Our first real “stop” in Branson, Missouri was the Grand Village Shops right along the main strip. The whole place was…big word here…a juxtaposition to what the main strip of Branson is. Whereas the city has a louder, party atmosphere, the Village Shops are more relaxed but no less colorful and lively. They house so many neat places, including Mel’s Hard Luck Diner, which you can read about in our article, Kringle’s Christmas Store, Sunrise Leather Works, and many others. There is definitely something here for everyone, including boutique clothing stores, a soap maker, an amazing woodworker, and a Thomas Kincaid gallery.
When we arrived, we stopped at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner first, and it’s a good thing we did. The place filled up quickly. Afterwards, though, we took a stroll around the entire village to check out the shops. The kids loved the toy store and Baby J snagged a little stuffed animal that he wouldn’t give up, so guess who got a new stuffed animal? Never satisfied, that kid.
The stores in The Grand Village are less Target and Walmart and more Renaissance Festival. They’re cool specialty options, though my personal favorites were the woodworking shop and the leather artisan. That isn’t to say you can’t go and get trendy clothes or gifts or souvenirs, just don’t go here thinking you’re walking into a convenience store. If anything, the two Christmas stores show just how well this place does year-round, as there were just as many people in those than there were in the souvenir shops.
Because the whole area has an outdoor courtyard and walkway that meanders through, many of the shop owners extend their square footage outside when the weather is right. It was a beautiful day when we went, so the whole place just felt super alive with the hustle and bustle of an old-town market with people checking out handmade items and wandering in and out of the shops. It was quaint, and that’s a word I don’t use often so just believe me.
So I’ve told you all about the shops, how you must visit, etc. But I have to add: we met a celebrity! He may not be a celebrity to y’all, but dangit if he isn’t to me and our middle child! He used to be the VP of advertising for freaking Huddle House, and now he works at one of the little shops in the Village. We talked about hash browns and breakfast food for like ten minutes, it was nice. He also mentioned how Branson was a retirement dream for him, because it’s lovely enough to be fun, but it never gets super crazy. That should tell anyone wanting to visit a lot about what this town offers. In our future blog posts and YouTube videos you’ll see what we mean, but in the meantime, go check out these shops online. 100% you’ll find something neat that you probably don’t need but suddenly do.