The Cliffs™ at Long Creek are in Ridgedale, MO. The resort is close to Branson Airport, being about 14 miles away. So when you stay at Ridgedale, you can know that you are in the popular Branson MO area.
Video by Tripoyer
For me, it has been a few months since I had been, so I was excited to be going back.
Day One Arrival at The Cliffs™ at Long Creek
I had arrived at Branson Airport a short hop from Denver without any issue. This is a popular stop,, so it is less expensive than driving to fly out from Denver. That does not happen everywhere you travel,, so I certainly wanted to take advantage of the value. My ticket was less than $60 from Denver Airport to Branson Airport. From most parts of the country, flights to Branson are low cost as well because of the popularity of Branson. It is kind of like finding cheap tickets to Vegas.
Arriving at the small airport of Branson, you can still rent a car (if you have booked ahead) and things are much like flights into other airports. There are at least 4 rental car agencies at this airport thanks to the volume of visitors. A local vendor and many franchises are available.
I picked up my rental car and grabbed my bag and, in a few minutes, (20) I was already at the resort. This is a newer resort, and it is amazing to book into because it feels like a normal nice over the top resort when you are checking in, but a neighborhood feels if you check into one of the duplex-style homes.
These homes are giant 2 story homes that have 5 bedrooms and can sleep 13. The main lodge also has rooms that are 2 bedrooms but very spacious as options as well. I would stay with a friend in one of those units. A lodge 2 Bedroom Presidential is 1,809 SQ FT. They are much larger than traditional 2-bedroom villas virtually anywhere. I think most I stay in are around 1,000 SQ FT.
When you enter the lodge at the resort to check-in, you are overwhelmed by the stone and the wood. This is a lodge in every sense of the word, but it is also new and very up to date. I spoke with a member of staff during my check-in to arrange a visit to one of the unbooked 5-bedroom Presidential units so I could write about it for you and give you my first impressions. Even from the outside, they look very nice.
My room was again huge and so well-appointed that my date was blown away. She was a friend of many years that enjoyed shows and the kind of entertainment of Branson, so she was excited for staying near Branson before checking in. Now she joked she did not want to leave this resort.
It is hard to put together the comments of how nicely this resort was designed and the rooms are finished. The villas have all the standard amenities, but with the added size everything just seems very well done and laid out.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Activities Center
- BBQ Grills
- Fitness Room
- Business Center/Fax
- Hot Tub
- Indoor Pool
- Internet Access
- Mini Golf
- Marina/Boat Launch
- Outdoor Pool
- On-Site Security
Each of those amenities is finished in the same over-the-top refined style that is hard to explain or put your finger on. I hope the resort adds a 360 Virtual Tour at some point because this location needs more than the pictures to impress upon you how amazing the resort is. It is just very well designed. The flow impresses but also instantly puts you at ease.
When you have stayed at as many resorts and vacation spots as I have, you are shocked to still be left with your mouth open. This resort did that to me.
Now that we had checked in, it was time to get something to eat. So, we drove to Branson Landing and went to the Black Oak Grill. This was a neat spot that offered great burgers and local seafood, chicken, steak, and more. I chose the Chicken Fried Steak which when it is cooked right has a ton of flavor. My friend picked the Grilled Salmon we both enjoyed the meal, service, and location.
Day Two at The Cliffs™ at Long Creek
We started our day by hitting one of the outdoor pools early in the morning. It helped that it was heated. Then we showered and changed and went for breakfast at the Farmhouse Restaurant. I ordered the sausage and cheese omelet and dollar pancakes; me also added their potatoes as well. My gal ordered French toast. Each meal was cooked perfectly, and the breakfast was ready fast. Whoever was working the griddle had their act together.
When you are working a griddle for a busy restaurant, it takes skill and timing. I have done it to help a friend for a few days, many years ago. My first day was a challenge, even with all of my cooking experience. It was just busy and a great many moving pieces to hold together in your mind. The memory of that sticks with me and helps me respect great cooks.
