10 Secrets of Big Cedar Lodge
6: You can build a fire in July
Crank up the AC so you can start a wood fire in the cabins. Johnny says so.
8: The best fishing is early in the shallow gravel beds
I remember when the first water came over Table Rock Dam and filled the lake,” Johnny says. “I was 10.” Thousands of fishing hours later, he is full of secrets (“Fish early and hit the shallow gravel beds for smallmouth.”) and determined to give back: Bass Pro Shops has put $2.5 million into the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s More Fish campaign for lake conservation.
10: The main road is Johnny’s decompression chamber
For Johnny, Big Cedar’s half-mile-long entry drive meanders from ridgetop to shoreline like a man walking in the woods, giving a mysterious sense of arrival for 600,000 guests every year. “The road is an escape,” Johnny says. “It’s my decompression chamber.” He’s currently building a second road, this one four times as long and leading cars through a limestone cave.
Best Economy Tips: Ski boats rent for $75 an hour, but canoes are free. Also, the dive-in movies for kids at the Swimming Hole (held four or five nights a week) are free.
Best Way To Get There: In May, the $140-million Branson Airport opened 10 miles from Big Cedar Lodge. From Atlanta and Dallas, Airtran flies for $89 one-way.
Big Cedar Lodge: www.big-cedar.com or 1-800-225-6343
photo: Johnny A. Morris