Heading to Branson

Tomorrow I leave to join a group of writer friends in Branson, MO for a weekend retreat. I can’t wait. It’s going to be fabulous. No only are we renting a house that has antique writing desks in every bedroom (the owner is a writer, herself!) but we will be filling the creative well with brainstorming sessions, quiet writing time, and play time, too.

On Friday night we are going to see the live production of Samson at the Sights and Sounds Theater.



On Saturday, we are participating in a Meet & Greet at the Taneyhills Library. We will be participating in a Christian Fiction Panel Discussion and interacting with readers – always a joy.


If you happen to be in the Branson area, we would love to have you come by.



On Sunday, thanks to a reader’s recommendation, a few of us plan to drive an hour to Mansfield to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder farmhouse and museum. This is the location where she and Almanzo lived out their later years and where Laura wrote all of the Little House on the Prairie books.

I’m so excited by the prospect of seeing Laura’s home and learning more about the woman who wrote the stories that inspired my love of pioneering the west. I grew up reading her books and faithfully watched every episode of the television series. I couldn’t possibly pass up the chance to see this!

As it turns out, the city of Branson itself evolved into a tourist haven because of a book. The Shepherd of the Hills was published in 1907. The book was written by Harold Bell Wright, a young minister who had spent extensive time visiting the Ozarks in southern Missouri near the Branson area. This story of mountain folklore and forgiveness became extremely popular. Almost overnight, tourists started flocking to Branson – the now famous Shepherd of the Hills area. The book has been made into a feature film four times – the most famous iteration staring everyone’s favorite cowboy – John Wayne.

  • Have you ever visited a Laura Ingalls Wilder museum? I think there are a couple across the midwest.
  • Have you read or seen Shepherd of the Hills?
  • Have you ever visited Branson, MO?
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For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

24 thoughts on “Heading to Branson”

  1. I have to say no to all your questions. I think I need to explore these things. Thanks so much for the great post. Have a great time and I look forward to hearing more.

    • Thanks for the well wishes Debra. I have to admit that my current answer is no to all those questions as well. 🙂 By next week I’ll get to answer yes to at lest two of the them, I hope.

  2. Karen- Go have a great time. I’ve bisited Brandon back when I was young, not even in high school and loved it, it was a happening place back then so I can only imagine what it would be like today. Have fun and come back here and blog about your trip and share more on the great time you had. Safe travels.

  3. This sounds like a blast! Enjoy! I too loved Little House on the Prairie! I now want to go to the museum! I had no idea how Branson became popular. I’ve only been there as a child so I’d love to go again and then go to the museum too. No I’ve never seen Shepherd of the Hills. I’ve never read any of yours or the other authors books. I’m a newbie to reading. I hadn’t read in decades and I just started reading again 17 months ago. I’m headed to finishing my 125th book! Oh my the adventures I’ve been on. I have MS so the majority of my adventures are through reading. The home you ladies will be staying in sounds awesome! Enjoy your trip.

    • I forgot to say giveaways are an excellent way to discover new authors to add to my go to authors list. I tend to only venture to new authors this way, coming across books at garage sales and thrift stores or be gifted them from a friend. Disability income doesn’t afford me the ability to buy new books that I’m not even sure I will enjoy.

  4. I have seen Shepherd of the Hills. John Wayne has always been my favorite actor.No to your other two questions.

  5. Karen, you are in for a treat when you visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum. We made that trip a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The cemetery where Laura and Alonzo are buried is in town so don’t miss that. Branson is always busy and there is always something to do. If you have a moment there, be sure to go to Dick’s 5&10. There you can pick up a copy of Shepherd of the Hills….a wonderful story, for sure!

    Have fun!

  6. This sounds like it’s going to be a very inspirational trip. I love the fact that each room has an antique writing desk. That should help the creativity get going. I have never been to Branson, but it sounds like it would be a fun place to go.

    • I have to admit that finding this house was one of the main reasons we decided to hold out retreat in Branson. The house is owned by a writer and she obviously understands us. I can’t wait to check it out and see which room I end up in. 🙂 Fun times!

  7. Oh Karen! Lucky you! I just posted about Branson last month myself–mainly because my husband and I are going there in May for three days and I wanted suggestions on what to do there. (I received MANY wonderful ideas of things to do from our readers.) I already have tickets for Samson and we are taking a day for Silver Dollar City. There is so much to do there that we may have to make a second trip LOL!

    What an amazing lineup of authors! I’ve read books from all of them and sure wish I could be there to ask questions and mingle! Have a terrific time! I’ll be thinking of you!

    • Thanks, Kathryn. I think the hardest part is going to be knuckling down and actually writing during this writing retreat instead of sight-seeing the whole time. There will be much we won’t have time to do, but maybe I’ll make a second trip just for fun. Have a great time in May when you go!

  8. Yes there is a small museum in southern Minnesota with stuff from her childhood and her family of course. No never been to branson.

  9. Yes, the on in Missouri. I recommend you read the new biography of LIW and Rose when you return home. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. It made that time come alive and just to be aware a very realistic and human biography

  10. Hi Karen, I’ve never been to Branson or visited a Laura Ingalls Wilder museum but I would love to do both. I also was unfamiliar with the connection of Branson and Harold Lloyd Wright. Thanks for sharing and I hope that you have a great retreat. I must say that the patrons of Taneyhills Library are in for a treat!

  11. We had a military unit reunion in Branson in 2013. It was not a place I had wanted to visit. We don’t really care for the showy, touristy type of places. To our surprise, we had a good time. The tourist bureau was extremely helpful to our group and did all they could to make our get together a success. Sadly I did not realize the farm was that close. We would have gladly spent a day there. There were several Civil War sites we wanted to visit as well, so another trip through there is a good possibility. We will definitely be stopping at the farm on that trip.
    I have just checked the map and the Almonzo Wilder Homestead Farm in Northern New York is less than 50 miles from where I grew up. Next time we are up there visiting family, we will be visiting the farm.
    I will have to look for one of the Shepherd of the Hills movies to watch.

  12. I haven’t been to Branson. I know there’s a Sight & Sound theater in Lancaster Co, Pa, and I’ve driven past it, but I haven’t been in it.

    I would love to go to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum.

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