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ROCK SOLID

 

Finding natural beauty in places you’d least expect is always a pleasant surprise. Following the Ozark voyage, a destination was added to the road trip – Branson, Missouri more specifically Big Cedar. If a picturesque ambiance with rustic luxury accommodations is what you’re after, look no further. This quaint foliage filled lodge sits on a hill overlooking green-blue hued Table Rock Lake.  With a selection of delectable eateries, a bucolic clubhouse made for lounging, an adorable gift shop to snag a souvenir for your bestie, and a slew of activities for the whole family to enjoy, this place has got it all.

Devil's Pool Bridge | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

Devil’s Pool Bridge | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

A must-stop spot is the one-way Devil’s Pool Bridge (cross at your own risk.)

Devil's Pool Bridge | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

Devil’s Pool Bridge | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

While crossing the bridge (if you dare), on the left is a small waterfall that leads down into Devil’s Pool. Okay, so really there’s no reason to be afraid. According to my intensive research and various lesser known publications, the name derives from it’s previous owners who dubbed the land “Devil’s Pool Dude Ranch” due to the sharp drop of the waterfall into shallow water, later streaming to a larger pool of deep water and of course a nod to the ranch. Apparently, claims of ghosts and apparitions have been loosely made by less reputable sources with ‘cry wolf’ tendencies. Allegedly, Mrs. Worman (wife to past owner Mr. Worman), haunts these grounds, which isn’t quite as likely since her death didn’t take place on the resort grounds, yet her ashes were indeed sprinkled on Big Cedar soil.

Devil's Pool Waterfall | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

Devil’s Pool Waterfall | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

Back to the fun stuff… Playing into my more inquisitive side, I ventured onto the swinging bridge (for pedestrians of course) so I could take a long gander at the place. Taking in the 360 degree perspective of the glistening lake, bustling waterfall and vibrant tree line, I felt in tune with nature.

Swinging Bridge | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

Swinging Bridge | Big Cedar Lodge | Branson, Missouri

While the bridge wasn’t much of a swinger, it was still a pleasant and scenic jaunt nonetheless.

Autumn Leaves | Big Cedar Lodge

Autumn Leaves | Big Cedar Lodge

We then decided to grab a bite outside of the resort at a renowned restaurant. During the short drive there, what really caught my eye, were the vivid hues of red orange and yellow on those big beautiful translucent leaves. Frankly, I must have been living in a dark closet these past several years in LA and Dallas. I’ve never seen (or maybe never noticed) such vibrant colors.

Branson, Missouri

Path to Top of the Rock

A winding road led us through and out of the trees to an incredibly gorgeous overlook. It’s impossible not to hop out of the car and enjoy nature’s sweet gift. Evidence supports my claim seeing as how each car we saw ended up parked off to the side and passengers lined up at the rail in observation. Oh, also… once we got to Top of the Rock – our venue of choice for mass food consumption, Cameron (my camera) kept shuttering (by that I mean endless photos were being snapped – a little camera humor for you). 

Here’s what she wants to share:

Top of the Rock | Branson, Missouri

The view @ Top of the Rock

 

Top of the Rock | Branson, Missouri

Infinity Pool @ Top of the Rock

 

Top of the Rock | Branson, Missouri

The Rock @ Top of the Rock

About 20 minutes after our arrival to Top of the Rock, we scored a highly sought-after window table with plush seating. Our waiter quickly greeted us and circled back with our glasses of Moscato just in time for us to toast to a SUN-sational sunset.  To top it off, the establishment procures a talented musician (who knows her way around a bag-pipe) to play a medley while the sun sets. During this ceremony, a canon is fired off (don’t worry – it’s just a blank for the theatrical effect) and serves as a welcomed tradition of regular diners and resort-goers alike. It’s also a great way to go out with a bang… (I’m so glad this isn’t a live audience… I’m sure I’d be hearing crickets right now.)

Top of the Rock | Branson, Missouri

Exit to the Great Outdoors

Once the post-drink exploring ensues, we roam through a cave wine bar and head outside to observe the final minutes of the sunset. Many moment-defining monuments can be found on the property – one of which, I was unable to pass up a photo op for – The End of the Trail of Tears.

Top of the Rock | Branson, Missouri

End of the Trail of Tears Statue

The placement is perfection and is a testament to what the true founders of this country endured. I love that the statue takes center stage, making a bold statement and draws undeniable attention.

Top of the Rock | Branson, Missouri

Observation Deck @ Top of the Rock

Last but not least, the observation deck. This sweet spot boasts incredible lakeside views surrounded by trees, sunsets and starry nights. You might see me opting for an Autumn time-share post-retirement. Until then, this trip will have to suffice. I still have the rest of the world to see… wink, wink.

 

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