Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Girl's Weekend in Lake Geneva

a three day girl's trip in lake geneva, wisconsin

Back in the spring, my sister and I got it in our heads that we should plan a girl's trip somewhere at the end of the summer before she had to go back to school and I had to go back to work. Jeff was actually away for a weekend for his brother's bachelor party, and we started talking about how Ellen didn't end up getting to go on my bachelorette party because she was super pregnant, and decided we needed a re-do! A little time away from the kiddos to rest and recharge was just what the doctor ordered. We had grand plans of flying off to somewhere on the ocean or heading back to New Orleans, but then never managed to actually plan something or buy tickets. But then I thought, we don't have to go very far at all to have a fun weekend! My mom ended up coming along too, and it was such a nice little trip.

If you haven't been before, Lake Geneva is a cute little lake town just across the border in Wisconsin, and is just a 90 minute drive. Lake Geneva used to be where wealthy Chicagoans would go during the summer so there are huge historic mansions on the lake. There is also a small but adorable little downtown with a surprising number of ice cream restaurants per capita. I could see staying for a longer trip if you rented a house outside of town, but really it's great for a long weekend trip if you stay downtown.

Where we stayed: 

I looked at a bunch of hotels but we were booking pretty last-minute so there weren't a ton of options. I ended up finding a room available at The Cove, and once we realized there was a huge pool with a bar it seemed like a no brainer. The hotel itself was interesting because parts of it seemed super dated (hallways, balconies, etc), but our room was actually updated with a gorgeous bathroom and pretty hardwood floors, plus a little kitchenette for keeping all of our wine and snacks. We booked a studio suite, which had a queen and a pullout couch, which ended up being perfect for three people. The pool was crazy busy every day with people out drinking all day every day and live music, but it was still very family friendly with lots of kids running around. The location was also perfect, we were one block off of the beach and just a couple blocks from the main downtown area.

What We did: 

When you're in Lake Geneva, you have to get out on the lake! We booked a Jazz Dinner Boat Tour with Lake Geneva Cruise Line to have dinner out on the water. The boat left from downtown at 7, and we got to cruise through the whole lake while having drinks and dinner. There was a little bit of history about some of the big mansions on the water, but for most of the ride there was a live jazz band! The food is nothing to write home about (my sister said, "Oh, it's like wedding food") but the sunset views and music more than made up for it.

We also spent a surprising amount of time shopping downtown. I thought Marigold was so adorable, and ended up buying a set of cute minimal Christmas plates at C.R. Goodfinds because apparently I'm the kind of person now who buys sets of Christmas plates while on vacation. We also did a mini wine tasting at New World Wine Shop (you can just walk in and taste things for free), and I'm pretty sure my sister tried every kind of beef jerky at BJO. We also got ice cream twice from Scoops because it's vacation and calories don't count ;) But really, it was so good we had to go back for round two.

And then obviously we spent a lot of time at the pool! We thought we were going to go for a walk around the lake too, but a thunderstorm blew through so we ended up having a couple of drinks at Hogs & Kisses instead. My kind of exercise ;)

Where We Ate: 

We stopped in for lunch at Oakfire right when we got to town, and got the last table on the upstairs balcony with an amazing view of the lake. We split some apps plus a pizza and a salad, and everything was so good. I'm basically always pro burrata, but the calamari was so good!

We went for dinner to Sopra and it was packed. I made a reservation two weeks in advance and was so glad I did because we saw people being turned away at the door. My sister and I both got the duck, and it was so good I wanted to lick the plate!

Joni's Diner
I realized once we wandered in that I actually have been to Joni's before, and that diner breakfast didn't disappoint! The menu is small and standard, but everything was really good! Probably because it was covered in butter ;) It's a fun place to visit too because it's a vintage diner from the 1950's so it's really old school and cool inside.

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