Copperhead Mountain Coaster FULL RIDE | Shepherd of the Hills, Branson, Missouri

Copperhead Mountain Coaster FULL RIDE | Shepherd of the Hills, Branson, Missouri
John and Amy were among the very first riders on the incredible, brand new Copperhead Mountain Coaster at Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park in Branson, Missouri!
You'll experience the entire ride from both Amy and John's perspectives!

Cades Cove | ULTIMATE Scooter Tour!

Cades Cove | ULTIMATE Scooter Tour!

John and Amy take you on the ultimate scooter tour around the Cades Cove loop!

Ride along as they zip between various beautiful and historic points of interest. Cades Cove is the perfect place in the Smokey Mountain National Park to spend the day!

Sight & Sound: Jesus | ON STAGE at Sight & Sound Theaters Branson, Missouri

Sight & Sound: Jesus | ON STAGE at Sight & Sound Theaters Branson, Missouri

John and Amy are overwhelmed by this EPIC production of Jesus at Sight & Sound Theaters in Branson, Missouri!

The tears were freely flowing as the story of Jesus was presented in a way that is absolutely mind blowing.

They had the opportunity to walk the set on stage and grab an incredibly interesting and informative interview!

You'll see this incredible theater, check out a variety of viewpoints, see the amazing set design and technology and then experience John and Amy's reaction to this life-changing production!

Branson Air Show | Wings Over The Ozarks

Branson Air Show | Wings Over The Ozarks

John and Amy head out to the Branson Airport for the inaugural Wings Over The Ozarks Air Show!

Spectacular stunts, live music, yummy food and a festival atmosphere made this a fun and memorable experience!

The Apple Barn Sevierville Tennessee | A Fun Tour

The Apple Barn Sevierville Tennessee | A Fun Tour

John and Amy take you on a tour of The Apple Barn restaurants and shops in Sevierville, Tennessee!

They start out with an amazing lunch and then tour through the various apple related eateries and shops. This is an incredible, must do experience on your Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tennessee vacation!

Branson Restaurants | Florentina’s Ristorante Italiano

Branson Restaurants | Florentina's Ristorante Italiano

John and Amy had an AMAZING meal at Florentina's!

Check out the pizza (including gluten free!), seafood ravioli, desserts and so much more!

Oklahoma Renaissance Festival | Castle of Muskogee

Oklahoma Renaissance Festival | Castle of Muskogee

John, Amy and the crew head out to an EPIC renaissance festival at the Castle at Muskogee, Oklahoma!

Check out some amazing fighting, jousting, food, entertainment and FUN!

Local Flavor Branson Mo | AMAZING New Branson Restaurant

Local Flavor Branson Mo | AMAZING New Branson Restaurant
John and Amy experience Branson's newest restaurant, LOCAL FLAVOR, for the first time!
The owners are INCREDIBLE people and the food is PHENOMENAL!
Hear their inspirational story on the opening of Local Flavor in Branson, Missouri and also check out their original location in Oklahoma!

Brand new tasting passport at Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and BBQ Festival!

Is the new Tasting Passport at Silver Dollar City Worth it? Yes!

Silver Dollar City's Bluegrass and BBQ Festival

After trying out Silver Dollar City's Tasting Passport during the recent Street Fest and Dollywood's Dining Pass during their Flower and Food Festival, we were excited to see if Herschend Family Entertainment could outdo themselves.

The could. They did.

For $30 you receive a badge and lanyard that provides you many delectable options to choose from. At Dollywood you find a QR code on the Dining Pass that hangs around your neck. While a quick scan opens up an informative website with all of the food items and their locations in the park, we found Silver Dollar City's method preferrable.

Every option was printed clearly on the badge, or as Silver Dollar City calls it, the Passport. Additionally, everything could be seen in larger print in the Pathfinder, Silver Dollar City's free newspaper and park guide. 

Opening day of the festival gave us perfect weather to walk the park and enjoy a great variety of bluegrass music and non-stop, diverse aromas as we passed by all of the various food stands and restaurants. 

While we enjoyed our day at Dollywood recently, we didn't prefer the majority of the Dining Pass stops to be located in one section of the park. We found ourselves aimlessly wandering the nether regions of Dollywood wondering when we might stumble into a kiosk. It wasn't until we moved back toward the front of the park that we found the food.

