Being new to the area makes everything around Walworth County a surprise for me, and meeting the ladies with the Spirit of the Lakes Chorus was an absolute treat! They were all smiles, and I… More
Having fun and saving money doesn’t always go hand-in-hand, but with the Walworth County Visitors Bureau’s Buy One, Get One (BOGO) Cards, you can do both! The fourth annual BOGO card has been released, and it’s packed full of savings from area businesses. Visitors and locals alike will find value in the BOGO card, which has 48 discounts on area attractions, dining, shopping, and much more. The cards are $10 each, and are available online, and at the Walworth County Travel Information Center located at 2375 E. Geneva Street in Delavan.
The 2016-2017 BOGO Card features fabulous buy one, get one deals on golf, museum admissions, kayak rentals, air tours, boat rides, paddleboard rentals, spa services, and so much more. This year’s dining specials alone will help you save big, featuring buy one, get one deals from the Lake Geneva Pie Company, Sperino’s, Hawk’s View Golf Club, PIER 290, Lake Lawn Resort, Grand Café, Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub, The Trout House at Rushing Waters, and The Abbey Resort. Top those deals off with specials from area attractions like the Lake Geneva Cruise Line, The Dancing Horses Theatre, Old World Wisconsin, Fontana Paddle Company, and Gypsy Air Tours to name a few, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount you can save all the while having fun.
The BOGO Card is available now, and all deals are good until April 30, 2017. A full list of participating businesses and their deals are available on our website.
As some of you know, I’m relatively new to the Lake Geneva area. That said, every experience I have in Walworth County is a new one for me. I’ve been welcomed with open arms by so many local attractions and businesses that I’ve been able to cover a lot of ground in the area in just a short time, and for that I’m grateful.
One of my recent adventures in Walworth County was a visit to Lake Geneva Canopy Tours. I tried not to let it show, but deep down I was ridiculously excited to try zip lining. Most people in the area don’t know this about me, but I am a retired glazier. Believe it or not, that does not mean that I was at the donut shop bright and early glazing your favorite morning pastry. Rather, I was a Journeyman Glazier where I installed windows in high-rise, commercial buildings. I LOVE heights. And I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, too. Zip lining was a chance to enjoy heights and get a bit of an adrenaline rush all at once, especially on the zip they call “The Beast.” On top of that, I also got an interesting eco-tour of the site and the guides were hilariously awesome, so I was in stitches throughout the entire tour!
When you first arrive for your canopy tour, you’ll meet your guides and the other people in your group. Once the introductions are through, you’ll move on to gearing up for your adventure. A harness, a helmet, gloves and a trolley are necessities, and your guides will make sure that everything is appropriately fitted to you before you head to the course. As soon as everyone is set, you’ll hop a short ride to the course where you get a quick lesson on the “Ground School” zip to learn everything you need to know to conquer the course.
Clearly I didn’t have any issues making the leap on the first of eight zips on the course, however; there were a couple hesitant participants in my group. I do believe that when this course was designed, the possible hesitation of some was taken into consideration because they start you off small. The first zip was short, sweet, and not too far off the ground. The “Butterfly,” which is about 100 feet long and 15 feet high, was a pleasant little teaser preparing you for what was yet to come. My only hitch was the “landing” at the end of the zip line. There are landing logs on the platforms, and admittedly, I wasn’t very good at landing on them. I always tell people that you’ll never hear my name and the word “graceful” in the same sentence. I proved that statement correct once again, because I seemed to be the only one consistently missing the block.
I won’t lie, the zips get longer, and some higher, as the course goes on, but by the time you reach “The Beast,” you’re pretty confident about making it across without any worry. “The Beast,” by the way, is only 841 feet long and about 70 feet high. You will certainly pick up a bit of speed on this one, but it’s nothing that a few pats from a gloved hand can’t slow down.
The zip lines alone make the canopy tour a blast. Add the sky bridges and spiral stairways, and your adventure level sky rockets to an even higher level of awesomeness…literally and figuratively! The longest sky bridge is a mere 240 feet long. There’s a bit of a shake as everyone treks their way across the bridge, but even for the fainthearted, the wobbliness is well worth it as you take in an incredible view from the treetops. The spiral stairways are a rush to climb, and offer an impressive view over the course and fellow zip liners.
