Lake Geneva, WI: Winter Paradise


I’ve been following Meghan since long before Lake Effect Co was born, as her shots of Milwaukee kept me curious and inspired to make new adventures in my then, new city. After recently noticing she had spent a winter weekend in infamous Lake Geneva, I reached out to have her share her perspective on this popular spot, during a not so popular time of year. Thanks for your sharing your happy place, Meghan!

Families from Chicago and Milwaukee flock to Lake Geneva for vacations and it's easy to see why.  Lake Geneva is full of history, activity, beauty, and much more.  Historic mansions built as summer homes are found scattered all around the lake, where wealthy families brought and continue to bring their children year after year. The town is filled with restaurants, coffee shops, and a variety of boutique stores worth checking out.  

I've been visiting Lake Geneva each year for the last 13 years and always seem to find something new to explore during my trips.  My parents introduced this wonderful lake and town to me many years ago.  Growing up, my family and I would stay at the Grand Geneva, a resort just outside of town.  I remember roaming the halls with my younger brother and following the echoes of the piano in the main lobby to find our way back.  The resort is notable not only for its restaurants, but for the variety of activities offered on-site.  Skiing, swimming, horseback riding, golfing, etc. If you name it, you can probably do it there.  A favorite for my brother and I growing up: the incredible indoor waterpark.

Lake Geneva might be famous for its summer activities but it is truly beautiful in winter as well.  This January, my boyfriend and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary by booking a weekend getaway in Lake Geneva.  Our accommodations were through Seven Oaks, a boutique hotel disguised as a small, quaint neighborhood where visitors stay in luxury cottages.  We decided to stay in Lake Geneva for the weekend, as we both have many great memories from visiting the area over the years.  Aside from our endless stories of tubing on the lake, what we really needed from this trip was some fresh lake air to recharge our system, even in the midst of an icy winter.  With the temperature hovering around 10 degrees and excessively wrapped in warm outdoor gear, we were adamant to explore all weekend.

Close to the main strip of town and boasting hiking trails is Big Foot Beach State Park.  Visitors can camp, fish, and/or just relax along the main beach.  During these chilly months though, a stroll atop the icy lagoon in the park might fit your agenda and snowshoes might be a good call.  Following a trip to the park, we decided to take a sunny drive around the lake.  Tucked away between the trees are incredible mansions that can be viewed all along the journey.  A little further around the lake and we stumbled upon the Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of modern astrophysics.  Later, upon returning to town, we needed to stretch our legs. The Lake Geneva Shore Path fit the boot and is my favorite part of any visit here.  The 26 mile trail has been used for centuries and is now being well-kept by the property owners along the shoreline.  The meticulously maintained yards of the beautiful homes can be seen from the walk.  During our trek, we had the treat of seeing quite a few ice fishing huts scattering the shore as well.  Easy to overlook and though heavily bundled, I still managed to get sunburned cheeks while hiking on a chilly day.  The Shore Path is beautiful in every season and I highly recommend any lake lover to visit.  Before commiting to a hike around the lake or at least a section of trail, be aware that the terrain along the trail varies greatly.  As the trail weaves through some wooded or hilly areas, some parts are a little more challenging than others.  All are maintained by individual property owners.

Summer, fall, winter, or spring, Lake Geneva is a wonderful getaway.  There are always new  activities to explore and events for anyone to enjoy.  Memories made at the lake last a lifetime and the lake always brings you back.


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Meghan Langmyer  

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Lake Geneva


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