THE 3 R’S YOUR GROUP REALLY NEEDS: LET YOUR GROUP REST, REGROUP AND RE-ENERGIZE AT THE MRCC
By Patti Curran
With the rising cost of gas, getting your group away from the hustle and bustle of the city may seem to be a costly mission. However, it is often necessary to get out of the office to avoid the distractions that can keep your team from focusing clearly. What if there was a place, nestled in the rolling Ozark Mountains beside the flowing waters of the Meramac River, less than an hour’s drive from St. Louis? Well, there is. The Marianist Retreat and Conference Center, located in Eureka, Mo., offers the perfect getaway that doesn’t guzzle extra gas or extra time.
The first building on the property, now known as Marycliff, was built in 1891. The Society of Mary purchased the 120-acre property in 1950 and constructed the Marianist Apostolic Center, now known as the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center (MRCC), in 1967. Although the facilities are owned and operated by a Catholic Christian organization, hundreds of thousands of people from across the country and from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds have found the center to be a welcoming place to rest, regroup and reenergize.
The Marianist Retreat and Conference Center offers the complete package. Not only does it boast versatile meeting space, but overnight accommodations as well. This convenience means that you don’t have to worry about getting all of your attendees back to a hotel after your sessions have ended.
The center offers 47 bedrooms, all with private bathrooms, desks and fresh linens. Each room presents a modest décor and a large picture window for observing the rolling hills of the Ozark Mountains. There are 10 additional bedrooms available in the Marycliff building, located on the same grounds as the center.
Depending on the type of event, Contemplative Outreach of St. Louis brings 25-55 people to MRCC for weekend retreats as well as workshops that last up to eight days. The reason? According to Marsha Hatfield-Baker, who was the co-coordinator from 2005-2007, it was “because of the proximity to major highways, the number of people it can accommodate, the wonderful staff, great food and, most of all, because each room has a private bath.” Hatfield-Baker says most retreat centers require people to share bathrooms, which isn’t very popular.
Large or small, MRCC is the right fit for your group. The large conference room, surrounded by panoramic views of the blossoming Meramec River valley, can accommodate 100 people. This versatile room offers movable furnishings that allow the room to be arranged in a way that best fits your group’s needs. With a stereo, microphone, television, DVD player, VCR and projection screen, and being WiFi-ready, the conference room is ready to meet all of your technological requirements.
Marycliff offers a small meeting room that can accommodate 15 people. Additional breakout rooms are available at MRCC, including the chapel. Designed by renowned artist Mel Meyer, S.M., the centrally located chapel reflects the surrounding landscape of undulating hills and flowing waters. With stunning stained-glass windows, contemporary art and private nooks, the chapel offers an inspirational space for creative thinking. A sound system, adjustable lighting and movable furnishings are also available to meet your group’s requirements.
When we said that the MRCC offered the complete package, we meant it. In addition to spaces to meet and places to sleep, the center is not about to let you go without the proper nourishment. The MRCC has a fully equipped kitchen as well as in-house chefs who are waiting to provide your group with the proper sustenance. Delicious and nutritious meals are included in the cost of using the facility. Hatfield-Baker says that the kitchen staff is able to accommodate most individual’s dietary needs and they always provide alternates for vegetarians as well as diabetics.
Also included in the price are snacks and beverages that are made available in the dining room. With the health and safety of your group in mind, the center only allows staff to use the kitchen. Outside caterers are welcome; however, they must provide their own equipment.
DON’T FORGET THE FUN
Once you are well-rested and well-fed, and your meetings are complete, what else is there to do? Have fun, of course! With miles of hiking trails, garden walks, an athletic field and a variety of recreational activities available, there is no need to leave the grounds for a little bit of fun. However, if you’re looking for something different, Six Flags-Mid America, as well as Hidden Valley Ski Resort, are only a few miles away. Once you have hiked the trails that the center has to offer and you’re looking for a change in scenery, Babler State Park and Route 66 State Park are also nearby.
SAVING THE BEST FEATURES FOR LAST
With all that MRCC has to offer, you might be thinking, “this is going to be nowhere near our price range.” Think again! The center’s rates are all-inclusive. For $95 per night, per guest, you get use of the facilities, overnight accommodations, three meals and snacks. Combine that with the money you have saved on gas, and you have a very affordable solution for your group to get away. Even if you’re not looking to spend the night, for $40 per person, you can use the facilities for the day and enjoy a Continental breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Some restrictions do apply for the use of this facility. The MRCC is a non-profit institution and, as such, limits its rental to educational and religious events. This is not to say that the organizations or companies utilizing this facility must be non-profit. Corporate businesses are welcome to use the facilities for educational purposes such as training seminars.
With all of the offerings that the MRCC presents, service is by far the best. According to Hatfield-Baker, the greatest feature of the MRCC is the “flexibility and willingness of the staff to work [with the group] on every detail.” MM&E
(Patti Curran is the Associate Editor from St. Louis, Mo.)
Marianist Retreat & Conference Center
4000 Highway 109
P.O. Box 718
Eureka, MO 63025
At a Glance
Type of Facility: Conference Center w/Lodging
Group size this facility is able to accommodate: Up to 100 for events not requiring overnight accommodations
Type of cuisine: All
Number of private dining rooms available: 1
Number of guestrooms: 47
Special Features/Amenities: Provide linens, have private baths in each room, surrounded by 120 acres of woodland and the Meramec River.
Are group rates/discounts available? Call for more information
Is the facility disabled-accessible? Partially
Price Range: $45-95 per person per day