Here’s a few fun eco facts about Lake Geneva Canopy Tours:
- The course was built on the site of a reclaimed quarry of a non-metallic mining facility.
- Only eight mature trees were removed in construction of the course, in which the trees were then used for benches, landing logs and obstacles.
- All of the platforms can be adjusted as the tree grows. Telescoping arms are attached to the platforms (not the trees), allowing for easy adjustments without causing damage to the trees.
After two and a half hours of zipping and climbing, I was asked if I would do it again. My answer: Heck yea! I don’t know if fun like that would ever get old, no matter how many times I did it. And who knows, maybe if I did it enough I might find a little grace in my landings. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
For more information on the Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, or to schedule a tour, head over to their website and search them out on social media.
Flower gardening and landscaping can be a tough business for home and business owners alike. Fortunately, Delavan has a local nursery that not only has a plethora of trees, plants and shrubs, but that also offers services to help you design exaclty what you have in mind. That nursery is one of the Walworth County Visitors Bureau’s most recent members: Arbor Vista Nursery. We had the treat of doing a little Q&A with Rita, from Arbor Vista and learned about all the amazing things they have to offer.
WCVB: Please tell us about Arbor Vista Nursery.
AVN: We are a locally owned and operated wholesale nursery of trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, and grasses with a retail sales yard for homeowners.
WCVB: How long has Arbor Vista Nursery been in Delavan?
AVN: Established here in Delavan in 1980 and now the size of 40 beautiful acres.
WCVB: What kind of plants, shrubs and trees can be found at Arbor Vista Nursery?
AVN: We have a wide and varied selection of hardy trees, shrubs, and perennials that are ideal for this area.
WCVB: What kind of specialty plants do you offer?
AVN: There are plenty of Wisconsin natives and butterfly and bird loving plants we have that we highly recommend!
WCVB: Does Arbor Vista Nursery offer any services?
AVN:. Yes, we provide customer consultation on landscape design, plant health, and delivery and install for purchases.
WCVB: Do you offer delivery?
AVN: We gladly do offer delivery in a local radius and with a delivery charge depending on location.
WCVB: Are your plants/products warrantied?
AVN: Yes, we do warranty for retail buyers, 100% up to two months and 50% up to a year.
WCVB: Are there any upcoming events/sales at Arbor Vista Nursery?
AVN: We will be having a fall sale on trees beginning in September and recommend keeping an eye on our Facebook page for updates and deals!
WCVB: Where can we find Arbor Vista Nursery, and what are the nursery hours?
AVN: We are located just past the arboretum on Dam Road (4348 Dam Rd) and we are open currently Monday – Friday 9am to 4pm.
WCVB: If someone would like to visit Arbor Vista Nursery, is there anything they should know before coming?
AVN: If there are any questions on future landscaping ideas or concerns on existing plants, pictures of the location or of your plant material are always handy to bring in and appreciated!
WCVB: What is your favorite part about being a local business in southeastern Wisconsin?
AVN: Seeing the beauty and joy greenery and landscaping can bring to individual home owners, businesses, and our local community in whole. That’s what has kept us going for 36 years and counting.
This week’s featured member is the ever charming Historic Steppingstone home in downtown Lake Geneva. Not only is this home full of intrigue, it’s also filled with incredible local history. I had the chance to meet with Charlene Klein, the owner of this lovely private estate, and was delighted by the luxurious style and historic beauty of this home that was built in the late 1800s. This tour is where modern day life meets a bygone way of living, complimented by stunning historical architecture. The stories that Charlene shares are simply icing on the cake!
WCVB: Please tell us a little about the Historic Steppingstone House.
CK: Steppingstone was built in 1875 by Phillip Moore, owner of the Moore Hardware Store in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Italianate in style, it is typical of a “Lake Geneva” house of that time, painted white with dark green shutters.
WCVB: How did you come to acquire Steppingstone?
CK: I decided to move to Lake Geneva in 2003, and found Steppingstone after an extensive search for a family home. I believe that I was meant to live in this charming home and become it’s guardian for as long as possible.
WCVB: What makes Steppingstone unique?
CK: Steppingstone stands as a testament to the hard working full time citizens who made Lake Geneva a center of commerce and culture. After Mr. Moore sold the home to the town barber, generations of the Chapman family lived in the home until the early 1990’s. I am only the fourth owner of Steppingstone in 141 years!
