Lake Geneva, Geneva Lake

by Jenn (eating bender) on August 13, 2012

Yesterday was a deliciously summer day. And by that I mean that it wasn’t humid, but still warm enough that you wanted to spend every minute outside. Bonus when you can spend every minute outside in Lake Geneva, staring out at Geneva Lake.

The distinction between the name of the city and the body of water is just one of the fun facts in this post. Get ready. :) I picked my friend Kelli up Sunday morning and both of us made the drive to Lauren’s place in the suburbs. From there, she offered to drive us the rest of the way to Lake Geneva. It was a gorgeous route with a lot of greenery, farms and animals. The trip worked up quite an appetite, so after walking around for a bit we decided lunch was first on the agenda.

Lauren and Kelli had been to Popeye’s Lake Geneva before (not to be confused with the fast food chain) and highly recommended it. We were able to be seated inside right away, complete with a lake view, and the menu looked amazing. We each ordered a Spotted Cow to start – you can’t visit Wisconsin without having a Spotted Cow!

For my entrรฉe I chose the grilled chicken, mushroom and Swiss sandwich. I asked for marble rye rather than the white roll and sweet potatoes rather than regular fries. Both were delicious switches, in my opinion. This was a great dish!

We toasted at the end of the meal – you’ll notice I was ahead of the other girls in beer swigging talent. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing but I do know that it was one satisfying mug.

After lunch, we perused the shops, stopping in local grocery stores, antique shops and art galleries to check out all that Lake Geneva has to offer. Halfway through our excursion, we headed back down to the pier to board the Lady of the Lake.

The boat cruise took us on a one-hour tour of Geneva Bay that I would recommend to anyone visiting for the first time. Our guides were very knowledgeable about all of the gorgeous – and humongous – homes built by Chicago’s wealthy families. We saw the Wrigley estate – trust me when I tell you it’s impressive – as well as homes owned by Montgomery Ward and one of the families who founded Marshall Field’s, among many others.

There was also a golf course that hosts up to 200 members at one time. It drove me crazy when I heard that as a result, there are an average of only 50 tee times per week. Most golf courses receive 50 tee times in one morning! Looking at the empty greens made me want to sneak out on the course and see how far I’d get. Apparently some of the tour guides did just that but only made it three holes before being discovered. I believe their downfall was a result of parking in the owner’s spot…

By far the most impressive and largest house on the lake was Stone Manor, with seven levels and 50 rooms. It was built for nearly $2,000,000 (a lot of money now but even more so in 1901, when it was completed) by a man named Otto Young. Otto accrued his fortune in a pretty ingenious – but none too subtle – way that made for interesting tour talk.

The story goes that after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Otto took to buying up city property from wealthy people who feared Chicago was lost and had actually fled to their summer homes in Lake Geneva as a result. As it turns out, much of the Chicago property he bought makes up the modern-day Loop. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Needless to say, when the wealthy wanted to buy back their old land, Otto graciously sold it to them at 100+ times the original price.

Also needless to say, he was not very popular among the other residents of Lake Geneva.

The mansion has had a pretty exciting history since Otto’s family converted it into an Episcopalian private school for girls in 1939. The school was discontinued after a few years and in 1960 a developer purchased the land and home for just $75,000. He then spent several million dollars more to restore it. In the 1970s it became a French restaurant, but this too experienced financial problems. Then it became a Christmas Tree museum – somehow that did not do as well as expected, either. Today, it has been converted into six luxury condos with a pool on the roof.

It was an exciting tour, to say the least! Once we were on solid ground again, we made our way to Scoops for a sweet treat to end our adventure.

There were so many options, it was hard to choose! Ultimately I went with a scoop of the strawberry cheesecake on a sprinkle-coated sugar cone. This was Wisconsin’s Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream and it was awesome, with real strawberries and chunks of cheesecake in every bite.

Kelli made a stop at Kilwins for her treat – salted caramel! Lauren went with a peanut butter cup shake. The three of us were very happy with our selections. We had to eat quickly before it melted!

I had such a fun time exploring Lake Geneva with these two ladies. We will definitely be back!

How was your weekend?

Abrazos,

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Megan (Braise The Roof) August 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Sounds like a fun little trip! I haven’t been to Lake Geneva in a really long time. I’ve been itching to get out of town, maybe I should head up there. :) Oh, and I want that ice cream, it looks amazing.
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2 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

I could definitely have stayed there longer but in all honesty it was kind of fun to just do a day trip! It felt like a mini-vacation that had me in Chicago again by nightfall.

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3 Erica August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

How fun (and delicious). I want the sweet potato fries and your ice ceam! Glad you ladies had a blasty

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4 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:19 am

Thanks, Erica!

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5 emily (a nutritionist eats) August 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm

What a fun day trip! I don’t think I’ve been there since a quick trip on the way back from Chicago, but I have not gone on the boat tour, loved hearing a little bit of history!

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6 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:21 am

I always love hearing the history, too!

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7 Cara (Twinthusiast) August 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm

You ladies are too cute. How on earth do you always find the most amazing ice cream cones?!
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8 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:21 am

It’s true ice cream seeking talent, haha. ;)

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9 Kelli August 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Love this incredibly thorough post of the day, Jenn! Felt like I was right back in the LG (Lake Geneva) with you girls. We’ll have to go again — already hungry for more ice cream!

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10 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

Thanks, Kelli! I had so much fun in the LG with you and LL. :)

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11 BroccoliHut August 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

What a fun weekend! I love boat cruises as a fun way to explore a new area.
Oh, and I’ll take a peanut butter cup shake too :)
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12 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

I agree – they are relaxing and you always learn a bit of history! I could go for a PB shake today…

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13 Melissa @Tryingtoheal August 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm

What a great trip to the lake! I love hearing the history about that mansion, that is so neat!

And of course that ice aream looks to die for!
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14 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:25 am

It was really cool to learn about! :)

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15 Joy August 14, 2012 at 7:13 am

The only thing missing in this trip was a little calorie burning adventure. Next time you go to Lake Geneva you should check out Lake Geneva Canopy Tours. Awesome fun. Went there with a group from Curves.

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16 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

Great tip, Joy! We definitely did plenty of walking but it’s always exciting to do something a bit more active, too. I checked out the Canopy Tours – they look like fun! Though I admit I am afraid of heights. ;)

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17 Emily August 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream has my favorite ice cream ever!!!
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18 Jenn (eating bender) August 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

It was delicious! So good seeing you last night!

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19 Anna August 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Wonderful stories and photos! Glad you had a great visit and thank you for sharing this and giving us a glimpse of what it was like there.
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