About 90 minutes north of Chicago, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin has been described as the “Newport of the Midwest” for its opulent lakefront mansions. You don’t have to be rich and famous to vacation here though. Consider a stay at the Abbey Resort, the only lodging directly on the shores of Lake Geneva. The resort is also along the Geneva Lakeshore Path, a delightful 23-mile walkway that encircles the lake, bringing you into the meticulously manicured backyards of estates owned by families like the Wrigleys and Rockefellers.
Lake Geneva Path
One of my favorite things to do in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin? Walk the Lake Geneva path- a rustic walking path that encircles Lake Geneva, cutting right through the backyards of the magnificent mansions and spectacular second homes of this area. Never more than three feet from the water, the path cuts across the sweeping lawns of many grande estates. Yet, there aren`t any “No Trespassing“ signs to scare away walkers. Abbey Resort is the only resort directly on Lake Geneva, and it’s right across the street from the walking path. It’s a hikers dream! But beware, this is not a path for strollers, roller blades or bikes. As it meanders through beautiful backyards, there are broken wooden steps, missing railings where there are steep drops into the lake, and other obstructions that you’ll have to maneuver. This really isn’t a hike for kids younger than five or six. You wouldn’t want to be chasing an overactive toddler who’s running ahead.
Being home or second home to so many of the Midwest’s aristocracy, Lake Geneva is filled with great restaurants and fun-filled activities throughout the year. A great destination for all seasons, spring brings sweet blossoms, summer allows you to hang out at the beach, fall brings an explosion of vibrant colors. In the winter the town hosts one of the country’s biggest ice sculpting festivals. You can take a horse carriage ride through the quaint downtown or just sit on a park bench and take in the simple charms of this small town. Another great way to take in the magnificent mansions? The Lady of the Lake paddle wheel boat takes visitors on a scenic lakefront cruise that doubles as a great history lesson.
Another great way to explore Lake Geneva is by taking one of the Abbey Resort’s complimentary adult or kids bicycles out for a spin on the bike path. The Lake Geneva Bike Path runs through this scenic resort town, offering connections to many of the community’s amenities. The trail has five unique, color-coded segments, making it easy to find your way around.
The Avani Spa
Of course one of my favorite things to do at the Abbey Resort is enjoy the spa and its beautiful Atrium Pool. The pool underwent a big renovation in 2015, so it was really looking snazzy when we arrived. It’s a Midwestern oasis during the winter months, where you can swim laps in the 85° water, or sit in the jacuzzi, while staring out at the snow. There’s also a large welcoming jacuzzi in the lady’s locker room area. The spa menu includes a whole range of massages, facials and hair/nail services. There are also special services and pricing for teens.
After first relaxing by the fireplace in the spa waiting room, I got to experience a first rate 50 minute massage in a candle-filled treatment room. Next time I want to try out the lavender and rosemary scrub.
You can dine at the casual Waterfront Restaurant & Bar or indulge in upscale dining at 240 West. Prime rib on Saturday night is a local favorite, with popular pianist Tom Stanfield on hand to entertain diners. If you want to try the first rate buffet, including unlimited crab legs, oysters and clams, plan ahead and make reservations at 240 West. Ask for a table overlooking the harbor! The Harbor Patio is also open seasonally.
Abbey Resort has plenty of activities for kids. During our spring break visit, the hotel had a whole list of daily activities, from additional-fee crafts like painting t-shirts to free activities including s’mores at the outdoor bonfire at the Harbor Patio, and family Bingo nights. There’s a nice selection of board games in the solarium overlooking the indoor pool. Kids will also enjoy the Abbey Arcade with billiards, air hockey and video games.
If you come in the summer, you can enjoy the sailing school, paddle boards, and outdoor pool. Rooms were recently renovated and feature flat-screen TVs, modern bathrooms and complimentary Wi-Fi. The Abbey Resort and Lake Geneva, are like stepping back in time, but with the modern amenities that make us all thankful to be alive today!