At Silver Dollar City it's an entire park experience. The cooks are joyfully and artistically creating their edible masterpieces at every corner of the park. Whether you are on Main Street, by the Grand Exposition, near Mystic River Falls or down by Fire in the Hole, temptations abound.

The only time we had to ask for directions was for the last punch of our passport. I was desperately seeking a BBQ bacon mac and cheese waffle cone, but didn't know to look right on Main Street for the kiosk. A wonderful Silver Dollar City citizen pointed us in the right direction and before long I was devouring a waffle cone made out of fortune cookie batter filled with a curious and mouth watering mix. 

Our favorite item of the day was probably the barbecue tater twist dog. It was truly amazing, and the portion size was large.

The Tasting Passport is not meant to be a meal replacement, but rather a fun and adventurous sampling of new and unique foods. While the idea is for each item to be snack sized, if you plan your day of tasting carefully, you'll find some samples are larger than others. In fact, like our tater twist dog, some are full sized.

We'd recommend considering eating a full meal at lunch and also purchasing a single Tasting Passport that can be used throughout the day for snacks and desserts. Between the two of us both times at Silver Dollar City and also once at Dollywood we purchased only one Passport and shared each of the five items. This worked great for us and we weren't at all hungry doing it this way. Of course, if you are zeroed in on treats others in your family are not, then you'll be very happy securing one all for yourself.

So, is the Tasting Passport worth it? We can't answer for everybody, but for us the answer is a resounding yes!

It does seem as if the portion sizes have increased some from the previous festival, which is great.

This time around we didn't get any desserts on the list. It took every ounce of restraint to say no to the temptations that were all around. Suffice it to say the desserts were our favorite foods the previous two festivals here and in Tennessee. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Time to get back to work in Branson, Missouri

Silver Dollar City

Missouri Gov. Parson ends extra $300 federal jobless benefit

Millions of cabin fever afflicted people have started descending on the tourist destination of Branson, Missouri as businesses have struggled to fill open positions. The number of available jobs exceeds the number of job applicants due to the extended unemployment benefits. Many attractions, restaurants and other places of business have had to limit hours and capacity due to the shortage, greatly affecting the ability to serve guests at the level they desire.

Of course, Branson is well known for the amazing, friendly and hard working people, and those who have been working long hours during the current labor shortage are about to get a reprieve. 

The Kansas City Star reports, “Missouri will halt additional unemployment benefits provided by the federal government during the pandemic next month, Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday. The move follows orders by Republican governors across the country to withdraw from the federal programs by the end of June to push workers back into the job market.”

“Despite our economy’s strong comeback many business owners and employers across the state are still struggling, not because of COVID-19, but because they can’t find people to fill the jobs to help address this labor shortage,” Parson said Tuesday.

The ownership of three businesses, Mel's Hard Luck Diner, Reflections and T Charlestons recently released a notice informing the public that they had to make the difficult decision to close on Mondays and Tuesdays.

“In my long career I have never experienced such a severe unemployment crisis. Our team members have been working long and strenuous hours since early March, serving a record number of visitors to our diner and shops and I appreciate so much their efforts. In the meantime, please be patient with us too as the waiting times for seating, your food or attention to your shopping needs may be longer than in the past.”

Missouri State Representative Brian Seitz recently submitted a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parsons highlighting the labor crisis and encouraging him to take action.

“It's no secret that local businesses in the state of Missouri have been, and continue to be, harmed by our broken unemployment system. Local businesses in my district, specifically restaurants, are currently unable to fully staff for the coming tourist season because of the excessive and unnecessary generosity of federal assistance. With local businesses attempting to open back up after a disastrous year, the time is now to begin more carefully scrutinizing unemployment requests to ensure that those who are truly unable to find work get the help they need, but those that are able to find employment, actually return to work when jobs are available.”

Job fairs and ads have extended well beyond the time when they usually finish up in Branson. By now, most positions have been filled during typical years. Up and down the Strip and throughout downtown and the various corners of the Branson region you still see help wanted signs. Some of these businesses are closing very early or not opening at all on days they would normally be open. 

People are in town and ready to invest their dollars into the region, but the opportunities for them to do so have not been as easy to find this year.

Some might have the question as to whether it's a good time to visit Branson due to the labor shortage. Many would suggest that it absolutely is. Though open days and hours are fewer, most every attraction, restaurant and business is open and excited to welcome guests. Many have already converged on Branson and had a full, fun vacation and it appears as if those who will be visiting the rest of the year will have additional smiling faces clocked in and ready to serve them.