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“Great Family Resort”
Review of Black River Lodge

Black River Lodge
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Black River Lodge
Reviewed July 26, 2012

I have been coming down to BRL since I was 5 years old with my dad. Which was in 1957. I now have my son and daughter who also bring their kids. Total of 12. I wouldn't stay any where else. Great food, planned activies for all ages. It doesn't get any better. Try it and you will agree. I'm 60 and have missed only a few years.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Bruce G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 26, 2012

When you arrive at BRL, it's like you have arrived at a place frozen in time. If your idea of vacation is a 5 star resort, this is not the place for you. If you want a week centered on good clean fun, time with family & friends, and "glamping", this is the place for you. The cabins are rustic, a step above tent camping, but they get the job done. There is a shower/tub, sink & refrigerator. The cabin we stay in has plenty of space for our family, 2 beds + a couch & a dining table (perfect for card or board games on a rainy day). The playground has the same equipment that I played on as a child. There is a comradery among the guests & you feel safe letting your child run & play without having to hover over them. The activities can be corny (as others have suggested) but are actually quite fun. I love the fact that there are no TVs. They have added wi-fi in the rec hall for those of you who can't take a week off from technology.

If you enjoyed summer camp as a child, this is the perfect vacation for you. The river is clean, access is easy from the cabins & the meals taste like grandma cooked them.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank pepperlee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2012

I have deep feelings about BRL after taking my children (now grown) and parents here almost annually over the course of about 10 years. And I'm the one who loves this place the most! The descriptions in the other reviews look accurate to me. The food is plentiful, tasty, and sufficiently varied, although they always have been skimpy on fresh fruit and vegetables. The cabins are clean and well maintained, and we've always found the beds to be comfortable (wonderful for an afternoon nap). I concur with the other reviewers that (for what you pay) overall upgrades are in order.

The scheduled games, competitions, and night-time activities are indeed "corny," but also wholesome, nostalgic (like being back at summer camp), and a great way to meet others, many of whom return year after year in large clans. It can feel cliquey, but, make a little effort, and you'll find some new friends. I recommend, if you can afford it, to stay at least 5 days to really settle in and get to know the place.

OK, now on to the best reason to stay at BRL ... The River! I've done a fair amount of travel in my 57 years and, being a water nut, I'm always on the lookout for great locations to swim. The Black River, where BRL sits, is perhaps the best I've ever experienced. Whether you are a paddler, tuber, wader, tadpole catcher, shoreline observer (nice big beach), or a passionate snorkeler like me, the Black River will enchant you. (If you fish, please don't do it near me. The fish are my friends.) Spring-fed, clear, clean, cool (even in the height of summer), shimmering with multiple hues of green, chock full of fish and an infinite number of visual delights (do bring a swim mask) ... submerge yourself in the river (you must!), give it a chance to win you over, and you will be one with Nature. Warning: The river gets VERY crowded with floaters during summer weekends, but it's still a joy to be by or (even better) in.

My only key "issue" with BRL is that, it is so popular, you may have to be flexible about dates in booking your visit. But that right there tells you loads about the place.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank Barry W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2011

Black River Lodge is a step back in time. The lodge has been family owned and run for over 50 years. The facilities are outdated and sparse but that adds to the charm of the experience. There are no TV's or telephones in the rooms and cell phone service is spotty, so families must find things to do together; like play cards, walk, swim, float, read, play tennis or miniature golf. All meals are included and served family style. There are fridges in the rooms for beverages and snacks. There are corny planned activities each night like a talent show, square dance and bonfire to name a few. The lodge is located on a beautiful area of the Black River and offers crystal clear water for lounging, floating or canoeing. If you are looking for a fancy resort do not come here.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank nursedocstl4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2008

I have been staying at this lodge every few years or so since first visiting as a kid in 1969. Some of my extended family has been coming here since 1950. We visit mostly for large family reunions and find the tradition at this venue to be ideal for cohesiveness since there are about 80 of us.

Location:

This lodge has the best location by far on the gorgeous Black River. The private beach is approx 1/2 mile long and is in great shape. The rocks, trees, water are the most beautiful I have ever seen on this outstanding clear river. The lodge is about a mile down on Peola Rd (which is accessed off of rt 21.) Many of the rooms in the lodge sit up about 50 feet above the river offering great views.

Rooms:

The rooms are arranged in cabins which vary in size from approx 2-16 rooms. Most of the cabins are several decades old. Their condition is marginal but acceptable for a Missouri wilderness experience. The cleanliness is average. They do not do a thorough cleaning like you would expect in a hotel. Most of the beds are in poor shape. The sheets come off if you move in them at all and the mattresses are quite worn in general. Screens, curtains, and flooring need to be repaired in many cases. This is probably tolerable since you are not there to stay in a room except to sleep and shower.

Amenities:

The lodge offers a wide variety of activities including archery, ping-pong, miniature golf, mini tractor/train rides, shuffleboard, pickleball, tennis, volleyball, and a main lodge that you can lounge in or check out equipment. Sadly, most of the items look like they have not been serviced since 1969. The tennis courts in the lower parts of the property are overgrown with weeds and many of the other activities look neglected. They have acquired a newer tractor for the mini train ride, and they have done some much needed work to the mini-golf. However, most greatly need some updating and maintenance. There is a place about 1/2 mile down the road called rivers edge where you can rent canoes to take a scenic float. This is always worth it.
The campfires at night are fun. On Sat night's there is a weiner roast which is provided. This is a good time with singing songs and having fun. Dancing (square, line, etc) is also done at the lodge.

Food:

A significant feature of this place is their food. You'll get up to three meals/day depending on your check-in/out times. The food is quite good. The cafeteria can seat over 120 people and is clean and in good condition. The family style serving assures that you get food immediately after they ring the bell for your meal. They will keep bringing you all the food you can eat.

Church:

There is a church on the property which we have used in the past. I am not sure if services are still provided. Some drive into town a couple of miles since we stay on the weekends.
You should find KJV Bibles in the rooms.

Summary:

This is a unique place. The property has been owned by the Ries family since the 1940's. If you are looking for a beautiful location with great food and an enclosed environment, this place is for you. Of course you'll need to manage expectations based on what I have written in this review. I hope that the owners invest more into maintenance. There is almost too much food offered. I would gladly cut back on meals if it meant that the money could go towards the much needed repairs and restoration. Overall, an enjoyable experience to get away from the stress of everyday life. The overall value is OK. I paid about $100/night plus about $11 per person per meal. Family of four (two adults 2 kids) was over $450 for a two night stay.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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13  Thank ALITD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Black River Lodge

Address: 1385 County Road 342, Lesterville, MO 63654-8852
Location: United States > Missouri > Lesterville
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Lesterville
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Black River Hotel Lesterville

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