WCVB: Your brochure states that Steppingstone has been “saved from the wrecking ball.” Would you please elaborate?
CK: After Margaret Chapman’s passing, the home had fallen into disrepair. Scheduled for demolition in 1995, a Lake Geneva craftsman, Ronald Weber, purchased the home and lived in it for 7 years while lovingly restoring it. He replaced and upgraded the electrical, heating and plumbing systems, while retaining all of the original architectural elements. The wavy glass windows, the curved banister, wood trim, exterior shutters, and transom windows are all original to 1875.
Then, as recently as four years ago, the home was threatened once again when the city devised a plan to demolish all of the homes on the north side of Wisconsin Street to erect a parking garage. I, along with several area residents, mounted a fierce protest and after many hours and months of phone calls and meetings with city officials, saved this and the other homes.
WCVB: What is your favorite story that has followed Steppingstone over the years?
CK: I very much like to think about the people that have lived and visited here. I can picture the early days with carriages making their way to the town square just at the end of the block, and pilgrimages down to the lakeside for picnics, and friends and neighbors gathering here. In later years, resident Margaret Chapman was a singer with the Florentine Opera, and I imagine she and her beautiful baby grand piano filling the house with operatic melodies.
Very recently, though, I had a visitor, Mrs. Vorpagel, who had rented an upstairs room from the Chapmans in the 1940’s. She related to me that being of short stature, she had to stand on the second or third step to give her suitor a goodnight kiss!
WCVB: Do you have a favorite room in the house? If so which room, and why?
CK: Each room has a different character, so that is a difficult choice! I do like to hear the giggles of my grandchildren in the playroom upstairs while they spy through the window at the people on the screened in porch. And that porch is where I take my morning coffee and has been the location of many “girl talks”, buffet dinners for my family and other gatherings. Of course, when I invite friends and family at Christmastime and Santa himself pays a visit, the parlor becomes the center of attention. I can’t omit the wine cellar – cool on hot summer days!
WCVB: What do you like most about owning a property in downtown Lake Geneva?
CK: I love being able to walk to everything and reduce my “carbon footprint”!
WCVB: Why did you choose to open Steppingstone up to the public for tours?
CK: Since 2004 I have opened the home to charitable organizations as well as the AAUW and the like, and everyone always has suggested to me that I do this on a regular basis and give others the opportunity to see the home and hear its story.
WCVB: Can Steppingstone be rented for small gatherings?
CK: Yes! It’s perfect for ladies groups, cocktail parties, off-site meeting groups, etc. The pergola and terrace can also be configured to accommodate an intimate wedding.
WCVB: What does a tour of Steppingstone cost?
CK: $10.00 per individual
WCVB: When is Steppingstone open for tours?
CK: Sundays at 11am, 1,3, and 5 pm. Free parking is available for tour guests.
WCVB: Are there any restrictions or limitations that visitors should know about prior to scheduling a tour?
CK: Steppingstone is not handicap accessible, as there are stairs and uneven terrace surfaces. No beverages or food is allowed on the tour. No smoking on the premises.
WCVB: How can people schedule a tour at Steppingstone?
CK: Best way is to phone or text me at 847-867-8684, but a reservation is not generally necessary. Weekday tours for groups can be scheduled with advance notice. Parking is available for small motorcoach vehicles.
WCVB: Where is Steppingstone located?
CK: 817 Wisconsin Street, Lake Geneva, WI. 3 blocks north of the lake, and two blocks north from Main Street (Rte. 50). ¼ block west of the intersection of Broad and Wisconsin Streets.
To learn more about the Historic Steppingstone home and to see more pictures, visit their Facebook page.
Summertime brings so many exciting events to Walworth County, and the upcoming Great Midwest Pro Rodeo is no exception! Coming to the Walworth County Fairgrounds next month, the rodeo is full of fun and excitement for the whole family. I had the pleasurable opportunity to speak with Lenora N., from the Big Hat Rodeo Co., about the event and what it holds in store for 2016. Read on to learn what’s returning, and what’s new this year.
WCVB: Please tell us a little about the Great Midwest Pro Rodeo that is coming to Elkhorn.
