Monthly Archives: January 2008

Reliving Country Music’s Past in Branson, MO

A weekend of experiencing Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and Jim Reeves would be a dream come true to country music and western lifestyle enthusiasts, and just such a time can be found in Branson, MO! From reliving the classic sounds and sights that you grew up with as a kid to helping a new generation become acquainted with classic country, Branson can directly place you in the heart of the west through a variety of live shows and attractions. And whether visiting for a day or an entire week, you should find more than enough to keep you entranced in the past for a vacation that will do more than show you another part of our nation, but show you an entirely different era as well!

Hank and Patsy, Together Again

Randy Steffen and Susan Hudson star in this classic ode to Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. You’ll see country music’s king and queen take to the stage one more time for an unforgettable experience that will amaze through its authenticity. From “Honky Tonkin’” to “Sweet Dreams,” you’ll be able to relive all of your favorites live one last time.

Jim Reeves Tribute Show with Nephew John Rex Reeves

Country sensation Jim Reeves was on the fast-track to international stardom until an ill-fated plane crash ended his shining life short, though he is still remembered through countless fans, and through the performance of his nephew John Rex Reeves. The talents and charisma of Jim carry on flawlessly through John, and will leave audience members feeling as if they’ve actually seen Jim take to the stage.

Roy Rogers Dale Evans Museum

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans captivated a generation of children, showing them exactly what it meant to be a cowboy and cowgirl. Through their caring characters and catchy tunes they quickly rose to the forefront of all that it was to be a western icon. And with the Roy Rogers Dale Evans Museum you’ll find an in-depth look at their lives, and the legacy they left behind. Additionally, Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr. holds regular performances at the museum, offering the chance for a look into the lives of Roy and Dale, as well as a memorable show paying tribute to the cowboy persona that they helped to build.

Grand Ole Opry Schedule of Performers For February 1 & 2

Please Note: The Grand Ole Opry does not release final lineups until the Wednesday prior to each performance. This list will be updated weekly as new performers are confirmed and added to the lineup.

Friday, February 1 – Order Tickets

Jim Ed Brown
The Whites
Danielle Peck
Jimmy Dickens
Connie Smith
Josh Gracin
Jimmy C. Newman
Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
Riders In The Sky
Jack Greene

Saturday, February 2 – Order Tickets

6:30 performance

Jimmy Dickens
The Whites
James Otto
Jimmy C. Newman
Connie Smith
The Time Jumpers
George Hamilton IV
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Jack Greene
Jim Ed Brown
Old Crow Medicine Show
Opry Square Dancers
Riders In The Sky
John McEuen with sons Jonathan & Nathan
Lee Greenwood

9:30 performance

Jimmy Dickens
The Whites
The Time Jumpers
George Hamilton IV
Connie Smith
James Otto
Jim Ed Brown
Old Crow Medicine Show
Opry Square Dancers
Riders In The Sky
John McEuen with sons Jonathan & Nathan
Lee Greenwood

February Offers A Varied Time of Antiques in Nashville, TN

Mid-February in Nashville brings a double dose of antiques as both the Heart of Country Antiques Show and Antiques and Garden Show are presented. The Heart of Country Antiques Show takes place February 14 – 16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, while the Antiques and Garden Show is held at the Nashville Convention Center from February 14 – 17.

Throughout the Heart of Country Antiques Show visitors will find a patriotic display with special exhibits ranging from quilts to jewelry. Additionally, a number of private dealers will be on-hand to showcase their personal collections, and Mary Emmerling, renowned author and designer, will be on hand to sign autographs and answer any questions you may have. Whether looking to pick up a few particular pieces to add to your collection or merely hoping to be immersed in an informative time of antiques, the Heart of Country Antiques Show is shaping up to offer antiques enthusiasts a varied time.

If the Heart of Country Antiques Show isn’t enough, the Antiques and Garden Show will also be running the same weekend for an all out celebration of antiques in Nashville, TN. Entering its 18th showing, the Antiques and Garden Show combines antiques and the art of decorative landscape. Throughout the show guests will find 150 booths displaying a wide range of antiques, as well as numerous gardens specifically designed for the weekend. In addition to the many exhibits of antiques and landscaping, guests will also find a number of lectures being held from the likes of Alexa Hampton from the Mark Hampton LLC design firm, David Kleinberg from David Kleinberg Design Associates, and Renny Reynolds and Jack Staub from the Hortulus Farm Nursery and Gardens.

