The holiday season is usually a perfect time for travel. Unfortunately with today’s economical climate not all families can hop on a plane to anywhere. Luckily for us metro residents Branson is a mere few hours away. I take an annual vacation to Branson usually the week before Thanksgiving. It is a beautiful time of year to escape and always affordable. We stayed at the Cobblestone Inn, which happens to be just up the drive from the Tanger outlet mall.
Upon our arrival on our first evening we made a stop at Osceola Cheese factory for some snacks. This must see is located off of Highway 13 in Osceola, MO, conveniently located on our way in and out of Branson. They offer a wide variety of cheeses, nuts and general snack foods; with samples being offered on pretty much everything. After collecting our cheeses we were on our way and finally arrived. After grabbing some dinner we headed to Grand Village.
Grand Village is THE Christmas store to visit. They have several stores that sell only Christmas ornaments and decorations. My favorite store in this area is Kringles, who also offers personalized ornaments. Grand Village is always one of my favorite places to see. After collecting my latest ornaments the second stop was the dollar store. Yes most of it is junk but you can find some things you may need for only a dollar. They do carry some Christmas gift wrapping, so it is a great place to stock up on that.
Finally it was time to return to the hotel, to get some sleep before our shopping extravaganza. The next morning after a quick breakfast at the Plantation (affordable $3 buffet), we headed to the main outlet Tanger. They were packed! We made the most of it. Doing preparation before heading to Branson we researched online and had plenty of coupons for discounts off and found many deals. I got part of my Christmas shopping done and had a great time doing it. The last stop that evening was for dinner at Shorty Smalls. Shorty Smalls is always a fun place to eat. They specialize in barbeque. This time I decided to try their pasta. I ordered some noodles that were served with Alfredo sauce. It was so overwhelmingly cheesy that I needed some meat with it. I ordered a side of grilled chicken that was $5! Can you say overcharge…Other than the financial disappointment it was delicious. Look in local Branson magazines for a coupon for a free onion loaf at Shorty Smalls, always a superb appetizer.
After dinner we visited The Landing. Branson’s newest shopping district downtown that is all outdoors. It is a beautiful location that is festively lighted and features a fire & water fountain show. One of my favorite additions to Branson. After finishing up our shopping it was time to head home. It is always a nice short getaway and that is what a lot people need in today’s world.
In final my review would be:
Driving is the best way to travel affordably. You may be able to get roundtrip on a full tank!
Cobblestone Inn – Older hotel kept rather clean. Indoor pool offers something for the kids to enjoy. Centrally located to everything
Plantation – Terrific and affordable buffet. Avoid the drinks as they will rack up your bill.
Tanger Outlet– Great outlet mall featuring Gap, Old Navy, Nike and many more!
Shorty Small’s – Overpriced in food, but offers an entertaining dining experience.
The Landing – Greatest addition to Branson offering a welcoming shopping experience outdoors.