Getting away from it all

Hunting enthusiasts often stay at Sprague’s Kinderhook Lodge in Pike County, an area well known for its whitetail deer population. However, they aren’t its only guests. The lodge, established in 2001 by Illinois Electric Cooperative member Andy Sprague, hosts a myriad of visitors for quilt and craft retreats, church and corporate retreats, and family reunions.

The Homestead is one of three lodging options on the 100-acre property. “I took an antebellum brick farmhouse that needed six months of TLC or a bulldozer,” says Andy. “That was the first chapter of the lodge.” The farmhouse has seven bedrooms, a certified kitchen and a 36-seat dining room that can accommodate meetings and other activities.

“I tried to have a vision of what it could be beyond the three months of hunters,” he says. “Thankfully, that went over very well, and we were turning groups away.” As a result, another 1,000-square-foot building was constructed. The Haven has nine bedrooms and suites, an events room and a rec room.

In 2008, a five-bedroom cabin was added, which allowed them to accommodate groups on a smaller scale. “That provided a space popular for family reunions … [with] the privacy that it allows,” says Andy.

These days, he and his wife Karen run the operation together. “I came in the fall of ’19 and just love what we do,” says Karen. “The funny thing is, when I started college, I was in hotel/restaurant management. That’s what I wanted to do.”

Now, she finds that staff development is more her niche, particularly with the lodge’s younger part-time staff members. “I enjoy helping these teenagers because I used to be a teacher,” she says. “Coming from a small town, and now living in an even smaller place, it’s important to me that we develop professional skills for these kids.”

“I think she’s got a deeper skillset in developing those young folks. … For most of them, it’s their first job, and we want to provide that,” adds Andy. “It’s been a pleasure to have her knowledge … to make this a learning environment.”

Lately, five R’s have been the focus of Kinderhook Lodge’s branding: retreat, relax, restore, renew and revive. The physical surroundings provide an appropriate setting for each. “We have two big water features, one to the north and one to the south, and windows all around,” says Karen. “It’s such a beautiful location, and there are deer [and other wildlife] meandering around the buildings.”

Located 15 minutes east of Hannibal, Mo., an hour-and-a-half drive from Springfield, and a little over an hour south of Nauvoo, the geographic location has also worked out well for the business, and some visitors have been coming for years.

“We’re able to love on a lot of people just in our day-to-day operations,” says Karen. Andy adds that during a year, they see anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 guests, between overnight guests, luncheons and parties. “No day looks the same, that’s for sure,” says Andy.

Sprague’s Kinderhook Lodge
22168 State Highway 106, Barry