LN: Big Hat Rodeo Company has been a family owned and operated business for 96 years. There have been 6 generations of our family in the rodeo business and there are still three generations at the rodeos. We are vigilant in ensuring that our spectators, sponsors and contestants can enjoy our performances with their families. There is something for everyone and we pride ourselves on seeing multi-generational families come back…year after year.
Big Hat Rodeo Company is proud to bring great rodeo action and excitement to Elkhorn. The Great Midwest Pro Rodeo is a phenomenal event that incorporates all of the fun, energy and thrills and spills you’d expect from a great rodeo PLUS hilarious rodeo clowns, the daring Wild Together Trick Riders, kids games and so much more.
WCVB: Where will the rodeo be held, and on what dates?
LN: The Great Midwest Pro Rodeo will be Friday and Saturday, August 19th and 20th at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn. Two HUGE performances at 7PM daily.
WCVB: Has the Great Midwest Pro Rodeo been to Elkhorn in the past?
LN: This is the 12th year for the Great Midwest Pro Rodeo to visit Elkhorn and it’s bigger and better than ever!
WCVB: What kind of events can we expect this year at the rodeo?
LN: The pro rodeo events are Bareback Riding (the rodeo’s most physically demanding event), Steer Wrestling (rodeos fastest event), Team Roping (the rodeo’s two-contestant event), Saddle Bronc Riding (the rodeo’s classic event), Tie Down Roping (the rodeo’s precision event), Cowgirls Barrel Racing (the rodeo’s ladies only event) and Bull Riding (the rodeo’s most dangerous and most popular event).
WCVB: Is the rodeo kid-friendly? Are there activities for kids at the rodeo?
LN: We offer several activities aimed at our younger audience members. A boot scramble allows kids in the arena, tons of fun and keeps them safe as well.
WCVB: Please tell us about the “Cowboys & Clowns” program.
LN: Cowboys and Clowns is great for kids of all ages. It’s a meet and greet with the cowboys and clowns, autographs and photo ops as well as some fun rodeo games and best of all, a chute tour so everybody gets a chance to meet our livestock “stars of the show”, including the bucking horses and bulls. It’s educational, it’s fun and it’s free with your rodeo admission.
WCVB: The website states that the rodeo assists a great cause. Please tell us about the cause, and how the rodeo helps.
LN: The Great Midwest Pro Rodeo is held to benefit the Memorial Rodeo Scholarship Fund that was actually started as a memorial for our parents, Rudy & Gene Calzavara, who spent their entire lives in rodeo and supporting young people who loved rodeo. They were passionate about education and with the cost of college increasing each year it’s becoming a struggle for many families to send their kids to college, without taking on massive student loans. Thousands of kids each year attend college with the help of rodeo scholarships, like ours. Each year we choose the recipients, based on their being full time students with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and they have to be involved in rodeo in some way. If they’re on a rodeo committee, volunteer, compete, are specialty acts or personnel, they qualify. The scholarships are $2500 each and are awarded at the end of July each summer at the Grayslake, IL rodeo in the county where we were raised. After our parents passing we thought it would make them proud to continue to do what came so naturally to them…help kids further their education while letting them grow and achieve their rodeo goals. 100% of funds raised go directly to the scholarships. NO ADMINISTRATION FEES! We have donation bins throughout the grounds and we also have a boot pass with volunteers literally “passing cowboy boots” for donations. Usually we have a couple of adult games where the monies raised also go to the Fund. The Scholarship Fund has become a huge priority for family and friends. Although the Great Midwest Pro Rodeo is our only official annual fundraiser, you can also make donations on our website and even when you’re purchasing advance tickets. Go to http://www.bighatrodeo.com, click on ABOUT and it will take you to the Scholarship page or when you’re on our Tickets page to purchase Great Midwest Pro Rodeo Tickets, there’s a spot for donations of any size.
WCVB: Are concessions available at the rodeo?
LN: There is an amazing array of great food and drink concessions available. Everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to delicious prime rib sandwiches, funnel cakes, popcorn and so much more. Concessions open at the same time the entrance gates do…5PM daily.
