It’s rare to find a log home or lodge as close to a major metropolitan area as the Lodge at Grant’s Trail. But here it is, within ten minutes of the Gateway Arch and all of the activities, sites and attractions of St. Louis, Missouri.
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A Log Home in the City
The Lodge at Grant’s Trail is a nine room bed and breakfast inn constructed of Michigan white cedar operated by Jan and Stan Orlando who have always enjoyed the rustic, log structure getaways they and many of us have experienced on family vacations.
Surrounded by a metropolitan area of nearly three million people and just a stone’s throw from a major interstate may not seem like the ideal location for such a lodge, but the acreage was available and Jan and Stan have made it work.
“When we were building this, I’m sure a lot of people thought we were crazy,” says Jan, “but at the same time, the construction workers did such a great job, you can’t hear a sound from the interstate once you’re inside. That makes a visit so much more magical, I think.”
Rails-to-Trails Bike Trail in St. Louis
The Lodge at Grant’s Trail opened in July 2000, just about the same time the 8-mile rails-to-trails bike trail called Grant’s Trail opened. The Orlandos worked with the group that created the bike trail by offering their parking lot as free parking for trail travelers. The Lodge offers bike stands, but liability issues prevent them from providing bicycles to their guests.
The Lodge is at the northeast end of the paved trail that eventually passes through the pastures of Grant’s Farm, home of the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales, and past the log cabin built by Ulysses S. Grant at the National Historic Site by the same name. The log cabin is the only remaining structure in the United States built by the hands of one of our presidents.
Oddly enough, neither of the Lodge’s two rooms dedicated to presidents recognizes the president who made St. Louis his home. Instead, the largest suite honors George Washington with a jetted tub, fireplace and exterior balcony overlooking the trail.
Across the open balcony overlooking the dining room below is the Abe and Mary Lincoln suite, a little smaller than Washington’s, but with a private kitchenette and large conference table for those who reserve the inn for corporate retreats.
Other rooms carry popular motifs such as Christmas, safari, fishing and, the most popular room, Alaska. Within just a stone’s throw of the mighty Mississippi River, the lodge dedicates one room to the river and Missouri’s greatest riverboat pilot, Mark Twain.
On Sundays, the lodge opens to the public for a fabulous breakfast buffet, followed by an all-you-can eat fried chicken family-style meal for lunch and dinner.
Things to See and Do in St. Louis
The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and Grant’s Farm, a 280 acre wildlife preserve operated for the public by the family of Adolphus Busch of Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company, are just five miles down the trail, and certainly among the many attractions to see and experience in St. Louis.
A free tour of the brewery (and free samples) is a must for many visitors to the city, as is a visit to the baseball stadium that also carries the Busch name. Even if it’s the off-season or the National League Cardinals are out of town, visit the stadium anyway. St. Louis is a ferociously loyal sports town and you just can’t say you’ve been to St. Louis if you haven’t had your picture made by the statue of Stan The Man Musial.
Touring the Gateway Arch and the waterfront attractions around the Arch are equally important to a St. Louis visit. The museum and grounds underneath the Arch underwent a major renovation and reopened in 2019.
It tells the story of the United States’ westward expansion prior to the Louisiana Purchase, through the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and to the massive nation the United States has become today.
Another experience to truly understand St. Louis is a tour of the National Blues Museum, followed by a night in the blues clubs in Soulard. Some will say attending a St. Louis Blues game — the 2019 Stanley Cup champions — is a part of understanding the spirit of The Lou.
Or spend a day strolling through the Missouri Botanical Gardens or visit the St. Louis Zoo for free. Enjoy toasted ravioli, a St. Louis specialty at any of the great restaurants on The Hill, St. Louis’ famous Italian neighborhood, and don’t miss an upside down concrete at Ted Drewes Ice Cream, a throwback to the good old days of Route 66.