Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled

Lake Sara-Effingham-Quiet and Peaceful Setting-Lake/Golf Views

Bedrooms 4
Half Baths1
Space 1,800 sq. ft.
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 nights


About the property

House, 4 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, (Sleeps 10+)

Please note: If you are considering our property for late 2017 or a year in the future, please contact us directly at 217-649-0531 or at After 9-12-2017 we will no longer advertise on this site. We find their policies inappropriate and don't feel our guests gain any value by them imposing booking charges on top of our rental fees. We have added the fee description this site charges guests who use the online booking service they provide at the end of this description. Please note the stated 5%-12% charge is not limited and it can be higher! Thanks to all of our 2010-2016 guests who made 2016 our best year yet. Judging from all of their positive comments in their reviews, many will be back in 2017. As a testimonial to the comfort and atmosphere of the home and amenities, over 50 % of our guests in 2016 had stayed with us previously. Thanks for their loyalty.

Cardinal Cove Retreat is uniquely located on a hill at the end of a private lane overlooking Lake Sara. From the front porch you can see Lake Sara and from the back deck you can see the 9th Tee of Cardinal 18 hole Golf Course. The home and area are a registered Backyard Wildlife Habitat. Surrounded by over 10 acres of dense woods the home is a nature lovers dream come true. Regular visitors to the yard are deer, raccoons, chipmunks, rabbits and occasionally wild turkeys.

Cardinal Cove Retreat is a great place to relax and unwind any time of the year. The deck is well equipped with a gas grill and seating for 8. Additional chairs are in the garage for extra guests. During the Spring and Summer, we have planted flowers and lovely trees. In the fall we have the front porch and yard decorated in a fall theme. The custom made fire pit is waiting for your marshmallows. Split firewood is also provided.

Bird lovers will thrill at the sight and sounds of Cardinals, Blue Jays, Finches, Doves, Geese and a variety of Woodpeckers and if you listen carefully, you'll hear the Bard Owls calling to one another. Last year we had a pair of Golden Eagles regularly flying at the end of the cove we are on. Blue Heron and a White Egret are also regular visitors. Geese fly overhead almost everyday.

Our visitors have aptly called this property 'heaven on earth'. It is private but inviting. The wrap around deck/porch can accommodate lots of guests. The two patio tables seat 8 for a wonderful dinner outside under the stars. Speaking of stars, this home is away from other homes and very private offering the opportunity for total darkness for the person who loves to look into the night sky.

BOOKING FEES FROM THIS SITE: What is the service fee?


The service fee is paid by the traveler when booking through the HomeAway websites. This fee helps cover the costs of operating the websites for owners and travelers. Some of the costs to run HomeAway include: facilitating secure transactions, developing our products and services, and providing 24/7 customer service. Additionally, when a traveler books and pays through HomeAway, they are eligible for the Book with Confidence Guarantee.

Paying the fee

Travelers pay the service fee by credit card when paying through the secure HomeAway checkout process. The service fee is only charged to the card once the booking has been accepted by the property owner or manager. The service fee is a percentage of the total amount of the reservation, excluding taxes and refundable fees. The service fee is between 5-12% for most bookings but can be above or below, based on the reservation. The percentage rate may change from time to time. Generally, the higher the reservation amount, the lower the percentage of service fee.

Other Property Fees

The service fee does not affect the ability of the owner to control their own rental rates and fees (e.g. pets, cleaning, or maintenance). We do recommend providing a distinct name for fees that differ from service fee to avoid confusion. The service fee is an additional amount added by HomeAway to the rental amount.

Refunding the fee

The owner does not have the ability to discount or waive the service fee amount. The only time the service fee can be refunded is when an owner uses the Cancellation Refund feature from their dashboard and the cancellation is requested within the terms of the owner/manager's cancellation policy. However, if the reservation is not canceled and all payments fully refunded to the traveler, the service fee will not be refunded.


