I recently had the pleasure of visiting Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for the first time. We stayed at the Abbey Resort, a sprawling, 90-acre resort located in Fontana, on the Abbey Harbor, just off of Geneva Lake.
We chose this destination purely for relaxation purposes. After a very busy May, my partner in crime and I were both very much in need of some time away. At first this was a little hard for me, I’m an active person who usually has a lot going on; and when I travel, I like to explore my new terrain and see what’s out there. The thing is, there wasn’t that much to do, and that was the point.
So we arrived, checked in, spent the next hour navigating the massive resort and all of it’s parking lots and finally settled in. The above picture was the view out our backdoor. The picture below is the friend I found in the tree in our backyard. (It tickled me….where did he come from?!)
The first night we were there we walked around the resort and the harbor it sat upon. We ate at one of the resort’s three restaurants, then walked down to Harpoon Willie’s, a fantastically fun establishment and the only one we visited twice while in town. The bartender, Stephanie, was awesome; her and local man, John, at the bar gave us the best local intel.
After having a cocktail there, we walked back along the water and stopped at a place called Chuck’s, a standard lake bar. Afterwards we went swimming, ordered room service, and called it a night.
After more swimming and coffee and newspapers, we decided to drive into Lake Geneva, the city, to have lunch before touring the local observatory. I had heard from a couple of different sources to eat at Popeye’s so that swayed our decision. The food was excellent. We split Shrimp Alfredo and the Cheddar Burger, which was chosen because of the cheese description on the menu, “a scoop of cheddar cheese sauce on top of a slice of sharp cheddar cheese”. You trust Wisconsinites when they talk about cheese.
Well it was voted “the best”….
After lunch we headed to the Yerkes Observatory. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest telescopes EVER, that’s why…and that’s cool to me. What was not cool? The tour guide.
I called ahead to make sure there was a tour and what time to arrive. “Sometime between 1:50 and 1:55”, said the lady on the phone. This should have been a sign. Didn’t matter though, we arrived at 1:58 and they still let us in.
The place is absolutely beautiful. The history is somewhat fascinating, but because the tour guide was so terrible, it was very hard for me to concentrate on what he was saying. It would have been better if it was self-guided, with like a handout, with all the facts I need to know. I can learn on my own, without being talked to like a 5 year-old, which is what said tour guide did.
I have to admit, though, he had some good info. He talked to us about the architecture of the place, the sizes of different telescopes, how they work, and how the glass for them was created – which I had never considered before.
He didn’t really say what this thing below is, but I found it to be hilarious. (I’m pretty sure I used to have that desk.)
After nap and swim time, we had wine and cheese at the piano bar on the resort. The piano man was amazing, at times he would play one-handed while rocking on a trumpet with the other. Despite the tour guide, this by far was my favorite day.
Our last day was more of the same, leisurely eating and drinking. I had to visit the one brewery in town, however they didn’t open until 3pm so we killed some time at this super cool, empty, wine store and lounge, The Bottle Shop.
We split two different flights, the “Sweet” and the “Sparkling”. I rarely drink white wine so it was a nice change, a perfect pairing with the very hot afternoon outside. I was pleased with the weather we were gifted with while there, it rained a bit each day, but never when was inconvenient for us.
Geneva Lake Brewing Co. was all right. I had their Double IPA, my partner in crime had their flagship, the IPA. The brewer and assistant brewer were there and let me look around a bit, it was kind of messy and not well put together, plus the brewer was kind of rude. (The assistant brewer was super nice.) The beer was all right though, I’ll give him that.
For our final evening we wanted to have a nice dinner somewhere, so we picked Medusa. It was recommended to us by many of the people we talked to when we asked for the best fine dining restaurant in the area.
We had the place to ourselves at 6 o’clock at night, which was perfect. It was somewhat close quarters, a smaller restaurant, so I doubt I’d like it much while it was busy. I was fascinated by this monitor above the bar; it was the only television in the place and it showed what the chef was preparing.
I got the filet and it was delicious. They had this homemade ketchup that had red peppers in it that was magical.
Overall my time in Lake Geneva was exactly what I wanted. Relaxation, delicious food, great company. I recommend it to anyone who wants a vacation where there isn’t too much more to do.