By Misti Blu Day McDermott
You may have heard of Ozark on Netflix, an American crime drama with Jason Bateman that takes place in the Missouri Ozarks. Technically, the show was not filmed in the Ozarks or even in Missouri, but it did weirdly bring some interesting attention to the Ozarks. The Ozarks are located in the southernmost (and west) region of Missouri and even spills over into Arkansas and Oklahoma. A popular must-see spot is Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Missouri. Everyone comes here to get some sunshine, take a spin on a jet ski, swim, boat rides, fishing, or just enjoying the view from their tent or cabin.
Branson is quite an interesting place. It’s very touristy and very country. My favorite part about the area is that there are many caves. Missouri is actually known as the cave state due to the 6,300 known caverns. Missouri, the Show-Me-State, is a major center for beer brewing and home for Anheuser-Busch, which is the largest beer producer in the world. As many know, besides Trump, Kansas City Chiefs are from Missouri and they won the Super Bowl this year.
Springfield, MO is home to Missouri State University and has a population of 168,122 (in 2018). The original Bass Pro Shop is massive and originates in Springfield. When you go downtown, you’ll see great food spots with one-of-a-kind flair owned by locals, artsy salons (Blu Skies Salon), local art galleries, and coffee shops. Springfield is home to A Beautiful Mess (@abeautifulmess), once a small local art, fashion, and baked goods shop owned by two sisters that has flourished into a huge successful blog and business. Brad Pitt also went to high school at Kickapoo High.
The donuts are better than anywhere else, Andy’s Frozen Custard is a must, and Cashew Chicken is famously from Springfield. The food is good, the people are sweet, and the seasons change. Expect the heat to hit the triple digits in the summer, snow in the winter, beautiful changing leaves and hot apple cider in the fall, and tulips, daffodils and peonies growing on the side of the road in spring. Missouri may not be on your bucket list but it’s a charming little gem.