Located right off I-44, minutes from the main gate at Ft. Leonard Wood military base, Liberty Lodge is a pleasant, affordable stay. Whether you find yourself heading to Ft. Leonard Wood for a daughter’s graduation from military training (that would be us), or passing through on the way to somewhere else, Liberty Lodge is a stand out from the typical chain establishments at interstate exits.
Remodeled in 2010, the hotel has an updated feel. Surfaces sparkle, carpets look fresh and the beds are comfy. New microwaves, refrigerators, hair dryers, coffee makers and flat screen TVs add to the guest rooms’ gleam. Although the Liberty Lodge doesn’t have a swimming pool or exercise room, guests can use those amenities at the Fairfield Inn a short drive away. You do need to get a verification paper from the Liberty Lodge’s front desk attendant to take with you in order to use the pool.
What I particularly appreciated about the Liberty Lodge was the connection to place. If it wasn’t for Ft. Leonard Wood, I expect many businesses in the area wouldn’t exist. Liberty Lodge hones in on this connection.
Every employee I talked with seemed to have a spouse who is active military, and the lobby has photos of military folks and family members to reflect the hotel’s relationship to the base. The hotel is a frequent choice of those who are relocating to Ft. Leonard Wood or working on the base conducting long term trainings.
Part of the appeal, along with the free washer and dryer, is the friendly staff. It’s lovely to be given the feeling someone is so pleased you’ve arrived.
While we were on our way–still somewhere east of St. Louis, a hotel staff person called just to make sure we were still coming and to offer a friendly hello. When we arrived about midnight, we were quickly checked in with the same good cheer and given information about how to connect to the free WiFi.
Although the hotel doesn’t provide free breakfast, there are snacks that can be purchased and Panera, Buffalo Wild Wings and Waffle House are just steps away.
Because ours was a two-night stay, we were able to see a bit of the area. St. Robert, where Liberty Lodge is located isn’t much to look at, but nearby Waynesville has a history worth exploring. The Trail of Tears and the Civil War are important parts of town history.
For the most unique restaurant I’ve ever seen, head to The Cave Restaurant in Richland about 15 miles away. Don’t let the two miles of gravel road before you get there dissuade you from the trip. The Cave Restaurant is what it sounds like–a restaurant in a cave. Once a dance hall in the 1920s, the restaurant’s craggy rock that makes up the walls and ceiling is decked out for Christmas this time of year.
Because we were still full from our lunch, we ordered appetizers (fried dill pickles, jalapeno poppers, fried green beans, fried calamari and parmesan bread). From what I’ve heard, the Angus beef steaks are the restaurant’s specialty. There’s also a full service bar. The Cave Restaurant is what will get me back to this slice of Missouri. We all loved it. We’d also stay at the Liberty Lodge again.
Room rates start at $59 a night if you book on Priceline.
140 Old Route 66
St. Robert, MO 65584
Photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association