Friday Wrap: Trip to Big Cedar

The kids start school in a week, so we decided to take a last-minute, mini vacay up to Branson, MO to enjoy the final days of summer.

Here are a few highlights of the week, which was mostly spent at Big Cedar Lodge. This is a beautiful wilderness resort packed with activities for families if you’re ever looking for a great getaway. Sorry to sound like a brochure, but it’s all true.

{ONE} The Views

scenic viewsThis was the view right outside of our room in Falls Lodge. That’s Table Rock lake through the lush trees. We canoed around the water one day. We also tried paddleboats. If you want to go very far, do NOT go the paddleboat route – unless you have legs like Lance Armstrong, which I do not. (Someone come tow me already.)

{TWO} Lost Canyon

lost canyon

The whole resort is tucked alongside a mountain, so there are countless waterfalls, caves, and canyons to explore. This pic was inside of Lost Canyon, which looks more rustic and outdoorsy than it really was. What you don’t see is the golf cart we were riding. Oh, and the fancy drinks we ordered at Bat Cave Bar just at the top of the waterfall there. I love the great outdoors and all, but this was my kind of exploring. Notice the smiles?

{THREE} Sunset Rituals

sunset rituals

At Top of the Rock, which is adjacent to Big Cedar – and all owned by the same guy – there are two amazing golf courses, three restaurants and a natural history museum. We didn’t get to all of the activities, but we were sure to catch this one. Every night at 8pm, at the tippy top of the rock, the resort hosts a sunset ritual to honor the people who have gone before us. It started with the most amazing sunset view over the water while a man played bagpipes. As we listened to the music, a group of men dressed in Civil War attire (who came out of nowhere) loaded and shot a cannon! It was as loud as you might imagine, but such a cool experience for all of us.

{FOUR} Cosmic Cavernscave dwellers

Just a few miles away from Big Cedar are tons of interesting things to explore – like Cosmic Caverns. I say “explore” but it was really a well-orchestrated walking tour that took us 372 feet below the earth’s surface. If the thought of that gives you instant claustrophobia, I was the SAME way. It wasn’t bad, though. It was well lit, and you were distracted by amazing rock formations – like these stalagmites. I especially love those colorful ones with sweet faces.

{FIVE} Dogwood Canyon

dogwood canyon

One of our favorite spots, which we’ve been to several times before, is Dogwood Canyon. It’s a privately owned park that has bike and hiking trails, wildlife tours, archery courses, and (as you can see) tons of waterfalls. We rode bikes through the canyon this time, and it was so beautiful. We got lucky with the weather. It had just rained, so it was cooler than usual. The only downside was a little bike collision with Clara and Evan, but it wasn’t anything a little ice couldn’t fix. And it wouldn’t be an Andersen family vacation without someone getting a bump or bruise. Seriously.

We’re wrapping up our little getaway today, but it’s not as sad as it usually is on days like this because we’re picking up a new puppy this afternoon.

That’s right! We’re getting a Mini Goldendoodle puppy on our way home. Eeek! Wish us luck, and I promise to post all kinds of pictures of him as soon as I can get my hands on that sweet fur ball.

Here’s to an exciting (and maybe a little sleepless) weekend ahead!

-Kate

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