A trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, will leave you feeling a world away as you soak up the beautiful landscape and take advantage of all that there is to do and see. Located in Walworth County, Lake Geneva is home to excellent food, five-star resorts, spectacular shopping, outdoor adventure and more.

The best time to travel to Lake Geneva is during the fall when the leaves are brightly colored and the air is crisp. The resort area began as a playground for Chicago’s wealthy and to a large extent, is still that today.  

The mail jumping delivery system has been employed since before roads were built around the lake in the late nineteenth century. Here a mail jumper prepares to jump off the boat onto a dock, put incoming mail in a mailbox, grabs the outgoing mail, and jumps back onto the boat. The boat never stops moving.

Stay
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa
This AAA four-diamond resort offers a variety of amenities; on-site restaurants, spa and fitness center, tennis courts, swimming pools, an indoor water park for the kids, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and so much more. 

Abbey Resort
Abbey Resort recently celebrated 50 years as the only full-service resort built on the lake. Rooms here look on to the resort’s marina where more than 100 boats are housed. The atmosphere is cozy yet elegant and their spa is one of the best around. But it doesn’t stop here. They are also home to two superb, on-site restaurants – The Waterfront Restaurant and 240 West. 

Do
Lake Geneva Cruise Lines 
There are less than a handful of places left in the United States where home-owners receive their mail by boat and Lake Geneva is one of those places. Mail has been delivered by boat here for more than eight decades. Service runs June through September but visitors are invited aboard for a demonstration during the off-season. Find out how it all works on this unique tour! 

The Yerkes Observatory is know as the birthplace of modern astrophysics and is a facility of the University of Chicago. It was established in 1897 on the lake; today the 77-acre, park-like site provides laboratory space and access to telescopes for research and instruction.

Yerkes Observatory
In 1921, Albert Einstein made a visit to the United States and was given a choice – visit Niagara Falls or the Yerkes Observatory. He chose the latter. For just $5 per person, you can tour Yerkes Observatory and learn all about its fascinating history that drew Einstein here nearly 100 years ago. Created by University of Chicago professor George Hale in 1892, the observatory was at one time home to the largest telescope in the world which boasts a 40-inch refractor. 

Hike and bike
Explore Lake Geneva by foot or by bike! Walk and bike paths line the lake where visitors can ooh and aw over the million-dollar mansions and admire lush gardens and one-of-a-kind boat houses while soaking up the sun and scenery. Those who opt to walk are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes as the walk path can become uneven. Those wishing to bike should follow the color-coded segments that run through town.

The affable guide to the lake walk began by ‘drawing’ the outline of Geneva Lake with a rope on the sidewalk. Between 21 and 26 miles long, the lake shore supposedly follows the route taken by Potawatomi Indians. The path crosses the estates of the Schwinns, Swifts, Wackers and Wrigleys.

East Troy Electric Railroad
All aboard the East Troy Electric Railroad! Ride the track’s 10 miles to the Elegant Farmer for “the best pie in America.” Run solely by volunteers, the East Troy Electric Railroad offers a variety of events throughout the year and provides a fun day for families. 
These are just a few highlights of the many things there are to do on the lake. A partial list includes golf, biking, art galleries, bowling, boat rides and rentals, carriage rides, miniature golf, zip lining, para sailing, museums, spas, theater, laser tag, wineries, horseback riding, corn mazes and petting farms. 

Take a walk around part or all of the lake and see opulent multimillion dollar mansions, wooden boats valued at more than $400,000, beautifully manicured gardens and designer boat houses as you stroll along the public path where the lake-facing estates are front and center. The unique opportunity is made possible because of an old law that requires the winding lake path around Lake Geneva be maintained and open to the public. Walkers are not trespassing on the yards of the rich and famous as long as they stay on the path.

Shop
Take an afternoon to explore some of the shops around town. Stop in at Northwind Perennial Farm to smell the roses, peruse the art-filled barn or pick up a unique gift for a loved one. Pesche’s Greenhouse Floral Design and Gift Gallery is another great place to pick up a gift for the garden-lover in your life. And when you’ve shopped until you could just about drop, head over to Geneva’s Studio Winery to sample artisan-style wine.

Black Point Estate
A short boat ride will take you to Black Point Estate. Originally owned by the Seipp family from Chicago, this estate was built in the late 1800’s as a 27-acre summer estate. The family kept the home until 2005 when they donated it to the state. Tours are 80 minutes and are offered from May to October.

Cooking class
Follow Chef John through the farmer’s market as he takes you on a walking tour to pick fresh ingredients you will later use to whip up a three-course menu using seasonal ingredients. After picking up ingredients, students will be taken to the cooking school which is housed in an old church. A variety of classes are offered throughout the year – this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss! By far, this is one of the best vacation things I’ve ever done.

 

Join Chef John on a walking tour of the market and to handpick the freshest ingredients to create an impressive three course menu based upon what’s in-season; lunch included.
Chef John is a blast and the fabulous fresh produce at the market will create a memorable meal.

Eat


Pier 290 Restaurant

Dine lakeside at this local casual dining spot. Pier 290 serves American cuisine made from scratch with a focus on seasonal, local ingredients found in Wisconsin. Expect items like mission fig prosciutto and lemon and herb broiled lake trout. Dine on the outdoor deck, keep warm by the fire pit or secure a spot in the private dining lounge – this is much more than just a restaurant!

Maxwell Mansion

Travel back in time when you visit the Maxwell Mansion for dinner or hors d’oeuvres. This home turned restaurant boasts an air of opulence with a ballroom, library, garden, apothecary bar and speakeasy lounge.

240 West

Found at the spectacular Abbey Resort, 240 West offers views of the harbor and contemporary American cuisine. For dinner I had the shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and coconut cream pie. 240 West did not disappoint.

 
Egg Harbor Cafe

At Egg Harbor you’ll find cute décor, excellent service and good food. This spot is perfect for breakfast or lunch. Try one of their made-to-order egg specialties or my favorite – the Door county chicken salad. 
To learn more about Lake Geneva, visit travelwisconsin.com or lakegenevawi.com.

 

The Egg Harbor Café is well known for its countrystyle décor that features chickens, eggs and country artwork collected with love and care.
Black Point is an estate on the south shore of the lake, built in 1888 as a summer home by Conrad Seipp, a beer tycoon from Chicago.