Best Summer Ever!

SUmmer is finally here, and we’re here to help you make it the best summer ever!

By Ettie Berneking I Photo by Chuck Travers


Master the Standup Paddleboard

Being able to gracefully paddle around the lake atop a standup paddleboard is still on our to-do list, but we’re improving, and you can, too. Under the guidance ofthe lovely and incredibly fit Jodelle Fitzwater, you can hopefully limit your tumbles to only a few belly flops. She teaches standup paddleboard yoga through Williams Brothers Ski and Sports (348 Nautical Circle, Kimberling City, 417-772-4921,, and she offers private lessons through Get Fit With Jodelle (

Bonus: You can become the proud owner of a standup paddleboard by stopping in at a local retailer that sells them, such as Ozark Adventures, Dynamic Earth, Bass Pro Shops, Ozark Paddleboards, Williams Brothers Ski and Sports or Ski Shack.

Watch the Sun Come Up

We hope you like early morning wake up calls, because this one is a real doozy! Out at Springfield Lake Park, you will find The Greater Ozark Audubon Trail (5324 S. Kissick Ave., Springfield). This super-short trek leads you up to a bluff that looks out onto the lake below. Pack a light breakfast, a Thermos of coffee and a few blankets to curl up in, and watch the sun come up over the lake. We promise you won’t be sorry.

Pick all the Berries you can Carry

The fields at Persimmon Hill Farm (367 Persimmon Hill Ln., Lampe, 417-779-5443, persimmonhillcom) are covered with lush blueberry bushes ready to be picked. You can also go home with gourmet jams, berry-based barbecue sauces, berry butters and other delicious treats. They’re nuts about berries here! Berry season picks up in June when the farm is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Savor the Whip

No summer would be complete without a stop at Pineapple Whip for a sweet and creamy treat. Whether you enjoy your whip piled high on a cone or prefer to scoop each refreshing bite out of a cup, this Springfield original is a summer-must. Take a giant lick of grape, strawberry-kiwi, orange, mango-peach, nanagranite or the original pineapple. Just look for the hip shaking beckoning of Lulu, the grass-skirted rooftop fixture that marks the three Springfield Pineapple Whip locations. Or visit to find a location near you, and launch yourself into a flavor-packed summer.

Learn to Wakeboard

Turns out you don’t have to be 18 and too cool for school to rock the wakeboard. It also turns out you don’t have to faceplant in front of your smug friends and fellow water enthusiasts in order to become a wakeboarding pro. Just wade out onto the cablepark in the backyard of The Ski Shack ( At 600 feet long and 100 feet wide, this is the perfect place for beginners to learn the sport of wakeboarding. You don’t even need to bring your boat! Riders are pulled along by a pulley system with speeds hitting as high as 30 miles per hour. Group lessons and private lessons are available, so go unleash your inner Evel Knievel and hit the open water.

Build a sand castle

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy building sandcastles on the beach. In fact, now that you’re a full-fledged adult, your sandcastle should be even more amazing! We’re talking moats, trapdoors, towering spires and a drawbridge that would make King Arthur jealous. This calls for plenty of sand and room to work, which means you’re due for a trip to Moonshine Beach (3778 S. State Hwy. 165, Branson). This is the only sandy swimming beach along Table Rock Lake. And once you’re done basking in the glory of your creative brilliance, you can take a dip in the water, picnic in the shady shelter or take up a game of volleyball.

Get Tipsy in a Cave

The next time Friday rolls around and you’re thinking of mixing up a few cocktails on your kitchen counter, stop. Get in the car, and head to Top of The Rock ( Besides offering fine dining paired with some of the most amazing views of Table Rock Lake, this Branson getaway boasts one of our favorite boozy retreats: a cave bar! Accessible from the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail, you’ll find several tasty cocktails to enjoy at the Bat Bar (we recommend John L’s Lemonade). After you’ve tipped one back, finish up your scenic ride and head to the the top of the property to continue sipping beverages at the End of the Trail All-American Wine Cellar, where you’ll find a wine-tasting bar, a whiskey room and a cigar room.

Sip on a Shake at Billy Bob's Dairyland

For 15 years, this old-fashioned burger joint has graced the main drag through Branson. Known for its griddle burgers and fried pies, Billy Bob’s Dairyland (1907 B W. Hwy. 76, Branson) is also a great place to suck down a giant malt or milkshake. What makes these filling behemoths so lip-smacking good is their simplicity. Creamy Hiland Dairy ice cream and an array of sundae toppings are thrown together to create chocolate-packed, caramel-laced, fudge-topped shakes you can’t help but eagerly slurp up. And if you’re new to Billy Bob’s, try the popular peanut butter fudge malt. And ask for two straws. Weighing in at 20 ounces, these shakes are meant to be shared with someone special.