Owners are not required to remit any taxes associated with the service fee. Sales and Use Taxes and Transient Occupancy Taxes are only due on the amount paid to the property owner related to the rental of the accommodations. VAT is charged on the service fee, where required by local regulations.

Keywords: House, Boat, Golf, Fishing, Boating, Birdwatching, Hiking, Swimming, Kayaking, Biking, Nature, Woods, Cooking, Relaxing

More Details

Chuck Holmes
Member since: 2010
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
August 6, 2017

About Chuck Holmes

This ad ends on 9-12-2017. For future bookings contact me at 217-649-0531 or at This home is offered by Chuck and Sara Holmes. We have been married for 46 years and have 4 grown children and 5 growing grandchildren. Our love of Lake Sara was the incentive for us to purchase this home and wooded area which is in the same neighborhood as our family home. This rental home also serves as the location for Sara's Sanctuary, a woman's health retreat. Periodically, the retreat offers a variety of therapies and training for those seeking a healthier lifestyle. The weekend schedule for these retreats is shown on Sara's website, Botanical Healing Arts. The host of these retreats is Sara Holmes, who is a certified and registered Aromatherapist and Massage Therapist. She teaches these subjects at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois and at Lakeland College's Kluthe Center located in Effingham. Chuck is a business executive who owns and operates varied manufacturing, distribution and service businesses.

Chuck Holmes purchased this house in 2010

Why Chuck Holmes chose Illinois

'I vacationed at Lake Sara as a child and it was always my favorite place with great memories of my Dad fishing' says Sara. 'Later in life my husband and I decided to prepare for retirement on Lake Sara.'

We purchased our dream home on Lake Sara 17 years ago and purchased this, our second home on Lake Sara in 2010 when our neighbors decided to move closer to family. 17 years ago we were looking for a weekend and summer get-away that offered peaceful tranquility in a setting where nature was the highest priority. Now we are able to offer this same wonderful experience to others through Cardinal Cove Retreat which is also home to Sara's Sanctuary, a woman's health retreat. We have found that by living at the end of a peaceful cove, surrounded by trees and nature, we can avoid the busy activities of life that we were trying to escape by coming to the lake, yet still able to hop in the boat and enjoy all Lake Sara and the Effingham area has to offer.

What makes this house unique

This home is easy to access with only two steps from the garage to the home's main floor. The back deck is also at floor level with seating for 10 or more allowing for large groups to gather. The home has a two car attached garage.

Outside there are so many wonderful and memorable activities to enjoy. In addition to the abundant nature surrounding the home, you can visit Ballard Nature Center, 5 miles away, or walk through the Post Oak Flatwoods nature area located directly on Lake Sara. This unique treasure is over 50 acres of nature representing what downstate Illinois was like 10,000 years ago. If you enjoy fine dining, FireFly Grill was rated in the top 10 restaurants in Chicago and St. Louis and it is only located here in Effingham. Additionally, for more budget minded visitors, Niemerg's restaurant is hard to beat, especially if you like pie...they have more than a dozen to choose from, all made fresh daily. Need a meal catered, Niemerg's, Witt's Smokehouse or Joe's Pizza and Pasta among others can handle all of your needs. Boat rental, kayak or canoe rental is available at area marinas. Or, for a fun meal overlooking Lake Sara visit the Blue Gill Marina and the Zona's restaurant serving great food and beverages. Additionally, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Pinky's restaurant and Larson's Landing are open with a fun atmosphere and boat rentals and repair.

You can swim for free from the boat dock or at the public beach on Lake Sara or for a few dollars you can swim at the Effingham City Pool Complex. For the auto enthusiast be sure to visit Mid-America Motorworks Corvette and VW Museum featuring special collector autos including Herbie the VW and the Corvette from Corvette Summer both with a rich movie fame. There truly is something for everyone in the Effingham area. And best of all, with Effingham located at the intersection of I-57, I-70, Route 45, Route 40, Route 32 and Route 33 it truly is the 'Crossroads of Opportunity' as the city slogan says.