WCVB: Are there any new features at the rodeo for 2016:
LN: Great news: There’s several NEW things in 2016…First, if you love sensational country music you may already be fans of “Chasin’ Mason”. They will be performing after both performances and I’ve heard rumors they’ll do a song or two during the rodeo as well. There’s no extra charge for the extra fun…it’s included with your rodeo ticket. There’s a beer garden at both ends of the grandstand and for our younger guests, there’s some miniature ponies coming to visit. Kids can see and pet them and they make everybody smile. An all-new VIP pit pass ticket is available only online or at the advance ticket locations. It includes seating on the raised infield stage, a visit with our rodeo clowns and specialty acts & beverages as well as some snacks. Cost is $25 per person.
WCVB: You’ve organized many rodeos. What is your favorite part about the Walworth County Fairgrounds event?
LN: The Walworth County Fairgrounds is one of our all-time favorite venues for several reasons. First, it is impeccably cared for…always clean and neat and so easy to navigate. They have everything you’ll ever need for a successful, plenty of room with perfect locations for anything from parking, handicapped access, lighting, seating, concessions, restrooms, etc…and they have an amazing office and management team that works constantly to improve facilities, marketing and spectator conveniences.
WCVB: What kind of planning goes into a rodeo event like this?
LN: Rodeos are certainly a unique event with unique needs. Of course, marketing, growing a sponsorship program, lining up vendors, site needs, etc are all planned but attracting a great number of quality contestants, ensuring livestock comfort and safety, making sure personnel from the rodeo side as well as ticket sellers, parking people and for this rodeo they are all volunteers, which is simply amazing and so rewarding. We certainly could not stage The Great Midwest Pro Rodeo without the many volunteer hours that we are blessed with.
WCVB: How do the cowgirls and cowboys register for the competitive events? With only a few weeks to go before the event, is there still time to register?
LN: A huge percentage of our contestants are members of a major rodeo association and they all call into a central entry system to enter rodeos by phone and new in 2016, online entries are also accepted. Most of the events have already closed entries but there is also a possibility for some area member and non-member people to be able to compete. They would just need to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 815/648-1957 (office) or 815/823-3245 (cell). I’d be happy to answer questions.
WCVB: Will there be an online roster of competitors before the event?
LN: No, there isn’t a complete roster of contestants available online BUT at the rodeo our guests receive a complimentary score sheet that has a schedule of events as well as the contestant names, hometowns and a place to keep score as the rodeo proceeds. There are also logos from some of our sponsors, who make the rodeo possible. Simon’s Feed and Seed, The Walworth County Fair, WSLD, and Copies and Prints Plus have been sponsors since the first rodeo and they are fantastic to work with.
WCVB: How much are the tickets to see the rodeo, and where can they be purchased?
LN: Tickets are really family friendly. Tickets are available through online advance sales as well as at our convenient advance ticket locations. Purchasing tickets in advances save you up to $3 per ticket!
Kids 4-Under are FREE!
Kids 5-11 and Seniors 65+ are only $8 in advance/$10 at the gate
General Tickets (12 years and over) are $12 in advance/$15 at the gate
VIP PIT PASSES are available online and at advance ticket locations for ONLY $25 per person.
ADVANCE TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW AT www.bighatrodeo.com, in Elkhorn at the Walworth Co Fairgrounds office, at Simon’s Feed & Seed, in Lake Geneva at Copies & Prints Plus, and in IL at Woodstock Farm & Lawn. ALL ADVANCE TICKET SALES (online and at retail locations) ENDS THURSDAY, August 18th at 3 pm.
WCVB: Can tickets be purchased at the gate, or can they only be purchased prior to the event?
LN: Tickets will be available at the gate both days, but if you don’t have your tickets ahead of time, come early to avoid long lines and enjoy some great food.
WCVB: Are there any other details that you’d like to share with our audience about the upcoming rodeo:
LN: The Great Midwest Pro Rodeo features the spectacular bucking stock of the Big Hat Rodeo Company and includes many award-winning animals. It’s 2 ½ hours of non-stop action and excitement, tons of laughter and our rodeo fans will be there at the end of the rodeo cheering on their favorite competitors. You can make it a great evening under the stars and enjoy the sounds of Chasin’ Mason. Grab your cowboy boots and hats and load up your family and friends and come to the Great Midwest Pro Rodeo for a fantastic rodeo experience…and benefit a wonderful cause all at the same time!
