Celebrating July 4th in Walworth County

Independence Day graphicThere is no excuse in not being able to find something to do in celebrating our nation’s birthday this 4th of July weekend in Walworth County. I will allow you to gripe about having to narrow down the choices, however, ‘coz there are many! Walworth County communities know how to celebrate the 4th of July and our nation’s birthday and it’s with more than the spectacular fireworks they are known for. Whether a fun festival or parade is your thing, or you enjoy live music and a cookout, or seek out the thrill of a waterski show or a ride on the midway, or whatever is your go-to for the 4th of July, Walworth County’s choices won’t disappoint.

East Troy kicks off the holiday weekend on Thursday, June 29 with the East Troy Lion’s Club 4th of July Festival, affectionately referred to as ETBT by the locals. The East Troy Beer Tent is the largest beer tent in the area, featuring, of course, beer and other Miller products, and live music daily as well by some well-known area bands. Enjoy the carnival, car show, truck & tractor pulls, and a slew of other activities offered through Sunday, July 2. Don’t forget the parade on Sunday at 1pm.

Whitewater is another community that knows how to celebrate the 4th. Starting on Friday, June 30 and going through Tuesday, July 4th, Whitewater is all about celebrating our freedom and independence for families, friends and community. There is so much to do with carnival rides, live music, a petting zoo for the kids, car & bike show, waterski shows, fireworks on two nights, and a parade. Food and drink are available as well, of course.

Delavan shows their patriotic side with Delavan Township’s celebration on Friday, July 1, 4-11pm, with live music, food & beverages and fireworks at dusk. On July 4th, the “Let Freedom Ring” celebration gets underway with a pancake breakfast at the Delavan Fire Station. The day continues with the Carp-O-Rama Fishing Derby for kids, live music at Phoenix Park, including the UW Marching Band, a parade downtown, and the flag ceremony followed by fireworks at Veteran’s Park.

If patriotic music makes your heart strings sing for our nation’s birth, then Elkhorn is the place to be with their Star Spangled Celebration on Friday, June 30 at Sunset Park. Enjoy music performed by the Holton Band in the historic bandshell. Bring a blanket or a chair, family and friends, and partake of the fun with activities for the kids, food and all followed by a grand fireworks show at dusk.

Burlington’s Browns Lake Venetian Fest on Saturday, July 1, brings the water into the celebrating with a boat parade, waterski show and a kayak/canoe/paddleboard excursion. Live music, food & beverage will be available all day as well. Don’t forget the fireworks, which are being doubled this year! On July 4, the City of Burlington’s Fire Department will once again be having their annual fundraiser and dance, so put on your best dancing shoes and come support them. There’s a bag toss tournament, live music, food & beverage, and fireworks at dusk.

Sharon starts July 4 with a parade at 11am beginning in the downtown area and ending in Goodland Memorial Park, followed by food, music and kids activities, with fireworks at dusk.

Celebrate the spirit of Independence Day in 19th century America through a living history presentation and fun hands-on activities at Old World Wisconsin on July 4. Help make ice cream, participate in a pie eating contest, play games and enter the greased pole contest. All this is highlighted with an interactive parade through the village.

Area resorts, including the Abbey, Geneva National, Grand Geneva, Lake Lawn Resort and the Ridge, are making preparations for the holiday weekend for everyone, not just guests. The Abbey will have live entertainment, family activities, food, and of course, fireworks on July 4. On July 3, Geneva National provides a spectacular Independence Day celebration with their barbecue, drinks, assorted jumbo inflatables and carnival games for the kids, and live music for everyone, followed by fireworks. Grand Geneva, also on July 3, has their grand picnic, plenty of kids activities, a performance by the UW Marching Band and appearance of Bucky Badger, all wrapped up with an array of pyrotechnics to wow your socks off. Lake Lawn Resort holds their All-American buffet on July 3, with live music playing, all lakeside. Celebrate with Ridgeapalooza at the Ridge on July 3, as they fire up the grills, adding in festive music all day, capping it off with Geneva National’s fireworks, perfectly viewed from the Ridge’s “backyard”.

Get on the water for the fireworks with Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s Fireworks Jazz Music Dinner Cruise on July 4 to view Fontana’s fireworks. The Grand Belle leaves the dock at 7:30pm, providing gorgeous views of the setting sun, then spectacular views of the fireworks. Make your reservations now so you don’t miss the boat!

So how will you celebrate the 4th of July? How many different commuities will I find you at as you get your fireworks fixation taken care of? You can never see too many fireworks displays, in my opinion!

4th Of July Celebrations4th Of July Fireworks4th Of July Parades

Treating Dad on Father’s Day in Walworth County

Father's Day

Memories of helping me learn how to ride my bike and how to swim; recommending how to get around the crocodile in the backyard to get a grapefruit off our tree (we lived in Florida at the time); instructing me in how to drive stick shift (ask me why I call Mount Horeb “Mount Horrible”….); teaching me not only how to change a tire, but how to do a tune-up on my car; letting me fail at something so I could learn from it, though it broke his heart to do so… What memories do you have with your father? Sunday, June 18, is Father’s Day, and there are choices galore to choose from in celebrating it with your dad in Walworth County.

