Lake Geneva, Wis., might be the recognized name
among Chicago residents seeking a weekend getaway up north, but
Elkhart Lake, Wis., has everything Lake Geneva has without the
crushing crowds or inflated prices.
In fact, it offers everything from nature hikes to see the
blazing fall colors at Kettle Moraine State Forest to
heart-thumping speeds at Road America's four-mile race track. (You
can drive your own car on the track, with the kids strapped into
their car seats if you want to do something more than watch other
drivers have all of the speedy fun).
This small Wisconsin town an hour north of Milwaukee is an
easy weekend destination from the Chicago metro area. Staying there
comes with a wide range of options, from the high-end and beautiful
Osthoff Resort with its world-class Aspira Spa to a host of
affordable camping venues.
If you like to cook, show your kids what they would have
eaten in 1860 at the Wade House Historic Site. On Sept. 16, you can
help cook (then eat) breakfast on the hearth and period cookstove
from 8-11 a.m., followed by a baseball game played by 1860 rules
featuring the Greenbush Dead Citys. If you can't make the
breakfast, aim for a Hearthside Dinner on Oct. 20 and 27 and Nov.
10 to help prepare and eat an 1860s lunch. Call for reservations:
If you like history more than eating, visit the last
weekend in September for a Civil War re-enactment, or take the kids
Oct. 13-14 to learn about the history of Halloween costumes and
take an open-air wagon ride.
My family is drawn to Elkhart Lake for its small town feel
(population: 967). A stroll around the Saturday morning farmers and
artisans market, a gentle paddle around the 292-acre spring-fed
lake in a rented canoe, or a ride along the country roads on rented
bikes is all it takes to get us to slow down and enjoy life a
little more. (A few hours for Mom at the Aspira Spa while Dad takes
the kids to the lake doesn't hurt, either.)
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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