculture,” Chef Doug Knopp’s style is said to be west coast contemporary. The exceptional cuisine is elegantly presented, complete with a lake view. The Library Lounge is a cozy place to have a drink, relax by the great stone fireplace and look out over the lake. Log onto chateauonthelakebranson.com or call (888) 333-5253 for more information about the elegant rooms and suites, the swimming pools, tennis courts and full-service marina.
No one knows exactly when the first notes of a fiddle or banjo echoed through these hills, but visitors have enjoyed Branson’s amazing waterways, scenery and hospitality since 1912. In 2012 there’s even more to enjoy in The Live Music Show Capital of the World. Come have some fun and celebrate in Branson this year! Log onto explorebranson.com; it is a great website with information about Branson 2012.
Thankfully there were no tornado fatalities in the Branson, Mo., area. According to recent data, damage included 71 residences; 22 of Branson’s 200 hotels; and six of 50 theaters. No theater was destroyed, and only two have had to delay schedules more than a week or so.