Hidden in the tall oaks surrounding our romantic French Chateau is a sweet reminder that we share our property with some feathery neighbors. The France cardinal has been mentioned in journals for over 10 years. Given the name “Charlie” by many of our guests, this red bird has made its presence known over the years to visitors, newly wed couples, and unsuspecting housekeepers. But more than just being a frequent visitor, Charlie has provided comfort to mourning guests, been a sign of renewed love, and stood as a reminder of God’s presence. I have collected some of my favorite stories about our treasured French cardinal to share with you all:


“It was wedding day for a dear 7F bride.  Over the prior few months I had come to know the bride’s mother.  She stayed in France the night before the wedding.  On the morning of the wedding, she stepped outside the back porch and sat at the table in the woods.  She had lost a son recently and wanted to speak to him in the quiet of the 7F morning.  She missed him and wished he could’ve lived to see his sister’s wedding.  As she sat down, the red bird flew to the table within inches of her and looked at her.  As she started to speak to her son in heaven, the bird remained, looking at her intently.  She knew at that moment that she was indeed speaking to her son and the cardinal was representing him.  She was overjoyed with the calmness and love she felt that morning, represented by the 7F cardinal.  What a treasure it was for me to hear that story.” –Donna Garrett, 7F Lodge owner


“With the rising cost of gas, we decided to settle for a staycation to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. It was better than we could have imagined! This gorgeous cabin, beautiful grounds, and the excellent yet unseen hospitality that we found here provided us with the perfect chance to reconnect. Charlie the cardinal came knocking at least half a dozen times. We loved reading about him in the previous entries and watching his antics. He really is one of the most romantic aspects of the cabin since whenever one cardinal is near, the second half of the life-mated pair is never far behind. Charlie did not disappoint and in the morning introduced us to his wife, whom we have dubbed Charlotte.” 7/27/11, 7F Lodge guest

“We were married on Friday at 5pm. Weather was perfect! God is so good, even when you’re not aware. We spent every moment enjoying our room, hot tub, bed, back porch, and took a walk in our robes of course. On Saturday morning God sent a beautiful red bird to wake us by running into the windows. He did the same on Sunday morning…no need for an alarm clock.” 11/25/11, 7F Lodge guest

 “Everything was perfect. We are, however, concerned about Charlie (he’s the red bird making that tapping sound you hear.) We found mention of him as far back as ’05! The poor little guy must wake up every morning thinking ‘Today is the day I drive that other guy away!’ We hope you find him as amusing as we did and we hope you enjoy the peace here as much as we do.” 3/14/13, 7F Lodge guest

“For my dear husband: the road has not always been steady and smooth and we have been faced with many trials. But our love has always endured, even in the face of the greatest trials. I love you and I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together. P.S. We did see the red cardinal, a sign of love renewed!” 2/17/09, 7F Lodge guest

“This place is so peaceful and refreshing. I loved how the cardinal came and perched on the passenger side mirror of our car after we got here-just as he did 2 years ago! Now he is checking us out as we sit on the back porch. Cardinals remind us to bear witness to God- to shine in this world and not be afraid to catch people’s attention!” 4/6/09, 7F Lodge guest
“We enjoyed the time together, the hot baths, and sleeping in! Well, I should say sleeping in until our friendly little bird started pecking at the window! He was fun to watch!” 1/20/14, 7F Lodge guest

I hope these memories of the little red bird make you smile like they did for me. While we haven’t seen Charlie wandering around France in the last few months, maybe if you come and stay here you will hear him tapping on your window early one morning and get a chance to say hello to our old friend.

-Katie Morris