Guestbook comments from the owner

"This is a great getaway for a couple or two at the lake 'You can sit on the deck watch people play golf but most of all watch the wildlife.When we were there we seen several variety s of birds and also seen deer and had a nightly visitor ( a coon ) friendly looking for a handout. If you want a get away to relax and enjoy THIS IS THE PLACE. the home is wonderful . Even better than the pictures look .We will go back again '"

Jun 25, 2010 - Tom & Kathi
Jun 2010
  • 1 of 1


Effingham House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
  • Housekeeper Optional
Floor Area:
  • 1800 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Beach ...
  • Golf Course Front ...
  • Golf Course View ...
  • Lake ...
  • Lake View ...
  • Rural ...
  • Water View ...
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Spa
  • Activities Guide
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Alarm Clock
  • Basic Soaps
  • Broadband Access ...
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Ducted Cooling
  • Ducted Heating
  • Filtered Water
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood
  • Garage ...
  • Gas Fireplace ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Laundry Soap
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Area
  • Living Room ...
  • Local Activities Guide
  • Local Maps
  • Local Restaurant Guide
  • Mosquito Magnet
  • Paper Towels
  • Parking ...
  • Parking Off Street ...
  • Secure Parking
  • Shampoo
  • Telescope
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Water Cooler
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Blender
  • Catering Available ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Room
  • seating for 8 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
  • Two full baths on main level, 1/2 bath on lower sleeping level.
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • King size bed (1) The top quality bed has been praised by several guests as the most comfortable bed they have ever been on., Queen size Beds (1), Twin or Single Beds (4), Sleep Sofa or Futons (1) The full sized futon bed features full inner spring support for a restful nights sleep.
  • Books ...
  • Books for Kids
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Games for Kids
  • Radio
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo
  • Television ...
  • VCR
  • Video Library ...
  • Balcony ...
  • Barbecue
  • Boat ...
  • Boat Dock
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Golf Clubs
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Large Cooler
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Outdoor Grill Gas
  • Patio
  • Porch / Veranda
  • Small Cooler
  • Tennis ...
  • Unscreened Porch / Veranda
  • Walkway to Water
  • Wood Deck
  • 8 garden chairs
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • Low Allergen Environment
  • limited accessibility ...
  • suitable for elderly or infirm
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
  • Jacuzzi
  • jetted tub ...
Onsite Services:
  • Massage
  • autumn foliage
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • forests
  • health/beauty spa
  • library
  • live theater
  • marina
  • museums
  • playground
  • recreation center
  • restaurants
  • water parks
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • horseshoes
  • miniature golf
  • outlet shopping
  • paddle boating
  • scenic drives
  • shelling
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • fitness center
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundromat
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • basketball court
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • golf privileges optional
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • ice skating
  • kayaking
  • roller blading
  • sailing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • water skiing
  • water tubing
For live entertainment visit Effingham Performance Center for dates for many top performers like Kenny Rogers, Sara Evans, REO Speedwagon and many others. Check the schedule at A conversation fire pit and benches are provided. The only restriction is to avoid its use during extremely dry or windy weather when a the risk of forest fire would be significant. We will advise when the use would be considered dangerous. Wood for the fire is usually available and plentiful in the area so we ask that wood not be brought in to avoid insect contamination in the area.


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(29 traveler reviews)

89% Complete
10% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
0% Complete
Lake Sara-Effingham-Quiet and Peaceful Setting-Lake/Golf Views
average rating of 4.8965516 based on 30 reviews

Clean and Comfortable

  • 5 of 5

A group of 9 ladies stayed two nights for a weekend of golf. Everything was very clean and comfortable. There was plenty of bedrooms for everyone and a large dining table to gather for eating and playing games. All the bedrooms had ceiling fans. Plenty of furniture in the living room. A large deck in the back. There was even food stocked in the cuppords and refrigerator. Effingham is a great area. Plenty of restaurants and things to do. Will definitely be back.

