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5 Great Things to do in Branson, Missouri

July 17, 2017

Branson, Missouri

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Branson has been called the Vegas of the Midwest without the gambling. However, it has so much to offer everyone. Here are five great things to do in Branson, Missouri.

1. Silver Dollar City

Branson, MissouriPhoto courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism

Going to Silver Dollar City was one of the highlights of going to Branson as a child even though I am not a big theme park rider. The park has more of a historic feel than most theme parks and has many things to do besides go on rides including Marvel Cave. My young nieces couldn’t wait to go when we were there.

2. Showboat Branson Belle

Branson, Missouri

Get dinner, a show and a cruise all rolled into one on a paddle boat. The paddle boat cruise takes you on a cruise around Table Rock Lake. Dinner is brought around while a host tells jokes and does magic tricks. Then you are given time to explore the decks. An announcement tells you when it is time to return to watch the show. Singing, dancing, and some of the best tap dancing I have ever seen were on display during the show. While the show goes on the boat turns and docks right back where you started.

Branson, Missouri

3. See a Show

This is where the Vegas comes in. There are so many shows in Branson, Missouri you make have to stay for months to see them all. Many of the acts from America’s Got Talent now are in shows in Branson. Many of the acts are singing acts, but there are also comedy and animal shows. Celebrities also sometimes have short stints in Branson.

4. Table Rock Lake

Branson, Missouri

While this is technically a reservoir and not a natural lake, it is large there are tons of things to do there. You can go boating, go fishing, rent a jet ski, parasail, kayak and there are campgrounds nearby if you enjoy camping. If camping isn’t your thing, there is a luxury hotel on the lake, Chateau on the Lake. It also has a spa!

5. See Butterflies

Branson, Missouri

This is how much I love the Butterfly Palace in Branson, I have mentioned it two weeks in a row. Butterfly Palace is a treat for both kids and adults and the best attraction, in my opinion, in Branson, Missouri. Wander through and observe butterflies eating and flying around and if you get lucky, they might land on you!

Have you been to Branson, Missouri? What is your favorite thing to see there?

Travel, United States

Butterfly Palace Photo Essay

July 10, 2017

Butterfly Palace

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Every year, my family holds a family reunion and most years it is held in Branson, Missouri. Branson has tons of shows and other activities to do. My favorite thing is to go to the Butterfly Palace.  The facility does not breed butterflies. The Butterfly Palace just houses them and you are given strict instructions on how to behave and you are inspected on the way out to make sure the butterflies aren’t trying to escape. Hope you enjoy this butterfly photo essay.

Butterfly Palace

Butterly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Butterfly Palace

Have you been to the Butterfly Palace in Branson, Missouri? Where else have you seen butterfly exhibits?

North America, Travel, United States

Historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas

July 3, 2017

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

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Eureka Springs brings back memories of my childhood walking the streets with my parents and grandparents, eating saltwater taffy and a hotel cat. Over the weekend, I got to walk down those streets again.

The town of Eureka Springs is nestled in the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. It has been a tourist destination since the before the town was founded in the 1880s. This was mainly due to the natural springs found in and around the town. Spa treatments are still a popular activity now.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Things to do

Shopping – Even I like shopping in Eureka Springs. In the past, there seemed to be more antique stores than there are now, but there are still some great stores. There are several clothing stores that sell a variety of things. On this trip, I picked up some jewelry, a linen dress, a kimono and a tank top. The prices are also a good range. If you love antiques, there are a few of those left. The kids will love the variety of candy stores, including one that makes saltwater taffy, Sweet Fudge’s Kitchen.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

 

Ghost Tours – The Basin Park Hotel is supposedly haunted and you can take a ghost tour in the evenings there. The Crescent Hotel, the large hotel on the top of the hill, also offers ghost tours. These tours are enhanced by the historic nature of the two hotels. The Crescent even has family friendly ghost tours at an earlier hour than the Basin.

Ride the Trolley – While technically this trolley is public transportation for getting around Eureka Springs, it is a great way to see the town without having to climb the hills. Which is really great if you are staying up the hill at the Crescent! There are several routes. My youngest niece begged to go on it, so it is a great activity to take the littlest traveler on.

Tour the Historic Houses and Buildings –  At Christmas Time in Eureka Springs, you can go on tours inside the Victorian houses. However, you can still walk around the rest of the year and admire them from the outside. Some of them have great gardens and some are perched in awkward ways above streets. The town has so many historical markers, I couldn’t read them all! You could probably spend a whole day doing just this.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Get a Spa Treatment – There are several spas in town. Some are just massage places, though. My recommendations would be the spas at either the Basin Park Hotel or the Crescent Hotel. The Basin Park Hotel Spa is an Aveda salon and is located on the second floor of the hotel. Walk-ins are welcome. The Crescent Hotel spa is called the New Moon Spa and is located on the garden level.

Look at Art – There is an art scene is this tiny town. There are many galleries to explore that include painting, sculpture, and metalworks. There is some public art as well. Look for the painted staircase. This trip I noticed a collection of gnomes have popped up. I was also told of a new sculpture park out near the train station and if you touch the sculptures, they make sounds!

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Where to stay

Crescent Hotel – Built in 1886, the Crescent Hotel has had a curious past and has served as a girls college, a fake cancer hospital and had a cat as Hotel Manager. They have lots of room options including suites and cottages. Many rooms have jacuzzi tubs. Keep in mind that it has been claimed as the most haunted hotel in America!

