Within an hour’s drive south from Wisconsin’s two largest cities—Madison and Milwaukee—Lake Geneva is an idyllic getaway for those seeking a lakeside respite from city life.
Be prepared to fully immerse in a more leisurely environment directly upon arrival. Downtown Lake Geneva is merely steps away from the sandy shoreline, so take an impromptu stroll along Wrigley Drive before checking in at Maxwell Mansion. The accommodations appear to be a quaint bed and breakfast at first sight, but the foyer is a gateway to past eras for overnight guests and townies alike. Whether in the mood for Victorian romance or a posh equestrian moment, there are rooms onsite aptly suited for any whimsical fantasy.
Once freshened up for the evening, head over to Sopra Bistro. The fact this restaurant is family-owned is no surprise with its intimate vibes, a compact menu and first-class customer service. Although certain items rotate seasonally, the extensive wine menu is always worth perusing for a bottle (or two) to accompany the flavorful dishes Chef Simon Cumming has on special for the evening, in addition to hearty pasta entrées like freshly made rigatoni or gnocchi.
Head to bed early in order to be one of the first in line at Avant Cycle Café the next morning. Its locally-roasted coffee is top notch as is the rental bike selection. Get caffeinated then explore the area for a few hours on an e-bike, hybrid or road bike. Once back downtown, re-fuel at Oakfire Pizza for lunch. Allergen-friendly options abound thanks to gluten-friendly crusts, a vegan ‘za and several vegetarian offerings on the menu. Also, try to snag a table on the ground level or second-floor patios, if possible. Both offer a stellar view of the marina sans having to sit in full sun.
For thrill seekers in any season, the afternoon should definitely be spent “flying high” at Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures. The nine-line zipline tour is well worth the splurge as it offers the best views of the tree canopy stretched across 100 acres, plus the biggest “rush” in terms of speed, height and agility challenge. If a more chill activity is desired before nightfall, consider a self-guided, tasting tour beginning at Barrique Bistro & Wine Bar to Topsy Turvey Brewery that ends at Studio Winery and Geneva Lake Distilling. Sip vino, beer and spirits each proprietor is currently making or intentionally showcasing to appeal to a variety of palates.
After a day of delightful recreation or chatting with fellow bevy connoisseurs, enjoy a night on the outskirts of town at The Ridge Hotel. The recently renovated property is worth a visit, especially for avid foodies. It now has six dining establishments open to guests and the public— with Crafted Italia and Hunt Club in particular offering a level of fine dining travelers and locals swoon over.
Savor a night cap at the hidden speakeasy or apothecary bar back at Maxwell Mansion prior to bedtime. And presuming java cravings kick in shortly after sunrise, pop by Inspired Coffee on Main Street before starting the journey home. Every purchase directly helps to fund its ongoing mission of providing training, coaching and employment for individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities. A fabulous reason to support this small business..and return to Lake Geneva as often as possible.
Featured photo credit: Visit Lake Geneva