  • Submitted: Jul 23, 2017
  • Stayed: Jul 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Lovely, peaceful home!

  • 5 of 5

We had a great time at this property! The house is very well kept and it is clean and welcoming!

There is a lot of room inside and a wonderful wrap around porch with a gas grill that worked perfectly for our stay. You can tell that the owner cares about maintenance and puts forth a special effort to make it a relaxing and pleasant place to be! I spoke to him a couple of times on the phone--very accommodating! I am hoping that we will be able to enjoy a couple of days there again next summer!

  • Submitted: Jul 17, 2017
  • Stayed: Jul 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

Clean comfortable

  • 5 of 5

Best in the Midwest

  • Submitted: Apr 22, 2017
  • Stayed: Apr 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0

This home is beautiful lots of space. Very comfortable

  • 5 of 5

Love it

  • Submitted: Apr 11, 2017
  • Stayed: Apr 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0
Grand Rapids MI

"Sista" Weekend

  • 5 of 5

This home was a great setting for the women that came this weekend. We were away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. This place provided us with comfort, peace and a sense of God's wonderful blessings that he give us daily. I would recommend this place to anyone who want to feel the presence of God as you enter this home.

  • Submitted: Jun 30, 2014
  • Stayed: Jun 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
2 1

Great getaway

  • 5 of 5

This was the perfect place for my family to meet for the holidays. It was a great place to "get away from it all" and focus on us as a family. We all look forward to staying here again.

  • Submitted: Jan 9, 2014
  • Stayed: Dec 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
0 0


Buffalo Wild Wings
Niemerg's Steak House
Tuscan Hills Winery
Nearest Airport
70 Miles
St Louis Lambert International
Nearest Barpub
0.5 Miles
Numerous bars and winery
Nearest Golf
0.01 Miles
Out the back door
Nearest Train
5 Miles
Effingham Amtrac Station
Nearest Motorway
4 Miles
I-57 and I-70 intersection
Nearest Restaurant
1 Miles
Witts Bar B Q, Firefly Grill, Joe's Pizza
Nearest Ski
200 Miles
Chicago area
Nearest Beach
1 Miles
Lake Sara Public Beach
Car: necessary

Great for family reunions, golf outings, scrapbooking parties, business training retreats and of course family vacations.

This is a great recuperation location for knee and hip replacement patients. With the deck at the same level as the home, the equipped kitchen and ability to enjoy the fireplace, healing time will pass so quickly, you will not want to leave. Special rates for couples and patients of Dr. Bonutti. Call for details.

Effingham has many hidden treasures for entertainment and enjoyment. We offer a full selection of area brochures and guides. There is literally something new to do everyday of the year for guests, all without the hustle and bustle of the big city. Imagine dinner at the Firefly Grill, entertainment at the Effingham Performance Theater, wine tasting at the Village Wine shop or Tuscany Winery followed by a retreat to Cardinal Coves fireplace. Relax and unwind in the silence of nature.

For a quiet evening at the retreat, enjoy the porch and deck and listen to the birds. In the fall and winter, our fire pit offers a great way to gather the group for an afternoon hot dog or marshmallow. Even the split and stacked firewood is provided.

If your want an inexpensive and tasty dinner, try Joe's Pizza. It is my favorite and it reheats just as well. For a blue plate special, Niemurgs Family restaurant is hard to beat, especially if you like fresh pie. They make hundreds a day.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee $75
Pet Fee $25
Damage Deposit $250

Memorial Holiday, 4th of July Holiday, Labor Holiday, Thanksgiving and Christmas week are $100 higher for the first two nights.

50% of rental amount is due with the reservation. The balance is due 14 days prior to your check in date. All reservations require direct communication with Chuck at 217-649-0531. No online bookings are allowed.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the owner or check their rental agreement when booking the property.

You might like these similar properties