One of the neat things about traveling on some days during the week is that you often catch special things that are not always available on the weekend. On this trip we would have the best of both worlds because we arrive on a Wed and were staying through Sat.
Today after breakfast on Thursday morning there was a show of Dublin’s Irish Tenors & The Celtic Ladies that started at 10 AM. We just had time to make it over to the Castle for the start of the show. It was a great program with some talented singers. The last I saw a show like this one was at Bush Gardens in Williamsburg Virginia when the park had changed ownership. The first year they had the Celtic Ladies around Christmas Time and it was a great show like this one.
After the show which was about 2 hours long. When we got out and moving, it was already noon. Time to look around town some and try to do a few of my favorite touristy things. We drove to the scenic railroad and were able to catch the 2 PM train time for the scenic ride. The trip is roughly 40 miles by train and they do a good job of showing you the sites along the way.
After the train ride, we were starting to think about a late lunch or early dinner, depending on how you look at 4 PM. We picked Paula Deans Restaurant for our next meal. Neither of us had been to one of her locations before, but I like country cooking so we thought we would give it a try. They offer their regular menu or the chance to eat 3 menu items family style with sides for an affordable price. I always love the idea of doing platters or combo meals when traveling to try more of a menu, so this was like that idea times four.
Our meal was pork chops, meatloaf, and chicken and dumplings. You also get 4 sides with the meal and we chose cream corn, collards, mac and cheese, and green beans.
The meal was as good as can be, and then we ordered the banana pudding. It was good, and I will let you be surprised whether it is served hot or cold. It seems like with Banana Pudding from the South it is normally served hot, but order it here you will like it.
After a huge late lunch, we went back to the resort to burn a few of the 10,000 calories (or however much we had just finished) around the pool.
Day Three Showtime
Today was Friday, and it is one of the biggest days of the week for shows in Branson. As you can imagine, they have shown throughout the week but on the weekends they are super busy. This means purchasing your tickets ahead of time, or getting reservations if this is a dinner show.
We started with a lie but sugary breakfast at hurts donut which has 70 donut varieties and these are larger than normal confections. Their website will amuse you but does not show many photos of the goods. Instead, they show their sense of humor with odd family-style photos for some of their donut namesakes.
There was a Krispy Kreme a few blocks away, but we chose to try something different and tried hurts.
After breakfast, we went to the Mount Pleasant Winery for the tour and some samples. This morning we were slow to get going,, so we made it a few minutes after they opened at 11 AM and headed out on their first tour of the winery for the day. After the tour, you are brought to the tasting room and given a chance to choose wines from their tasting menu. White wines taste first, followed by red wines, and then dessert wines. I liked one of the reds, so I had a case shipped to my home. That is a travel secret, never be afraid to have something from any store or location shipped. Most will be happy to ship your purchase for you. If not, you can always take something special from a store or location and ship it home yourself. It sure beats carrying things home on a plane.
The next stop we made was one I would not have done myself. I have never understood the draw to a wax museum. Maybe it was more of a thing when it was more difficult to see stars in the past? It is also possible that with the selfie craze and social media sharing of photos that it is more popular now. I am not sure. But I went along and had fun, even though it was not my thing.
I love people are willing to go along with me and do the things I enjoy, so I really try to do the same for others. I think it makes everyone’s trip nicer.
The wax museum also had a 5D theater that was interactive, and that was fun as well. It was kind of neat to see Bruce Lee since his wax was too scale. Amazing he was such a big star but in a little body.
Tonight we had tickets for a dinner show at the Shepard of the hills but that was still hours away. We were back to more touristy fun in the meantime. After some shopping, I waved the flag of surrender to hunger and we went to Mell’s Diner. This was nicely done, and they had singing staff for an extra mix of fun. The food was good, and the environment was positive. I grabbed one of my favorite items from a diner and that is a chili burger. There is just something about a griddle top cooked burger and chili that has slow-cooked all day. I am sure for every one of those I have eaten in my life I lost at least a few minutes of lifespan, at the time though it is worth it.
