Birthday Basking with the Buffalo

As a guy who loves to pamper our brides, I am admittedly a huge baby when it comes to my birthday…and such was the case Monday. Sit with me awhile while I tell you how I was pampered “where the buffalo roam.”

After chairing a ball on Saturday evening, I was mentally and physically stamina-depleted. When we arrived Sunday afternoon, December 8, at the most incredible, soon-to-explode jewel of Missouri, Buffalo Lodge, for a birthday get-away, I was blown away.

Buffalo LodgeI have heard rumblings of this “got-to-see-it-to-believe-it” locale and Mrs. Nolte deemed it closer than Big Cedar Lodge (one of my frequented birthday celebration venues) and perhaps almost as nice.

Buffalo Lodge

She was correct on the former (only 50 minutes from Leawood) and mistaken on the latter…it was every bit as wonderful as that hallowed Ozarks vacation heaven.


We arrived in a dusting of snow, though every step from drive to front door had been swept away. A fresh wreath on the door greeted us as we entered into the pine-finished paradise called “The Lodge.” None of the pictures do it justice.

The attention to detail by the owners, Amy and Michael Billings, is almost OCD (just my kind of entrepreneurs!) Not a speck of grit, dust, cobwebs, burned out bulbs, stains, smears (and you know how I’m such a clean freak). Our room was topped by freshly pressed sheets, fluffy towels, soft music and an almost zen level of peacefulness. (Even the stoneware plates were stacked in correct color sequence!)

Buffalo Lodge

We enjoyed personalized (and beautifully printed) menus prepared in-house by Chef Jayme who created dinners of chicken parmesan one evening and bison steaks the next. Both were so tender, I could cut them with a fork.

Wines were paired by Top Shelf liquors, and though typically not a big wine guy, the Chateau Marjosse 2012 became one of my “must have again” favorites.


The next morning, I enjoyed the expansive glass windows as I watched the snow drift across the pastures. Not a human in sight. Outside…not a single sound. Nirvana!

On Day Two, the in-house masseuse, Jennifer, arrived to provide 90 minute massages in front of the fireplace. In the afternoon, we did a little day-tripping to nearby Greenwood and Pleasant Hill before returning for dinner.

Finally, I got to visit with the owners to learn of their backstory and this incredible vision of a wedding venue, just down the lane from The Lodge and presently under construction called “The Roosevelt.”

It will be unlike anything we have in the Kansas City area. Believe me when I say “anything.”

Presently, even without a building, they have 19 weddings booked there! In all but one, both The Roosevelt and The Lodge are reserved as it allows the family to stay right there on-site for the entire wedding weekend and enjoy all the amenities.

The outdoor ceremony space will be designed on an acre of bluegrass, surrounded by forest. Cocktails are also under open sky on the stone patio, and inside will be seating for 300. Mahogany Chivari chairs and tables come with the building and there are seven approved caterers on the list. (Four of which I hire on a regular basis for my weddings as well.)

Buffalo Lodge

The Roosevelt has enormous stone fireplaces that can be the backdrop for intimate ceremonies, both indoors or outside.  The Lodge has the perfectly sized shaded patio for Rehearsal Dinners (just up the gravel lane) and an outdoor fire pit for After Party enjoyment. Every time I hear of such a venue with that much to offer, I always think, “What lucky guests…park once and stay all evening.” What with housing for the family/bridal party, I can expand on that to say “What a lucky family…check-in once and stay all weekend!”

The charm of this new place is the isolation. It is decidedly rural and they want to keep it that way. The lanes will not be asphalted, the landscaping all native to the area, the wood colors used looking as if they came from the standing forest…and of course, the buffalo herd roaming nearby.

I suspect this is quickly going to get snapped up by brides from Omaha, Wichita and St. Louis who want a close-in destination wedding at a fraction of the headache. For brides (of which there are many) who want “something alternative to a church/hotel/country club/warehouse” ambiance…Buffalo Lodge will be perfect. Though it is rugged, it isn’t ragged. Though it is fun, it isn’t formal. Though it is incredible, it isn’t impossible.

I am excited for the owners. Though I was only there for a birthday celebration: Party of Two…it will be a bubble of bliss I shall long remember. I love being able to share good news about new talent, new people, new vendors, new venues…and Buffalo Lodge check every one of those boxes.

Time to blow out the candles and get back to work. I look forward to coordinating some magnificent weddings out there in the middle of nowhere…(isn’t that what you call God’s country?)