And for those that can find time to squeeze in a little sightseeing between the Heart of Country Antiques Show and Antiques and Garden Show, a visit to the Ryman Auditorium can offer an authentic look into the past of Nashville for a perfect compliment to your weekend of antiques. Known as “The Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium is most noted for its long tenure as the home of the Grand Ole Opry, and stands today as a National Historic Landmark and popular concert hall. Along a Ryman Auditorium Self-Guided Tour you’ll have the chance to explore not only one of the nation’s most cherished concert venues, but also explore a variety of authentic memorabilia tied to the Grand Ole Opry.

This February, make your next vacation a true trip into the past with Nashville, TN, the Heart of Country Antiques Show, and the Antiques and Garden Show!

VacationsMadeEasy.com Turns Its Focus Towards Spring Break 2008!

While much of the country is still wrapped in chilly weather, Vacations Made Easy is planning for the warm weather ahead with a focus on 2008 Spring Break vacation ideas. Popular Spring Break staples including Miami and Cancun can certainly be found at VacationsMadeEasy.com, though alternative options including Las Vegas, Vancouver and Branson are also well represented on the travel site through activities, lodging options and vacation packages.

The site has recently updated its home page with a helpful article highlighting ideas for some of the more popular Spring Break destinations, though those looking for an extremelly specific experience would do well to delve into all that the individual cities featured on Vacations Made Easy. In total, you’ll find travel options for over 130 destinations throughout North America!

Additionally, those that would like a unique Spring Break experience, but don’t know where to start, may find the website’s many vacation packages to be a helpful way to find the perfect plan. In particular, the Cancun Water Adventure, 5-Day Walt Disney World Vacation Package, Best of Los Angeles Comprehensive Package and Explore Miami Sightseeing Package can all offer extended Spring Break getaways packed with activity.

Even if you won’t be able to get away in time for Spring Break, Vacations Made Easy has a variety of activities, lodging and complete vacation packages that can be booked well into the winter of 2008, offering you the chance to start making your 2008 vacation plans today, regardless of when you’ll actually be able to escape.

Whether you’re dead set on a full two-weeks of revelry come March, or perhaps will need to push your Spring Break into June or July, you’ll find all of the tools and reservation options needed for a successful and care-free planning experience at VacationsMadeEasy.com!

Line-Up Announced For the 2008 Ryman Bluegrass Nights Concert Series

Ryman Bluegrass Nights is once again returning to the Ryman Auditorium this summer for a six-part series, and the performers have been announced! Carrying on the tradition started by Earl Scruggs in the 1940’s, this legendary showcase will bring today’s biggest names in bluegrass to country music’s biggest stage – the famed Ryman. And whether you’re looking to hear traditional sounds of modern bluegrass’ beginning or are hoping to experience today’s true innovators, there’s a concert waiting for you with this always popular concert series. Check below for a complete list of performers for the 2008 Ryman Bluegrass Nights.

2008 Ryman Bluegrass Nights Performers:

The Legendary Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends – June 26

As the godfather of bluegrass music, Earl Scruggs is the perfect selection to kick-off this popular, annual series. Scruggs introduced his distinctive syncopated, three-finger picking to the world in 1945, and to this day continues to be one of the true showmen in bluegrass.

Vince Gill – July 3

Popular country artist Vince Gill began his musical career in a bluegrass band, and though he’s taken to a number of different genres over the years, he’s still well adept at pickin’. And while it may be his starpower that draws the crowd, it is sure to be his musical talents that keep the crowd entertained.

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage with IIIrd Tyme Out and Dailey & Vincent – July 10

Rhonda Vincent has strived to be an ambassador of sorts for bluegrass throughout her career, and through both her passion and talents she’s been able to reach an entirely new generation with the down home sounds of bluegrass.

Cherryholmes and The Grascals – July 17

Cherryholmes is a family bluegrass band offering traditional sounds through two generations of family. They will be accompanied by the emerging group The Grascals for a look at both traditional and neo-traditional bluegrass.