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Basin Park Hotel – This is the hotel my parents love to stay in. However, I would only stay there because it is in the center of town and has a balcony restaurant. The rooms are not updated and they have giant furniture in them, which made them feel small. The bathroom had been updated and was nice.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Rent a cottage or stay in a B&B – There are several Victorian cottages you can rent and several that are Bed and Breakfasts. My parents stayed in one a long time ago and they loved it. Many of these are on the trolley routes, so you don’t have to worry about driving into the center of town and paying for parking.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Getting There

Most people drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The only thing to note about the drive is that Eureka Springs is located in the Ozark Mountains and the roads are winding. Several members of my family get carsick when we are getting close to Eureka. You can fly to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport on American Airlines, Delta, United and Allegiant Air and then rent a car. It is an hours drive to Eureka.

Have you been to Eureka Springs, Arkansas? Tell us your favorite thing there.

Want to download this article with a walking tour? Check it out on GPSmyCity.

Travel, United States

Guest Post: 8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

May 29, 2017
8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota
I am very excited by this guest post. When I ask for guest posts, most people suggest non-US locations and that is great, but I was excited to get one from a place in the US and from a place I haven’t been to myself.

Duluth, Minnesota is a picturesque city settled on the banks of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior. From foodies to adventurists, Duluth has an array of activities and things to do. Whether it be summer or winter, visitors never run out of ways to spend their time here but if you need a few ideas, here are 8 ways to spend your time around the city of Duluth, Minnesota.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

1. Overlook Duluth at Enger Tower

Atop Enger hill overlooking the beautiful city of Duluth stands Enger Tower, an 80-foot, five-story observation tower built in 1939. Enger Tower was built in dedication to Bert Enger, a native of Norway who came here to be a furniture seller. When he died, over half of his estate was donated to the city of Duluth – this included the areas of Enger Park, the Tower, and golf course.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, MinnesotaThis picture is from Wikipedia

2. Wander Canal Park

Canal Park in Duluth is visitors’ one-stop shop for everything gifts, food, lodging, things to do, events, and more. The area sits upon the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, and used to be a warehouse district, which has been converted into a variety of restaurants, hotels, cafés, and shops.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

A few of Canal Park’s attractions include the Aerial Lift Bridge, a lighthouse pier, and a 4.2-mile-long lake walk. Additionally, visitors interested in boats can watch vessels from all over the world enter the bay near Duluth, going under the iconic lift bridge.

3. Check out the Aerial Lift Bridge

The most famous landmark in all of Duluth, the Aerial Lift Bridge was finished being built in 1905, making it over 100 years old and the oldest landmark in the city. The length of the bridge spans 386 feet, has a clearance of 180 feet, and weighs over 900 tons. There’s only one other bridge in the world similar to the Aerial Lift Bridge, which is located in Rouen, France. The bridge is operated 24 hours a day and during the busy season in spring or summer, the bridge lifts an average of 26 times per day.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

4. Waterfall Hunting in Congdon Park

Located in the middle of Duluth, burrowed between residential neighborhoods, Congdon Park can be explored by avid hikers, casual walkers, and families in search of fun. When descending into the park, it feels as though you’re entering a different world; surrounded by billion-year-old red volcanic rock, lush greens, thick mosses, and pulsing waterfalls – hiking in Congdon Park is anything but boring.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

“There is no combination of stream and hillsides, woodland, waterfall and canyon in or near any other American city that is capable of development for beauty and utility comparing with that lying on both sides of Tischer Creek,” wrote landscape engineer A.U. Morrell of New York City.

5. Explore Gooseberry Falls State Park

Known as the gateway to the North Shore and Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls State Park is an area filled with beautiful waterfalls, an array of hiking trails, flourishing wildlife, and stunning foliage. As visitors wander around the park, the thunderous rumble of the water plummeting into the rocky gorges from the three largest of the falls can be heard from all around.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

To make the most out of your visit, make sure to stop in the visitor’s center to read up on the history of the park, find park information, watch park videos, view interpretive displays, and more. Also, summer is the best time to visit – but head to the park early, as it gets extremely busy!

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

6. View Split Rock Lighthouse

Considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States, Split Rock Lighthouse was completed in 1910 and is a National Historic Landmark; a beacon in northern Minnesota. The wreckage of multiple ships spurred the building of the lighthouse, which explorers can read all about in the visitor’s center. And after reading about the history of the lighthouse, visitors can hike the trails throughout the state park and wander down to the shoreline of Lake Superior.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

7. Marvel the Views at Palisade Head

This remarkable area shouldn’t be passed up if you have a vehicle and some time while in Duluth, Minnesota. Palisade Head is filled with heart-stopping cliffs, jagged rocks, awe-inspiring sights of Lake Superior, and picture-worthy viewpoints. Just don’t get too excited taking pictures of Lake Superior – which looks like the ocean from up here – or you might lose your footing and go falling off the edge!

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

8. Tour the Glensheen Mansion

Operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth as a museum, the 39-room Glensheen Mansion and the 7.6-acre estate was built by Chester Congdon on the banks of Lake Superior between 1905 and 1908. The mansion is perhaps most known for the “incident” that happened in 1977; Glensheen was the site of the murders of Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, on June 27. For many years, tour guides were forbidden from talking about and answering questions related to the murders, but now they will answer questions at the end of the tour and there’s a book about the murders available for purchase in the gift shop.

8 Ways to Spend Your Time Around Duluth, Minnesota

So, there you have it: 8 things to do around Duluth, Minnesota. Let me know – have you ever heard of Duluth? Or have you ever been here?

This is a guest blog post written by Sophie Anderson, founder of The Wanderful Me travel blog. She’s a clumsy traveler tripping her way around the world in search of mouthwatering vegan food and wild adventures. If you want to see what she’s up to, check out her blog or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter