Cardinal Cove Retreat-quiet, Secluded, Beautiful

      Follow Us On            

  •  Type: House
  •  Beds: 4
  •  Baths: 4
  •  Sleeps: 10


Undoubtedly, the most peaceful location on the lake. Surrounded by dense trees and wildlife but next to water and golf. True Paradise.
Cardinal Cove Retreat is ideally located between a quiet cove on Lake Sara and Cardinal Golf Course. The fishing/boat dock is out the front door at the bottom of the hill. Golf is out the back door with the 1st and 10th tee just a short walk down the paved cart path.
Cardinal cove has proven to be a wonderful site for group get-togethers, business meeting/retreats, vacations and family reunions. The spacious living room/dining room area situated adjacent to the kitchen will keep everyone in the conversation. A step onto the large deck and the group can enjoy nature, the beautiful scenery and the wildlife that is plentiful and playful.
The kitchen is a cooks dream. Upscale appliances, plentiful cookware and a plentiful spice cabinet will all combine to allow you to truly enjoy your stay. If you want fresh organic farm produce, a short drive (3 minutes) to His Glories Farm will allow you to pick your own or just make the request to the owner. Additionally, if you are staying for a week, Vanessa Dukeman, the owner will deliver your order right to Cardinal Cove Retreat. Let us know in advance what you might want and we'll have it all ready for you.
Do you like to cook on the grill....our Weber grill can cook up to 20 hamburgers at one time.
Do you enjoy watching TV and movies, the 50" flat screen TV has basic cable provided. The blu-ray/DVD is available for you to bring your favorite movie.
Do you just want to rest and relax, if so take a nap in the master bedroom where previous guests commented that the King sized bed in the Master Suite was the most comfortable bed they had ever slept on.
If you enjoy big name entertainment, Effingham Performance Center will host Grand Funk Railroad Jan 27, The Temptaions Feb 1, Dailey and Vincent March 3 and The Red Hot Chili Peppers March 24. If you combine this type of entertainment with dinner at the renowned FireFly Grill followed by a night in front of the fireplace at Cardinal Cove Retreat, you will surely have a night to remember. And don't forget the whirlpool tub in the Master Suite.
The four seasons are a beautiful time around Lake Sara. The abundant wild life and scenic beauty that Mother Nature has provided makes a perfect setting for relaxation and reflection. We have found that hikes through the woods surrounding Cardinal Cove Retreat or simply walking the cart path around Cardinal Golf provides a remarkable improvement in ones attitude and outlook on life.
Many of our guests have commented that they felt pampered by the treatment and consideration we provide. Let us show you how special a weekend or week can be at Cardinal Cove Retreat. 

Owner info


  • Chuck Holmes

As a frequent traveler as a business executive, I recognize what has impressed me about the places I have stayed. I have made certain this fantastic retreat offers all of those amenities and more.

Terms & Conditions

Quoted price is for up to 10 guests. Cabin can sleep additional guest up to 14 in beds. Each guest in excess of 10 is $25 per night.

About Location

Why it is Famous ?

Lake Sara is the premier lake in Illinois. With numerous homes costing in excess of $1,000,000 it is a lake to be proud of.

Area Information

Effingham is only 5 minutes away and features live entertainment nightly, a live theater featuring nationally know entertainment throughout the year. Check for show listings. Also in Effingham is the famous Firefly Grill. For the very best in fine dining, let Chef Niall Campbell treat you and your guests to a memory of a lifetime dining experience.

How to reach

The retreat is located mid way between Chicago, St Louis and Indianapolis at the crossroads of I-57 and I-70.

Best time to visit

The retreat is open year-round for your enjoyment and adventures in nature.


Compared to renting multiple rooms, having the entire house to yourself can save a full half the cost of renting in a you get the freedom to cook some of your meals in our beautiful kitchen saving you even more.

Additional Rate details

Deposit 50%
Basic Weekend two nights-600. Two night minimum.
Bonus 3 night weekend-900.
Each additional night is 300 when added to the 3 night weekend. For example a 4 night stay is 1200. We do not require full week stays and will work to accommodate your preferred start date and end date.
Cleaning fee-75. Damage deposit-250 is secured by credit card.
Additional charge for more than 10 guests. Each additional person is 25 per person per night. 







Child Friendly

Cooling Comfort

Dining Room

Disability Access Features




Guest Services

Home Office



Outside Living


Recreation located at the Resort or On Premise




Nearby Activities

Nearby Attractions

Nearby Activities

Nearby Attractions


Guest Reviews

This was the best vacation spot ever

This was the best vacation spot ever! The home is beautiful, roomy and nicely appointed. I brought all kinds of \"stuff\" that wasn\'t needed. Next year will only bring my clothes and personal stuff. This house has everything and then some! We enjoyed the woods surrounding the house as well as the fishing dock, especially a place to dock our bass boat. The fishing was actually pretty good, some nice bass and catfish were caught. The coves we fished in were absolutely beautiful! This was an \"electronics and TV free\" vacation for our family (son and fam, nephew and fam along with my husband and I) and actually no one missed their ipad or watching TV. We are all looking forward to coming back for a week again next year. Thank you Chuck for all your kindness and being available to answer any questions we had.

Beautiful house

Another fabulous week at Sara\'s Sancuary. This house is just perfect for our family. Plenty of room for everyone, clean, great nature watching. It just really feels like home!!The new dock is great for relaxing and watching the sunset. This was our second stay at the house and will coming back as soon as time allows. Thank you Chuck and Sara for your warm hospitality and for sharing your home with us. We can\'t wait untill next time.

Perfect Location

This location was the perfect meeting point for our family. With one of our kids stationed in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and several more spread all over the state of Ohio, Lake Sara in Effingham was the perfect meeting place! The kitchen was well equipped with everything we needed to prepare a Thanksgiving feast...and a large dining room table to sit around and enjoy! It was wonderful to relax in the living room with the games and enjoy each other\'s company without any disruptions or distractions. The home was super clean and Chuck was extremely accomodating! He was kind enough to answer my many questions as we prepared for our adventure! We are hoping to meet here again in the near future! Thanks!!


Good evening, Chuck,Your letter arrived today with the two checks in it - thank you for your kind words and your extraordinary generosity! All of us absolutely loved your Cardinal Cove Retreat home. It was such a perfect place for us to relax with our sons and daughter-in-law and new grandson. We only wished that we could have stayed for an entire week! My husband and I agree with your wife - we love solitude in a woodland setting. We so much enjoyed watching the birds at the feeder - such an amazing variety! We would have loved to cook something on your impressive gas grill - but there just wasn\'t time. We most certainly hope to return for another stay in the near future. We began renting vacation homes for our family Christmas in 1989 and have traveled as far as Montana, Colorado, and Florida to find unique places to celebrate the holiday. Your home would perfectly suit our purposes, and it would be such a short drive to get there! We hope to spend a Christmas in your home on Lake Sara as soon as circumstances allow.May God bless you and grant you success as you share your lovely home with others, The Hensons

pleasant and hospitable owners

The Cardinal Cove Retreat house is a pleasant home with very pleasant and hospitable owners. We were there for a very special family event at a relativeís house on Lake Sara. We wanted to stay closer than a motel in Effingham and were pleased to find this lovely house that could accommodate all of our family. The owners were even so kind as to pick up flowers for me in town and place them in the house before our arrival. The house is all that it is represented to be in the listing. It is very well-maintained and clean. We spent virtually all of our days at our relativeís house on Lake Sara and on the lake watching and videoing the family water-skiing and wake-boarding. We were not at Cardinal Cove long enough to enjoy all the amenities. Although the house does not have lake access, we wish we had more time there to enjoy the deck, peaceful outdoors, and wooded ambience of their home and yard.