Photo courtesy of Grand Geneva
Resort & Spa
Picture this: The sun is glistening of the pristine
lake, and waterfront mansions dot the shoreline as families frolic
on a nearby beach. It’s a beautiful summer day in Lake Geneva. Now,
subtract 60 degrees, add snow, and watch Lake Geneva transform from
a summertime retreat to a winter wonderland; for many cold weather
fans, this makes for an even better getaway.
Where to Stay
For a true escape, check into the Grand Geneva Resort
& Spa and discover why this former site of the Playboy Club won the
2017 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award. Back in the day,
Hugh Hefner’s bunnies roamed the sprawling grounds, but today Grand
Geneva is a family favorite, from the slides and lazy rivers at
Timber Ridge Lodge & Water Park to the on-site child care. Drop the
kiddos off, then head to Grand Geneva’s spa for a delightful massage
and relax in the spa lounge, where serenity envelops you as happy
staffers serve up mimosas, hot tea or beer.
Photo courtesy of Grand Geneva Resort
Not a fan of a big resort? Try an intimate B&B. At
the Baker House 1885, step back in time to a bygone era, when
Saturdays meant enjoying afternoon tea, and admire the grandeur of
this authentic Victorian mansion. If tea isn’t your, um, cup of tea,
you’ll love the historic hotel’s stately rooms and Sunday brunch.
What to Do
Dubbed the Newport of the Midwest, Lake Geneva was
originally founded as a retreat for wealthy Chicagoans who built
mansions along Geneva Lake’s sparkling shores. Bundle up for a
winter hike on any segment of the 23-mile path lining the lake and
weave through the backyards of some of the biggest and most
impressive homes in the state. Hate hiking? There’s always shopping.
Independently owned shops with unique finds, from smartly curated
antique and home accessories stores to high-end clothing boutiques
stocked with brands like Free People and Barefoot Dreams, will have
you asking, “Mall? What mall?”
Where to Dine
Move over, cheese curds and brats — Lake Geneva’s
dining scene goes beyond typical Wisconsin fare and is well worth
the hourlong drive from downtown Milwaukee. Diners from the north
and south flock to two popular bistros. Sopra Bistro serves
beautifully prepared Italian classics alongside eclectic favorites.
Try the fresh and flavorful tuna tartare appetizer, the perfectly
cooked and generous portion of lamb chops and desserts to die for
(tiramisu, anyone?), plus an impressive variety of beers and
specialty martinis. Medusa is a Mediterranean-inspired bistro — and
here flavor meets fun. Grab a seat at the bar and watch a live feed
of the chefs at work as they incorporate seasonal ingredients into
Greek-inspired classics like a beet salad with feta cheese, fresh
fish and scallops. Bistros are great, but sometimes you just need a
slice. The homemade, wood-fired pizza pies at Oakfire will please
even the pickiest pizza connoisseur, with a view overlooking Geneva
Lake to boot. Authentic Italian toppings include freshly imported
Buffalo mozzarella, hot soppressata and prosciutto di parma.
Photo courtesy of Winterfest
Lake Geneva’s Winterfest is the perfect reason to
bundle up and brave the elements. Scheduled for Jan. 27 through Feb.
4, the festival also hosts the U.S. National Snow Sculpting
competition, and it’s a week of (hopefully!) snowy celebrations.
Watch more than one dozen teams of snow sculptors create their
masterpieces, then catch the fun of a human dogsled race (no humans
will be harmed in the making of this race), the craziness of an
abominable snow race,