The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is one of Lake Geneva’s hottest new attractions this year, and I had the opportunity to sit down for a one-on-one convo with the magic man himself, Tristan Crist. He’s full of wit and entertaining humor, and his show delivers just that. If you’re thinking about catching one of his live performances, here’s what you can expect: to laugh, to be impressed and amazed by his illusions, and perhaps to be his “assistant” for a trick or two. He shares heartfelt stories, never misses a beat with his quick wit, and even takes time out after the show to chat with his guests and sign autographs for the little ones. Up close, Tristan is just as charming as he is on stage.
WCVB: Please tell us a little about yourself.
TC: I’m a 33-year-old professional magician and illusionist with a dog, a cat and several beautiful magical assistants.
WCVB: Please tell us about your assistants.
TC: Nancy and Shannon are my two full time assistants. Nancy has worked with me for the past 8 years and Shannon for the past three years.
WCVB: How did you get your start in the magic business?
TC: I started with card tricks as a young boy, worked my way up to performing at birthday parties and scouting events. Fast forward 20 years and thousands of shows in venues big and small – I can now call myself a professional!
WCVB: Where have you previously performed?
TC: I spent ten years as a featured entertainer at Circus World in Baraboo, WI performing for over half a million people. I have also performed at large theatres and performing arts centers throughout the Midwest. In addition, I enjoy performing for a variety of corporate parties and functions throughout the year.
WCVB: Besides your Lake Geneva location, where was your favorite place to perform and why?
TC: I had a 400 seat theatre at Circus World before coming to Lake Geneva. It was a favorite place to perform because it was built specifically for my show and included all sorts of special secrets to help with the magic!
WCVB: How did you come to choose Lake Geneva as the destination of choice for your theatre?
TC: I was looking for a tourist destination close to Chicago and Milwaukee that didn’t currently have a permanent evening entertainment option.
WCVB: What is your favorite part of performing?
TC: Seeing the audience reactions!
WCVB: What kind of training do your assistants need in order to perform with you?
TC: Flexibility and a strong work ethic are a must. Nancy has a gymnastics background and Shannon was a professional water-skier with the Tommy Bartlett show prior to doing magic.
WCVB: What kind of audience does your show cater to? Is your show family friendly?
TC: The show is designed to fool adults, but is certainly appropriate for the entire family audience.
WCVB: How many performances do you do in a week?
TC: During the summer season we will average around 7 shows per week.
WCVB: In addition to illusion mastery, what else can your audience expect at your live performances?
TC: The biggest surprise people consistently mention is how funny the show is.
WCVB: Is it necessary for tickets to be purchased in advance, or can people buy tickets at the door?
TC: Tickets can be purchased at the door, however, the show does tend to sell-out fast so advance tickets are recommended.
WCVB: What is your favorite illusion to perform and why?
TC: Our motorcycle appearance is my favorite because it is so incredibly fast it just seems impossible. We put a lot of time into rehearsing it to make it what it is today and the audience reactions when a real motorcycle appears onstage in an instant are priceless.
WCVB: What is the most difficult illusion to perform and why?
TC: Our most difficult illusion to perform is our Houdini act that involves a split second switch. It is a very physically demanding illusion for myself and Shannon which makes it difficult to pull off consistently every night.
WCVB: How long did it take you to learn that particular illusion?
TC: We practiced it daily for 3 months before it was put into the live show.
WCVB: What is your favorite thing about the Lake Geneva area?
TC: We are all enjoying exploring the many restaurants in the area.
WCVB: When you’re not honing your skills or performing, what do you do for fun?
TC: I tend to work on magic around 80 hours a week. There are tons of things to do to run the business side in addition to the magic. When I’m not working I am relaxing with my dog and cat, or checking out some local food or drink options.
To learn more about the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, or to order tickets to one of his upcoming performances, please visit http://www.lakegenevamagic.com. Catch him if you can…
If you haven’t heard the news, there’s a new attraction in town that’s full of fun, mystery, and problem solving. We’d like to welcome the Lake Geneva Clue Room to downtown Lake Geneva! If you haven’t yet heard of clue rooms, or escape rooms, they are one of the hottest new trends of live action entertainment. A clue room is a physical adventure game where players are “locked” in a room and have to use elements from within the room to solve a series of puzzles that lead you to the code that allows you to escape the room. And, you only have 60 minutes to do it! We were so crazy excited to have this new attraction right here in Walworth County that we decided to have a little Q & A session with Kathy Speaker, from the Lake Geneva Clue Room, to get all the deets on the new area entertainment.
