No water slides here

Resources The Osthoff Resort(800) 876-3399

Think Wisconsin family getaway and chances are you (or at least your children) are thinking water parks. But in less time than it takes to drive to the Wisconsin Dells, you can take the family to a AAA Four-Diamond resort: The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake.

This refined and romantic resort 150 miles north of Chicago offers one-, two- and three-bedroom upscale suites. For my wife and me, that meant a refreshing change from vacationing with children sleeping next to us on cots.

Our two-bedroom suite included a full kitchen, dining area, living room space with couch and chairs, cable TV, gas fireplace and balcony overlooking the grounds and Elkhart Lake.

And our girls loved having their own room, bathroom and TV almost as much as my wife and I liked being able to close the door to our master bedroom at the end of the day.

The town of Elkhart Lake is home to golf, auto racing, restaurants and tourist shops. Gesserts, an authentic ice cream parlor first opened in 1922, is a must-see.

Or stay at the resort and explore the wonders of Elkhart Lake. In the summer, it’s the hub of resort activity, with boating, swimming, and playing along the 500 feet of sandy shore. This time of year, you can hike along the beach, or just stay indoors at the arcade.

The Osthoff also offers organized activities for families and children. You can take a cooking class or make a craft, for a fee. Or leave the kids at a supervised program and head to the spa for a massage.

Hungry? We liked Lola’s, The Osthoff’s fine dining restaurant that overlooks the lake. Sunday brunch at the more casual Otto’s was not as good.

All this fun is a la carte and it doesn’t come cheap. Room rates alone range from $175 for a one-bedroom suite to $455 for a three-bedroom suite during this, the off-peak season. Check the Web site for special deals.

Tom Bradley

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