Cycle the Entire Length of the Frisco Highline Trail

That’s right! The gauntlet has been thrown! Okay, so it’s a small challenge, a leisurely challenge, a challenge with some great sightseeing and picnicking stops along the way, but it’s a challenge all the same. The Frisco Highline Trail is 35 miles long and connects Springfield and Bolivar with several scenic stops along the way. Almost half of this trail is crushed gravel, so hop on your hybrid bike for this ride. If you’re starting from Springfield, pedal your way to mile marker 23 and the Sac River bridge that was built in the 1800s. The huge stone pillars and the view of the river below make this a great place to stop and rest those legs. And if you need a lengthier break, look for the signs that lead you to 7C’s Winery, which is just 1.5 miles off the trail. But don’t quit there! At mile marker 32, La Petite Gemme Prairie is worth every sore muscle and aching tush. Summer turns this grassy prairie into a sea of native flowers that’s definitely worth the ride. 

Make the Best Homemade Ice Cream Ever

Once you’ve reached a certain age, chasing down the ice cream man might not be so socially acceptable. So instead of licking the gumball eyes off that half-melted Tweety bird, do the adult thing and whip up a batch of homemade ice cream. And if you’ve never attempted this summer favorite before, you’re in luck. We called up Chef Robert Stricklin with The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks and loaded up on helpful tips for pulling off soft and creamy homemade ice cream. We even got him to share a recipe. 

Helpful Tips

  • Go for the fat! If there’s not enough fat in the ice cream, it starts to taste icy and loses that smoothness you want. 
  • Age your ice cream. Chill your mixture overnight before putting it into the ice cream machine. It will give the best results and will develop the flavors.
  • Add mix-ins (chocolate chips, cookies, nuts, etc.) after the ice cream is made. Fold them in by hand.
  •  Eat it when it’s fresh! Ice cream is best when eaten within two to three days of making it.


Mascarpone Raspberry Ice Cream

courtesy Robert Stricklin of The Keeter Center

 Ingredients for the ice cream base: 
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split

Ingredients for the raspberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
½ cup granulated sugar

Make the ice cream base by whisking the egg yolks in a medium-size heat-proof bowl until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Set aside. Combine the milk and cream along with the vanilla bean in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 170°F. Remove mixture from heat. Remove the vanilla bean, and using the back of a knife, scrape the seeds from the beans, then add back into the warm milk. To temper the egg yolks, pour a splash of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk rapidly. Then pour all of the yolks into the milk and cream, and return the mixture to the heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the custard base thickens and the instant read thermometer reaches 185°F. (The custard should coat the back of a spoon.) Remove the custard base from the heat, and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Stir in the mascarpone cheese, and let strained mixture cool for 5 minute. Cover the Ice cream base, and chill in the refrigerator until completely cool (Chill overnight for best results.) Place ¼  cup of raspberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir constantly, reduce heat if needed. After sugar and raspberries have cooked, remove from heat, and mix in the remaining ¼ cup of raspberries. Set aside to cool. 


New Summer Brews

B is Bananas

Oh the hefeweizen. That deep, fruity banana flavor is everything dreams are made of, and from June through August, Springfield Brewing Company (305 S. Market Ave., Springfield, 417-832-8377, is bringing back its Clove Hitch Hefeweizen. Rejoice! Between the malted wheat, rich cloves and fruity banana flavor, what’s not to like about this brew?

Going Blonde

With oversized glass bottles, boozy triples and a new spacious patio, White River Brewing Company (505 W. Commercial St., Springfield, 417-869-1366, never disappoints. And its latest summer pint, the Buck Hollow Blonde, is another winner. So pull up a chair on the patio, order a Pizza House pie for delivery and enjoy the night.

Skip Day

Unlike senior year, this is one time when skipping out would not be such a wise decision, especially when the always-creative Mother’s Brewing Company (215 S. Grant Ave., Springfield, 417-862-0423, is unveiling its new summer brew—Skip Day Session IPA. With just 3.9 percent ABV, this cold one is made for easy drinking, and the light malt sweetness and sweet medley of passion fruit and stone fruit makes this beverage a refresher.

Honey Dearest

In honor of summer and all the hobby farms and backyard gardens that spring up when that last frost thaws, Piney River Brewing Company (15194 Walnut Grove Dr, Bucyrus, 417-967-4001, is launching its new blonde ale, Hobby Farm. So swing by the brewery’s BARn, which now has taproom hours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and crack open one of these tasty brews. Sit back and enjoy the flavors of sweet honey and fresh basil.


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