We went to Branson for a long weekend earlier this month. We flew on Southwest Airlines cause it was cheapest. We flew on the very first day that Southwest flew to Branson (more on that later). I'd never been on Southwest before and it was - different. We had to go to Hobby Airport to fly on Southwest, which was a trip in itself, literally. You drive through what I'm sure was once a decent part of Houston, but is now Little Mexico.
When we got into Branson, we looked out the window wondering where the terminal was.... well it was tiny. What we thought was a hanger was the terminal. There was what appeared to be a bandstand with a lot of people on it and lots of onlookers. We deplaned onto the tarmac, which I have done before in small airports, but never off of a jet. Our flight was the second Southwest flight to fly into Branson that day. We learned later that the first flight was met with a band, the singer Mickey Gilley, and lots of fanfare. How bizarre. People had come from far and wide to witness the spectacle. There were still some folks who had stayed to see our flight come in. Marc said he felt like a rock star.
So we walk over to the terminal and walk in and stop immediately with our mouths wide open. It was as if we'd walked into an Old West amusement park. The pic below tells the tale:
The decor was Old West and there was even a small fish pond in the center of the terminal. It kinda reminded me of Bass Pro Shop. I never saw any security officers. All I saw was souveniour shops and tourism booths. When we flew out we did encounter the security station. It was certainly laid back. I had picked up a Pampered Chef order from my niece to bring back and unbeknownst to me there was a paring knife in the order. The security officer pulled it out and said there's a knife in your carry on, would you like to check it or mail it. I feel certain that I would have made the news had this happened in Houston.
The pic below may look like Cracker Barrel, but it's just another part of the airport. This must be the staging area for the Old Fogies. Note the rocking chairs.
The scenery is so beautiful. Here's a shot of the town from an overlook:
Our ears popped continually, up and down the hills. We both ended up getting sick with sinus infections and both of us had to go to the doctor.
The hotel we stayed in was the Chateau On The Lake. It was a beautiful hotel with lots of amenities, right on Table Rock Lake. The hotel stay was a Christmas gift from the kids. After staying in Branson for a few days we drove down to Arkansas to stay for a couple days and visited with Dana and Mike.
While flying was certainly faster, I still prefer to drive. I like being on my own schedule and having the flexibility to come and go as I please. Our trip right after Christmas was during a terrible ice storm. We're certainly not used to driving in the snow and ice, much less on mountain roads. While it was a little tense in spots, it was a beautiful drive. The snow covered fields and hills were breathtaking.