Why Lake Geneva Wisconsin has been a legendary getaway destination for more than 150 years

Jun 14, 2018

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin a year-round playground and vacation destination
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Kathleen Seeberg, Executive Director of Walworth County Visitors Bureau shares insights about the four seasons attractions of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Come along and discover how the Gilded Age barons of Chicago came to build their mansions on the shores of Lake Geneva following the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871. 

Situated just 75 miles away from the Windy City, Lake Geneva soon became a coveted destination for the rich and famous…and it remains true today.

Circa-1885 Baker House stairwell symbolizes the richness of architectural detail in the Gilded-Age mansions of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Credit Thomas Wilmer

But the lakefront town has evolved in to a year-round vacation destination for everybody even though luxurious mansions still line the lakefront—and in Lake Geneva’s modest fashion—even the resort-sized mansions are sometimes fondly referred to as summer cottages and cabins.

A not untypical summer cottage lining the shores of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Vacation time in Lake Geneva doesn’t stop with the first November gales…that’s when the locals start prepping for the winter ice festival, tuning up their ice boat racers, and dreaming of snowmobiling, drilling holes in the ice, and setting up their fish shanties on the frozen lake. 

The innkeeper's welcoming smile at the historic circa-1856 Maxwell Mansion symbolizes the friendliness of the locals in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Credit Thomas Wilmer

This us just a sampler of the outdoor allures that keep this cool, small town humming year round. The businesses are mostly ma & pa operations-an important ingredient that makes Lake Geneva a most welcoming place.   

The waterside historic Riviera has been a gathering spot for locals for decades in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Credit Thomas Wilmer
Cruise tours of Lake Geneva is a popular pastime for individuals and groups
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer NPR One, Apple Podcast album art

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: 

Apple Podcast

NPR.ORG Podcast Directory

NPR One (APP)

Stitcher.com

Twitter: TomCWilmer

Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer

Culture Editor @360magazine

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013
Credit SATW Foundation
Underwriting support provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul