Thanksgiving is almost here and we’ve got some dining options for you! If you’re looking to leave the cooking to someone else this year, we are here to help. Whether you’d like to have a… More
When witches are riding and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ’tis near Halloween!
October first is just around the corner, and that means that there will be spooks, goblins, witches, vampires, and other creepy critters wandering area trails and campsites. And that’s not all! There will also be haunted houses filled with mysterious murders and shocking haunts to keep you on your toes, wondering what lurks around each corner. If you love having your wits scared out of you, the Lake Geneva area has a Halloween haunt for you!
Haunted Trail – Scenic Ridge
Haunted Trail – Wild Wood Park
Just about every kid loves ice cream, and the Lake Geneva Cruise Line has a way to make ice cream even better: have it on the Grand Belle while touring Geneva Lake.
Boats are as fascinating to kids as ice cream, especially big boats. There’s no denying the stature of the Grand Belle in Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s fleet and it always impresses its passengers, big and small. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, my niece, Love Bug, and I like to plan special outings together. One afternoon she started rattling off of the things she needs to do in her life (she’s seven, mind you). The list had a great deal to do with transportation. She wanted to fly in an airplane, ride a train, ride the subway, float in a hot air balloon, and go on a big boat. We checked the train off of her list earlier this year, and I thought the Lake Geneva Cruise Line would be the perfect way for her to experience a “big boat”. I wasn’t sure which cruise to take her on, but with the helpful staff at the Cruise Line, it was decided that the Ice Cream Social Cruise would be just right for my Love Bug.
When we arrived at the Riviera Docks, downtown Lake Geneva, she was immediately enamored by the fleet of boats. Once I pointed out the boat that we would be going on, her mouth dropped open. She was tickled pink that we were going on a boat that big. We arrived a little early, and the wait was killing her. She kept walking closer and closer to the boats to check them out. I heard the question, “Is it time yet, Auntie?” entirely too many times inside of ten minutes. When it was finally time to start the line to the Grand Belle, she raced down the pier so she would be one of the first in line.
Upon stepping onto the Grand Belle, she had to make the decision of where to sit, upstairs or down. She quickly scanned the bottom floor and decided that we needed to go upstairs. Once up top, she couldn’t decide where the best place was to be. She liked the tables inside, because that’s where the ice cream sundaes would be delivered, of course. But the view of the lake from the stern intrigued her, too. In time she settled on sitting at the stern of the boat…but not until after we had our ice cream.
Out on the lake, Love Bug thought as much of the mansions as the adults did. When she saw one that really sparked her interest, everyone around was following her arm to shore as she pointed out her “favorite” one (she had quite a few favorites as we toured the lake).
As kids do, Love Bug got a bit antsy and decided we needed to further explore the Grand Belle. Half way through the cruise she decided it was time to go see the bow of the boat. She checked things out, was surprised by the amount of wind at the front of the boat, and then said a quick hello to the captain, who gave her a chance at the helm. That kid couldn’t have beamed brighter.
Once the tour wrapped up, she excitedly scooted down the stairs, and out, thanked the staff for the tour, and was ready to have her picture taken by the Grand Belle. I do believe that all those smiles translate into this: a Geneva Lake cruise and an ice cream social is fun no matter how old you are.
Charlie Brown may have found THE Great Pumpkin, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find your perfect pick of the patch this autumn. The Lake Geneva area is home to multiple farms where you can pick your own pumpkin, or choose your favorite from available pre-picked pumpkins. Many of the area patches are already open and ready for pumpkin season, with just a couple of the pick-your-own patches opening October 1st.
Here are a few quick pumpkin patch links:
Royal Oak Farm Orchard (Pick-Your-Own begins October 1st)
The Elegant Farmer (Pick-Your-Own begins October 1st)
For more fall fun in the Lake Geneva area, please go to VisitWalworthCounty.com.
Summer is quickly coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Walworth County offers a wide variety of fall-themed activities that deliver everything from apple and pumpkin picking to fall festivals to scenic tours on land, in the air, or on the water. Whether you’re looking for a family day out or a unique date for just the two of you, the Lake Geneva area has fall fun for everyone.
- Have a slice of apple or pumpkin pie at the Lake Geneva Pie Company
- Test your skill with corn mazes at Pearce’s Farm Stand and The Elegant Farmer
- Pick your own apples at the Apple Barn Orchard & Winery or The Elegant Farmer
- Drive the area Rustic Roads to see the brilliant fall foliage
- Try the apple flavored Estate Blanc wine at Staller Winery
- Visit the pumpkin patches at the Apple Barn Orchard & Winery, Pearce’s Farm Stand, Royal Oak Farm Orchard, or The Elegant Farmer
- Have hot apple cider and cider donuts at Royal Oak Farm Orchard
- Decorate with gourds, pumpkins, and mums from Pesche’s Greenhouse
- Dig into an Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag from The Elegant Farmer
- Spend a day at one of the many Fall Harvest Festivals in the area throughout the season
- Take in the fall scenery from the sky with air tours from Gypsy Air Tours, Lake Geneva Balloon Company, or MF Helicopters
- Soak up the autumn views around Geneva Lake with a Lake Walk on the Geneva Lake Shore Path and a cruise with the Lake Geneva Cruise Line
- Explore the Amaze ‘N Apples apple tree maze at Royal Oak Farm Orchard
To find additional information on these activities and more, please go to www.visitwalworthcounty.com or call 800-395-8687.
Anyone who loves riding horses knows the importance of riding with a helmet. September 17, 2016 is International Helmet Awareness Day (IHAD). For those of you that are unfamiliar with IHAD, it is a program aimed at educating equestrians about riding helmet safety through a global equestrian retailer network.
My seven-year-old niece is crazy about horses and takes regular riding lessons with a local trainer. Since she started riding, she has been borrowing a helmet for lessons. After learning about IHAD, I thought it was time for her to get fitted for her own helmet so that she is prepared for riding, even outside of lessons.
The West 20 Ranch and Saddle Company in East Troy offers a generous selection of helmets from various brands, including Charles Owens, IRH, Ovation, and Troxel. Personally, I don’t know a thing about riding helmets, so I left it to the staff at West 20 to provide the knowledge to find my niece the right helmet.
West 20’s staff lined up all of the youth helmets for my niece to choose from. We discussed the type of riding she does, and the different options of the helmets. After our brief conversation my niece chose which helmet she liked the best. In addition to loving horses, she also loves the color pink. It wasn’t a tough choice for her; she wanted the pink one! Fortunately, the chosen pink helmet had many great fitting options so it was right for her needs in addition to being her favorite color.
There are four steps to finding a helmet that fits properly and West 20 walked us through them.
- Measure: Measure the circumference of the head one inch above the eyebrows.
- Prepare the helmet: Open up the helmet’s fitting system (usually a ratchet on the back of the helmet and a chin strap) to its widest position. When you’re unsure of how it will fit, try the largest setting and go from there.
- Position the helmet: If it’s too tight, try another size. If it has the fitting system, adjust it to be snug and make note that the brim is about an inch above the eyebrows and level across.
- Check the fit: Shake your head from side to side and up and down. The helmet shouldn’t wobble, but also shouldn’t be so tight that it creates a headache.
With the help of the knowledgeable and friendly staff at West 20 Saddle Co., my niece not only left with a perfectly fitting helmet that will keep her safe while riding, she also left with a helmet that she thinks is cool so there won’t ever be a problem getting her to wear it.
To learn more about IHAD or to get fitted for a helmet, visit the West 20 Saddle Co. In addition to finding a helmet that fits you correctly for safe riding, you can also save 20% on all stock helmets between now and September 18th in honor of International Helmet Awareness Day.
West 20 Ranch and Saddle Co.
W4812 State Highway 20
I don’t know about you, but when I spend time with kids I like to find unique stops of entertainment. Mainstream excursions are fun, sure, but they lack character and originality. I have a seven-year-old niece, whom I call my Love Bug, and we like to plan day-long adventures together – just the two of us. Whenever we plan a “Love Bug and Auntie Day” she usually gets to choose what we do. Her number one choice: Build-A-Bear. While I don’t mind taking her there once in a while, it’s the same experience every time. Nothing changes except the merchandise, and she doesn’t really get any lasting, impactful memories from it.
Having the treat of working with the Walworth County Visitors Bureau, I have the opportunity to learn about all of the amazing, fun things to do in the Lake Geneva area. We had a “Love Bug and Auntie Day” coming up, and I really wanted to go somewhere that would tie in with her current seven-year-old interests and give her a true experience. Right now she’s CRAZY about horses. With the horse theme comes cowboys/cowgirls, cowboy boots, cowboy hats…you get the idea. Come to find out, there’s a little slice of the Wild West right here in Walworth County at Watson’s Wild West Museum in Elkhorn.
Love Bug was a bit apprehensive about going to a Wild West museum, most likely because we’d never done anything quite like this before. That said, she probably didn’t know what to expect. Once we pulled into the parking lot at Watson’s, her excitement instantly grew and I couldn’t park the car fast enough for her.
It genuinely looks like you are driving into the Wild West. There is an old mine, covered wagons, a big teepee, wagon wheels, and tons more. Love Bug was enamored by the place, and we hadn’t even gone inside yet!
Once she had her fill of the incredible outdoor display, she said it was time to go inside. The large wood door was of significant stature, so we gave it a good pull together to open it. The “foyer” hall was decorated from floor to ceiling in interesting vintage Wild West artifacts, but as soon as Love Bug saw the old saloon doors, she was ready to go in!
We pushed through the saloon doors and there wasn’t anyone in sight. We went through the next door slowly peeking through when we heard a loud, “Howdy Partner!” There before us stood a tall, gentle man that looked as though he literally stepped right out of the American Old West. He had a huge smile on his face, introduced himself as Cowboy Doug, and welcomed us in true western fashion.
Cowboy Doug took us around the room sharing tall tales, offering tidbits of history, and helping us imagine life in the 1800s. There’s much to look at inside the museum, enough to enthrall both young and old. We talked about chores and entertainment of the time, panned for gold, yelled “Ye-Haw!” as we sat in an old western saddle, got roped, and even had a Sarsaparilla slid down the bar to us, just like they did in the old days.
When it was time to head out Love Bug showed off the stash of gold she panned for, grabbed a Sarsaparilla, and walked out looking back over her shoulder with that typical kid look of wanting more. She bounced across the parking area pointing out things she missed when we originally walked in. As I drove out of the museum lot I heard, “Auntie, when can we go there again?” That was all the confirmation I needed to be convinced that Watson’s Wild West museum trumped Build-A-Bear for a “Love Bug and Auntie Day”. I guarantee we’ll return for another visit, and I’m almost certain that the next trip will be as unique as this one was.
Watson’s Wild West Museum
W4865 Potter Road, Elkhorn
$3.50/Child aged 4 – 10
Autumn hasn’t quite arrived yet, but it is definitely in the air around Walworth County. There are many fun fall activities around the Lake Geneva area throughout the season, and apple picking is generally one of the first, early fall activities each year. With so many local orchards to choose from, you’re certain to find exactly what you’re looking for. Whether you want a day of family fun, or simply want to go browse local apple varieties, there’s an orchard in the area for you. Here’s a quick reference to the Pick-Your-Own and Pre-Picked orchards in the county.
Follow these quick links for additional information on each orchard:
Apple Barn Orchard & Winery
W6384 Sugar Creek Road, Elkhorn
Little Miss Sweet Pea
431 E. Geneva Street, Elkhorn
Pearce’s Farm Stand
W5740 N. Walworth Road, Walworth
Quednow’s Heirloom Apple Orchard
W5098 County Road ES, Abell’s Corners/Elkhorn
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
15908 Hebron Road, Harvard
The Elegant Farmer
1545 Main Street, Mukwonago