It's been 9 days since I last posted, probably the longest break since I started blogging. Reading has been slower with this busy time of year, but I have managed to finish a few books and will be reviewing them over the next few days if I have time. And I have completed a few sewing projects with more in the works, but I can't reveal them until after Christmas. The real reason I haven't been online much is that we took a trip to Branson with my brother and his wife. What a great trip!
We were gone 6 nights - 7 days and saw 7 shows. Also made a side trip on the way home, but I'll keep you in suspense about that for a bit. Here's our itinerary.
Saturday, we drove to Whitewater where my brother lives. From there we drove as far as Rolla, MO.
On the way we stopped at the St. James winery. I never realized that Missouri had so many wineries. St. James produces a lot of different wines and we sampled several kinds and brought two bottles home with us to share with friends. On Sunday we drove to the College of the Ozarks (also known as Work U) where we ate a special brunch at Keeter Hall. If you've never heard of this college, you should read about it. This is the second time Russ and I have eaten here, and my brother goes there almost every time he visits Branson. We had delightful servers and struck up some interesting conversations. After checking into our condo (more about that in a minute), we saw our first show --
THE DUBLIN IRISH TENORS and THE CELTIC LADIES. High energy show, but I was slightly disappointed that they did not perform more authentic Celtic music. Monday morning we saw THE BRETT FAMILY's Christmas show. They are a real family - parents, daughter and two sons. I would have to rank this as one of my favorites. Most all shows do some type of tribute to veterans, but their show's tribute is extremely emotional. We had planned to see Billy Dean in the afternoon but his show was cancelled. It seems that he had just returned from being on the road, and while he made it back to Branson, his instruments did not. So we swam at the condo and relaxed in the hot tub. At 5:00 we went to the main building for beer and salsa.
Our condo was the Marriott Willow Ridge. Bob booked our accomodations; they had stayed here with friends recently. After being there for a day or so, Russ and I realized that we had "endured" a timeshare sales pitch at this complex back 11 years ago when we first went to Branson. Never did we realize that we would ever stay there. Our other times in Branson we have stayed at a different condo complex. We actually stayed in on Monday night so the guys could watch the Packers play.
Tuesday, we packed the day with 3 shows- CLAY COOPER in the morning, probably my favorite show; JONAH in the afternoon, a huge productionat the Sight and Sound Theater ; and THE HUGHES BROTHERS in the evening, five brothers, their wives, and all their kids (many, many kids!!) Big day !! We also squeezed in time to visit old Branson and the famous DICK'S FIVE AND DIME. Thursday, we met friends of Bob and Joyce's at a burger joint, then we finished off our time in Branson by seeing the BILLY DEAN show we wanted to see on Monday, followed by the extravagent Shoji Tabuchi in the evening. In between we had wine and cheese with entertainment at the condo club house.
Thursday we left early for our trip back to Wisconsin, but traveled a different way to I could actually stop at the MISSOURI STAR QUILT COMPANY, the home of Jenny Doan and her Youtube quilting videos. This is an amazing entrepreneurial success story and even Bob was interested in how the quilt shops have revitalized a small town. Going this way home meant we traveled through Iowa rather than Illinois, so we stopped in Grinnell. Grinnell College is a private college which is in the same conference as Ripon, St. Norbert's, Beloit, and Carroll.
One of our most enjoyable vacations - great company, top notch "digs", and superb music. Can't wait to go again.