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Thursday, February 22, 2024

You’ll Love Branson!

Just because I grew up with a poster of Donnie Osmond on the wall of the bedroom I shared with my sister growing up on Evansville’s East Side doesn’t mean that I would love Branson, Mo.

My mom visited Branson, Mo., with my stepdad twice a year — in the summer and at Christmas — for most of the 1990s. She returned saying, “Kristen, you would love Branson.” I said, “Really?” Branson, Mo., didn’t sound quite like us. We were busy with our magazine company, raising small kids, and when we did vacation, it was to the beach, Caribbean sailing cruises with an advertising partner, and even to Europe.

Branson, with its Ozark mountain beauty, down-home attitude, entertainment galore, and unabashed love for God and country was certainly right up my mom’s alley. Would it be mine? She was sure it would.

When an invitation came my way toward the end of the summer to join a group of travel writers at the “live music capital of the world,” I quickly reserved my space. With a destination PR firm organizing the trip — ensuring we experienced all that Branson has to offer — I knew I could do Branson right and share the story with Evansville Living readers, which I’ll do in an upcoming issue.

In four days, I saw five shows with dozens of entertainers (many whom I met), road a scenic train, cruised on two boats, splashed into a lake in an amphibious truck (and also drove it), shopped in beautiful developments, visited a Titanic Museum, enjoyed lots of delicious food, visited a unique college dubbed by the Wall Street Journal as “Hard Work U,” and had the opportunity to visit a great theme park – Silver Dollar City – and cave, which I passed on due to my still-healing ankle.

Did I like it? I sure did.

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