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Special Guest The Whites – July 24

Just as with Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs has managed to find mainstream sucess while still clinging to the roots of bluegrass music. Accompanied by his band Kentucky Thunder and country vocalists The Whites, this is sure to be a well-rounded night of bluegrass entertainment.

Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys with Steep Canyon Rangers – July 31

Renowned bluegrass instrumentalist Ralph Stanley will take to the stage alongside his band, The Clinch Mountain Boys, and emerging new artists Steep Canyon Rangers for a perfect finale to Ryman Bluegrass Nights.

Southern Exposure Offers Winter Excitement in Gatlinburg, TN

This February 8, Ober Gatlinburg will be hosting its Southern Exposure, offering visitors a premier time of skiing and snowboarding competitions. Throughout the day a variety of skiing and snowboarding competitions will be held, ranging from races to big air competitions, as well as a cardboard sled derby. And whether you’re interested in actually participating or simply spectating, winter adventure will abound during this always festive event. Come experience the Smokies during the winter at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort with the annual Southern Exposure!

While in the Gatlinburg area for Southern Exposure you’ll definitely want an Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram Pass for a convenient and exciting way to ascend to Ober Gatlinburg. The counter-balanced tramway can hold up to 120 people, and makes for an extremely convenient way to travel from downtown Gatlinburg to Ober Gatlinburg. What’s more, the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram Pass is good for two days of unlimited use, providing the perfect way to travel while experiencing Southern Exposure.

And while the Ober Gatlinburg Tram can offer a panoramic view of the area, those looking for a more intimate escape into the Smokies need look no further than a horseback ride. Along this peaceful tour you’ll explore the base of the Smokies from atop horseback as a knowledgeable guide leads you through the many trails and twists of the area. And the best part is that whether you’re a professional rider or have never even been on a horse before, the tours can be custom fit to tailor your exact skill level.

Current Disney World Refurbishments & February Magic Hours

To help ensure that you find a truly magical experience during your next Walt Disney World vacation, we’ve highlighted all of the attractions throughout the various theme parks that will be shut down throughout January and February. This way, you can be sure that you’ll find the exact thrills your expecting, all in working order!

  • Minnie’s Country House: toontown fairMagic Kingdom                        
    • January 1 – February 2, 2008
  • Splash MountainMagic Kingdom                                                                      
    • January 1 – February 16, 2008
  • Blizzard Beach                                                                                                                   
    • January 6 – March 8, 2008
  • Snow White’s Scary AdventureMagic Kingdom                                      
    • January 28 – February 16, 2008

All of the above parks and rides will be shut down for general maintenance, however that’s not to say that February visitors will be lacking in fun. Every month Disney World features what is called Extra Magic Hours to offer guests the chance to make the most out of their visit to its magical theme parks. Essentially, each park featured in Disney World has specific dates throughout the month when it will have extended hours of operation. Any visitor with a Magic Your Way Ticket will be able to take advantage of the extra hours, which will begin before normal park hours or extend past the typical closing times anywhere from one to three hours. Below, you’ll find a complete list of Extra Magic Hours for February to help in planning your next visit to Disney World!

Walt Disney World’s Morning Extra Magic Hours in February, 2008

Magic Kingdom: 7, 14, 21, 28
Epcot: 5, 12, 19
Disney-MGM Studios: 2, 9, 16, 23, 26
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 4, 11, 18, 25

Walt Disney World’s Evening Extra Magic Hours in February, 2008

Magic Kingdom: 3, 10, 17, 24
Epcot: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Disney-MGM Studios: 7, 14, 18, 25
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 6, 13, 20, 27

Branson Offers Two Exciting, New Golf Options to Visitors in 2008

Golf enthusiasts will find two exciting additions to Branson in 2008 in the form of Murder Rock Golf Course and the Payne Stewart Tribute Course. Though Murder Rock did open in the fall of 2007, the Payne Stewart Tribute Course is set to open in the summer of 2008, offering golf enthusiasts an unprecedented selection of quality courses when visiting the Ozarks.

