Lake Geneva, a town over the Wisconsin border that was a summer escape for wealthy Chicagoans, also comes to life in the fall when colors change the landscape and an Oktoberfest adds spice to already good food choices. Indeed, third in a fall color series, October is a perfect time to explore Lake Geneva.
Do the Geneva Lake boat tour to hear about the estates that still line the shore. Stroll the boutiques, and galleries and stop for fudge, wine and spices in the town’s foodie shops. A must stop is the Village Gourmet on Main Street to sample dips and wines.
Now ready with snacks in the car, drive around the lake passing Victorian homes and trees “paint-brushed” ginger, peach and scarlet. By the way, the town is Lake Geneva but the lake is called Geneva Lake. Go figure.
Any October week or weekend is good, but go Oct. 12-13 to catch the town’s annual Oktoberfest. Parking that weekend is on the edge of town at the Home Depot on Wisconsin Highway 50. Free shuttle service goes to the downtown’s craft and food booths and shops.
If staying over night, the area has a range of options from B&Bs and suites' hotels to mansions and resorts. Among them is the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa which caters to adults (think golf and spa) and families (haunted hayrides).
As a day's outing, Lake Geneva is about 1 1/2 hours north of Chicago on I 94 to WI Hwy 50 west.