WCVB: Please tell us about the Lake Geneva Clue Room.
KS: Lake Geneva Clue Room is an interactive game for groups of 2 to 10 people. You have 60 minutes to work together to solve the puzzles and challenges in order to make your escape. There are three different rooms available everyday–C&NW Railroad, Cold War Clash, and Al Capone. Great for families, bachelor/bachelorette parties, groups of friends out for the evening, or team building.
WCVB: How was Lake Geneva Clue Room started? How did the idea start for the new business?
KS: My family went to Clue Carre in New Orleans. There were 14 of us —7 of us in each room. We had so much fun, we switched rooms the next day. My brother has always wanted to start his own business and since I am a retired school teacher, I offered to help.
WCVB: What age range is suitable to participate at the Lake Geneva Clue Room?
KS: I always say 8 to 80+. Younger kids see things differently and are very helpful. My mom has done them and loves them—she’s 80.
WCVB: How many Clue Rooms do you have?
KS: We have three rooms in Lake Geneva and three rooms in Baltimore.
WCVB: Is there a minimum party size required to participate in the Clue Room?
KS: We have had groups of 2 that have been successful.
WCVB: How far in advance does one need to book with Lake Geneva Clue Room?
KS: At this early stage, people can book for the same day. That might change as we get busier. You can book unto 6 months in advance online.
WCVB: Do you offer sessions for special parties, such as corporate events?
KS: Yes. Corporate events and bachelor/bachelorette parties are a good match for our rooms. We can put 10 in each room so we can handle 30 at any one time session. Also we have a large lobby if they want to bring in their own food.
WCVB: Are you really locked in the room?
KS: Technically no. In most games, you are just solving the mystery. We do have one room where you have to put the code into the door to exit. The key is in the door as well for safety.
WCVB: Do the themes change? If so, how often?
KS: The plan is to change the rooms once a year. We can either change the puzzles in the room keeping the same basic theme or we can do a complete overhaul of the room.
WCVB: Is there an ongoing challenge for people to escape the room in record time?
KS: We keep track of the number of groups that get out and their time. We plan to have a “Wall of Fame” after we finish our first month of business.
WCVB: How are the challenge themes chosen?
KS: We try to use themes that are related to the area. We have C&NW railroad and Al Capone. In Baltimore, we have an Edgar Allen Poe room. Also we chose the Cold War Clash because it is an unusual game with two identical rooms.
WCVB: Can Clue Room sessions be scheduled online?
KS: That is the best way to schedule. Large groups might want to call our group sales line. We also take walk-ins if the time is available.
WCVB: How much does it cost to participate in the Clue Room?
KS: $29 per person. Group rates are available by calling our group sales line.
WCVB: Can gift certificates be purchased for the Lake Geneva Clue Room?
KS: Yes. Those can be done on our website as well.
WCVB: Are all of the themed sessions of equal difficulty, or are certain themes more challenging than others?
KS: We think they are all challenging—just in different ways. Some are very logical (right brained) and some are more symbolic (left brained).
WCVB: As a new business owner in the area, what do you like most about doing business in the Lake Geneva area?
KS: First of all—everyone we have met here has been wonderful. This includes the City of Lake Geneva employees, the fire department, the Visit Lake Geneva people, and all the other business owners I have met. Plus I think fun people come to Lake Geneva to vacation. Perfect for us.
WCVB: Where can the Lake Geneva Clue Room be found, and what are the hours/session times?
KS: We are located in the Landmark Center—the last two units on the first floor. The first session is at 10:00 am and the last one is at 8:30 pm. We are flexible if a group wants to come earlier or later.
WCVB: Please tell us a little about yourself as a local business owner.
KS: I am a retired high school teacher. I taught Business Education and coached at Crystal Lake Central High School for over 30 years. I live in Richmond with my husband Jim and have 3 daughters. My youngest daughter and her husband are helping me run the Lake Geneva location.
Want to know more about the Lake Geneva Clue Room in Walworth County? Have a look at their website…and go ahead, grab your friends and book your first escape room adventure!