We Love Dad Day – Let’s Eat! Branson, Missouri

Father’s Day is a weird holiday for me.  On the one hand, I am married to a man who is one of the most awesome dad’s out there – I am so blessed to have him as daddy to our daughter and I love celebrating him big time each year on Father’s Day.  On the other hand, I am the daughter of a deceased father, and each year the day brings that reality into sharp relief.  I am acutely aware that my dad is not here, that I didn’t go to the store to buy him a card and gift; I didn’t arrange to have a prolonged phone conversation or meet up for a celebratory meal; my dad is not here.  And so it is a conflict – to celebrate and not celebrate all at the same time.  It is tricky.  Oh yeah – and it isn’t about me, so I need to just get over that! See how well it is going?

Pretty much every year since my dad passed, we have found a way to take a little trip – not sure why that helps, but it does. It helps me to focus on the celebratory and not the melancholy – and so we road trip! This year, we went to Branson, Missouri.

If you haven’t been to Branson, Missouri – it is a smallish city located on the Missouri/Arkansas boarder. It is about 30 minutes from Springfield, Missouri – home to Evangel University, my alma mater.  Branson is most known for it’s live music productions – mostly in the country, blue grass, Vegas lounge show genre. It has long been a destination for retirees, but in recent years has added a lot of whole family friendly entertainment options, so you really see all ages and backgrounds in town these days.  Silver Dollar City, a large amusement park, is right outside the city’s limits and is a big draw for families.  We had season tickets there one year – and really enjoy visiting when we are in town for longer than a couple days. This little jaunt is about 5 hours from our home and has become one of my family’s favorite weekend or week long escapes.  I don’t know exactly what made us jive with this town, but we love it. As a family of 3, we’ve only seen one show in our several trips so I can’t speak to how good they are.  When I was in college, my grandparents used to frequent Branson and would often pick me up from college for the weekend.  My favorite show back then was Bobby Vinton and the Glen Miller Orchestra (not sure that even still is in Branson) but, as the family Jones, we tend to focus on shopping, eating, amusement parks, eating, swimming, eating, history tourism, and did I mention EATING?!?

This year’s trip came about from several mentions of a particular restaurant we love in Branson – it just kept coming up again and again in conversations between T and I, and so when a bargain hotel deal popped up on my phone for Father’s Day weekend – we said SOLD and loaded up the car and headed down.

We had a several good meals (and before you ask, we did other things and I will throw some of those details in just to prove it – but I’m blogging about food today, so I hope you’ve eaten!)

So here we go….

We rolled into town at about 9 p.m. – later than I would have liked, but T had a presentation he had to give in Springfield and it didn’t end until around 3:30, so we got in late.  We hadn’t eaten dinner, so we stopped at this place, which we have driven past many times on our trips but never braved to turn in and try – Mistake, HUGE Mistake – this was some GOOD eating here and I don’t think it was just because I was starving and it was late – it was just straight up good.

The Great American Steak and Chicken Company

This was my meal – the steak was actually really good, which I wasn’t holding out hope about even with the name of the establishment – like I said – we should have been eating here for years. 
T declared this cornbread was “weeping” worthy! Arden didn’t cry but agreed it was tasty!

If we had been planning to stay more than a couple days, we probably would have made a return trip – tasty stuff – try it if you are in the area –  you’ll need to check your “this is about the cheesiest thing I’ve ever seen” prejudice at the door and go with it.  The cornbread alone will make you glad you did.

Sunday, Father’s Day, was rainy – like down pour rainy – so we spent the morning doing some shopping at the outlets (Tanger Outlet Mall was across the street from our hotel) – I am a sucker for a bargain and Arden is a sucker for us buying things for her, so it works out.

We made the toy store our first stop – always best to set the tone for the day!

Lunch was our “reason for the trip” meal.  A few years ago, we “discovered” the White River Fish House, which is owned by Bass Pro Shop and is located on the Landing in Branson.  To say that we love the food here, is like saying I love my family – the word “love” is just not adequate.  Everything is yummy here – if we had the money and the time, we would probably eat every meal of the trip here because literally everything we’ve tried (and we’ve tried a lot of the menu) is delicious. Below is a pictorial tour of our meal.

The White River Fish House

Terry’s face pretty much captures how we all felt with each bite!


After that meal, I was pretty sure that we wouldn’t be able to eat again for a few days – but the Princess wanted food again about 6 hours later and the rain had stopped, so we decided to feed her and sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather.  Just so you are reassured that we didn’t succumb completely to gluttony – we did spend a couple of hours at the pool in the afternoon. I didn’t actually get IN the pool because it was freezing- but these two crazy polar bears did and they seemed to be having fun!

We stayed at the Gazebo Inn – it was a lovely little mom and pop motel – clean rooms, good breakfast included and really inexpensive rates – give em a try in those are on your list of things you are looking for in Branson. P.S. the air freshener smells like the perfume Red Door – so it was like having my mom with us the whole weekend! 

No food pictures because A) I didn’t think of it before we ate and B) I think I was embarrassed to still be eating!


Vacation means you can totally get away with wearing a night gown as a sundress and no one cares – and if they do care, we don’t!
Who doesn’t love them some Fuddrucker’s? If you don’t, I don’t want to know you!


Monday was the last day of our getaway – it was really a quick one!  Nothing especially note worthy for our Monday meals – we made the obligatory Cracker Barrel road trip stop – because if you road trip in the Midwest or South, I think you just have to make at least one stop at the good o’ Cracker Barrel.  My shopaholic daughter is determine to leave with some purchase every time we go and I am a HUGE fan of those hard candy sticks in the many flavors – another road trip requirement.

All Smiles as we left our Father’s Day destination

And that’s a wrap!

I am so blessed to have a family that really enjoys spending time together!  I hope that Arden always wants to hang with us and that we are always up for a last minute getaway.

And now here’s to a few weeks of salads and grilled chicken – because there is a limit to how much stress my buttons can endure!

Hope you all had a fun and safe Father’s Day!

See ya later!


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Mommy, Historian, Wannabe Writer.

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