It is just something about a meaty messy burger with the cheese, chili and the overall moister that breaks apart even the best hamburger roll. Those things are nuts. They kind of taste like chili in a bread bowl if you have ever had that, just meatier.
A good diner has a sense to it. More than a restaurant, more than the chain dinner copies. Do not get me wrong, I like the chains where they do the little singing deal too, but for me having a 50-60s vibe and good food cooked on a griddle is all I need.
After the meal, we still how hours before the show tonight, which was a good thing because it included dinner too. I wanted to go somewhere to work off a few calories and also look around more.
We drove to a local amusement location and walked around for a while, then we got on the Ferris Wheel they are always a simple ride but this one was fun. It was smaller than the one I had been on a few months ago in Myrtle Beach South Carolina but it was in good shape and a fun escape from every day. I think mentally that Ferris Wheels impact you less after you have recently been on a plane. A few hundred feet is not is impressive as 35,000.
Another thing I am a sucker for is mini-golf. I played it a ton when I was young, so I treasure the opportunities to feel like a kid again and play. There are many great courses in Branson, I am sure, but this one was great for us. Lost Treasure Golf was the name, and the staff was nice, the location was great as far as the layout and decorations. This is owned by the same group that owns a mini-golf on the outer banks of NC, one of my childhood spots. Here you could see some of their designers work in the layout at set up.
The company also has locations in Myrtle Beach SC as well. So other than the Putt-Putt, franchise, my guess is these guys are the largest group around. Especially since they are in at least 8 other locations too. It must be nice to own a business focused on hospitality that just wants to make people happy.
Alright, that was some fun horsing around time for the show. The show was Funny Farm Dinner Feud, which was a comedy sketch show that focused on a country feud between two families. It had lots of funny little acts and a good cast. The food was a surprise as far as the taste and quality. Often the food at most dinner shows I find is just average, or sometimes below average. For this show, it was good.
Day Four things to do before you leave
Always on my last day in town on vacation, I ask myself what do I want to do before I go. This hits me even harder when I know it is a location that I will not be coming back to soon.
I recall my last trip to Hawaii. Part of me was feeling like this might be the last time I see Hawaii in person, another though was that I wanted to move to Hawaii. I likely would move to the islands if it was not for the cultural thing where the native islanders like travelers, but it takes some a decade or more to warm up to new residents. That and the costs to live on the larger islands. I struggled on that last trip to figure out what I felt I needed to do before leaving.
Here the feeling was not that sense of finality, or importance, but it was a tad concerning. On this trip I also had my friend with me so I just asked her what would she like to do today?
Her response shocked me a little, but also made me proud because I felt like I was rubbing off on her some. She wanted to go to this (in my opinion very touristy spot) Beyond The Lense the idea here is that you can become the center of attention in a Hollywood way. It was a fun concept. I think kids would like it for sure.
One of the many things you can do is take a photo with a money stack of $50,000,000 dollars. Which you can lay on, grab hold of, and generally manhandle for selfies. I would share a photo here, but a fat guy and a stack of money was too funny of a photo for me to share.
There is also a Hollywood Red Carpet, Alien Egg Room, and a ton of Virtual Reality thing to do. A virtual reality kind of ride that reminded me of Soaring at Disney because here too you fly past amazing sites from all over the world.
There was much more to see, so much so that we spent half a day at the location just playing and looking around. It was a fun spot my friend picked and I would go again in a year or two; it was that engaging.
Back to the airport for us and time to do the flights in reverse. But I can say this resort was fun and I would certainly stay here again. I liked the location being a little farther away from the town of Branson, but not so far that things took too much time to drive to. It was nice being away from crowds and always worth the drive.
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