Murder Rock’s attention-grabbing name comes from the lore of the area itself. Legend holds that a local gang used to ambush travelers near the area the course is set. Of course, if the unique tie to the Ozarks wasn’t enough to intrigue golfers, PGA professional John Daly’s endorsement should. John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf Course is a par 71 course, and situated within the Branson Creek Residential Community, just south of Branson.

As for the Payne Stewart Tribute Course, it will attempt to carry on the local legacy of Stewart, and features local PGA professional Bob Allen as its Head Golf Professional. In addition to paying tribute to Payne Stewart and being home to Bob Allen, the course itself was designed by PGA professional Bobby Clampett.

Aside from Murder Rock and the Payne Stewart Tribute Course, Branson is also home to numerous other great golf options that include Branson Creek, Holiday Hills, Ledgestone C.C., Pointe Royal Golf Resort, Thousand Hills Golf Resort and Top of the Rock Golf Course.

Winter Vacation Ideas in Branson, MO

January may be considered Branson’s “down time,” though that’s certainly not to say there is nothing to do in the Ozarks once the holidays have come and gone. While many of the area shows do close down their doors during the months of January and February, travelers will still find a wide spread of activities thriving throughout winter to offer Branson visitors a magical time no matter the season. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the more popular options that will be running throughout the entirety of winter to help spark ideas for your next Branson getaway this New Year.

Titanic – The Legend Continues

Titanic – The Legend Continues offers an authentic look into the history of the Titanic through more than 400 artifacts linked to the historic passenger cruise ship. Both the Titanic itself and the many individuals who were on-board for the ill-fated voyage are explored in depth, giving both a historical and humanitarian feel to the museum and the story it tells. If you have any interest in the Titanic you simply must visit this museum at least once, though even if you barely know the story of the Titanic you can still find an interesting experience awaiting.

 Magnificent 7

Magnificent 7 presents a varied romp through musical history as more than 30 songs are covered complete with 150 costume changes! And with such variety, you can be sure that there is no downtime throughout the performance! Running through legendary acts including Elvis Presley, Blues Brothers and other classics, this show provides a veritable who’s who of American entertainment. What’s more, with Magnificent 7 you can opt to see the show by itself, or enjoy the show with a delectable chicken or steak dinner before the performance. If you can’t decide on any one style of entertainment, then experience it all with Magnificent 7!

 Hollywood Wax Museum

Let Hollywood come alive right in the heart of the Ozarks at the Hollywood Wax Museum. You’ll encounter more than 170 extremely detailed renditions of some of the most famous faces in politics, sports, movies, music and more! From confronting Don Corleone on an apartment stoop with his fellow gangsters at your side to taking a seat alongside Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, you’ll be able to relive your favorite moments in entertainment for good times and great photo opportunities.

The SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards & Convention Visits Nashville, TN

Nashville may be best noted for its tremendous display of country music, but January 31 through February 3 it will be bluegrass that takes center stage as the SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards & Convention visits the Sheraton Music City Hotel. Making its 32nd annual appearance in Nashville, the SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards & Convention highlights only the best in the world of bluegrass through performances and an awards show. Aside from the official proceedings of the event, you’ll also find a variety of musical workshops, band showcases and various other activities taking place throughout the weekend for a full and varied time of bluegrass!

The actual awards ceremony is set for the last night of the event, though those wanting to fully experience all that the SPBGMA Bluegrass Awards & Convention has to offer will definitely want to arrive in town a few days early. Below is a tentative schedule of events centered around this great time of bluegrass to help travelers plan accordingly.

34th Annual SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards & Convention Tentative Schedule of Events

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bluegrass Gospel Concert – Set to include Billie Renee’ & Cumberland Gap, NewFound Road and more

Friday, February 1, 2008

Banjo Workshop

Trade Exhibits

Showcase of Bands – Set to include JD Crow & The New South, Chris Jones & The Reno Tradition, NewFound Road and more

Saturday, February 2, 2008

International Band Championship – Set to include Dailey & Vincent, Dean Osborn Band, Kentucky Blue and more

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gospel Music Concert – Set to include The Martin Family, Shallow Creek, Bluegrass Brigade and more

34th Annual SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards Show – Hosted by Rarely Herd with performances by Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Rarely Herd, Ronnie Bowman, The Grascals, Lewis Family and IIIrd Tyme Out