Kick off Father’s Day Weekend at the Abbey Resort & Spa as they offer a Spa Special for Dad at Avani Spa. Yes, it’s for Dad, ‘coz he deserves just as much relaxation and rejuvenation as the next person. The Father’s Day Spa Package includes a 50 minute Gentleman’s Facial to cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate skin, in addition to a 50 minute Deep Tissue Massage to release tension, tightness and muscle pain. The offer is valid through the Father’s Day weekend only (6/16-6/18/2017), so get it scheduled for Dad now! Maybe schedule something for yourself (or me… hint, hint!), too!

East Troy Electric Railroad is hosting a Father’s Day Dinner on Saturday, June 17. There’s nothing like the luxury, and even romance, of dining aboard first-class railroad cars the way people did generations ago. Enjoy a great meal while traveling round-trip from East Troy to Phantom Lake, with fine linen tablecloths and an elegant four-course gourmet meal to make Dad feel as special as he truly is.

Golf, golf, and more golf! Get Dad out and enjoying a round or two of golf, while taking advantage of the various offers at several area golf clubs. Geneva National has an exclusive rate of just $75 with cart on Father’s Day itself (Sunday, June 18) and twilight will start early at 2pm for just $49. Give Dad a legendary day on their award-winning Player or Trevino courses. The Grand Geneva Resort is offering fathers to play the Brute or the Highlands for only $89 and replays (must be played the same day) for $39. Dad will get a special gift as well. Evergreen Country Club has specials for playing either 18 or 9 holes: each option provides a coupon for a half-priced Blood Mary or Screwdriver and either a $5 off (for 18 holes) or $2.50 off (for 9 holes) coupon for the Father’s Day Lunch Special, both of which are valid from opening until 1pm on Sunday, June 18. The Father’s Day Lunch Special is choice of either Beef Brisket or Prime Rib Sandwich with cole slaw and french fries. There’s also a Sunday Afternoon Golf Special valid from 1pm and later offering 9 holes for $21 or 18 holes for $31 with a cart. Any way you, golf is a great choice as an option of spending time with Dad!

How about being a little more adventurous and giving Dad a memorable moment? Lake Geneva Canopy Tours is offering 50% off zip line canopy tours for all dads on Sunday, June 18. Experience with the Dad the thrill of soaring through the trees on 8 different zip lines, 5 sky bridges, 3 spiral stairways and a one-of-a-kind “floating” double-helix stairway which wraps around a breathtaking ash tree. The 1,200 foot racing zip line is the grand finale. While doing all of this, your tour guide will wow you with fascinating facts on ecology, biology, geology and the local history of the Geneva Lakes area. Fun and educational! Make your reservations now!

Working up an appetite from all of this activity yet? Then head to Lake Lawn Resort for their Father’s Day Ribfest Beer Brunch. Yep, brunch with ribs and beer – you read that right! A Father’s Day tradition, Ribfest offers a variety of perfectly grilled ribs seasoned with rubs and sauces. Add the abundant side dishes, salads and accompaniments, and it’s a meal fit for a king – that would be Dad, by the way! Lake Lawn Amber Beer will compliment this tasty meal and Dad’s brew will be served in a Lake Lawn glass for him to keep. And as an added gift, a complimentary round of golf will be given to each dad for future use. You’ve got one-stop shopping going on here with a great meal and a gift built-in for Dad!

Now it’s time for some true confessions – did your dad ever say he’d lock you in your room and throw away the key when you misbehaved one time too many? Well here’s a chance to get locked up with Dad at the Lake Geneva Clue Room and face the fun and challenging experience of decoding the clues, solving the puzzle and making your escape from a locked room! With a booking on Sunday, June 18, of four or more people, Dad’s admission is free (use code “DadsDay17”). What a unique way to work together, with the smarts you got from Dad in the first place, to figure things out before time runs out.

My dad loved all things historical, so Old World Wisconsin would be right up his alley this Father’s Day. All fathers receive free admission on Sunday, June 18, as Old World Wisconsin celebrates Scandinavian Midsommar. Dance around the midsommarstang, decorate the sauna with greens, and try food samples fresh from the Norwegian kitchens! Come explore how a centuries’ old celebration of summer flourished in Wisconsin with traditions kept alive by Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian immigrants. Timely with the Summer Solstice around the corner on June 21!

A musical look at history is to be found at the Fireside Theatre with their “Back to the 50s” live band show. Come pay tribute to the most exciting musical decade of them all. Don’t forget this decade also brought us TV dinners, hula hoops, quiz show scandals, talk show legends, and the birth of rock & roll. The Father’s Day Special on Sunday, June 18, is buy three tickets, get the fourth ticket free – and that would be the ticket for Dad! Enjoy a great meal, while listening to the music and fun from such artists as Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Patsy Cline, Nat King Cole, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Mathis, the Everly Brothers, and so many more! My toes are tapping just thinking of all that fabulous music!

If blues is more Dad’s style, then Studio Winery has it going on for Father’s Day! On Sunday, June 18, 4-6pm, Frank Falduto and the Patio Daddios will perform blues beyond compare! There is no cover charge, so what could be better? Dad taught you to be wise with your money, so there you go!

No matter how you choose to spend Father’s Day with your dad, there are great choices in Walworth County!

Father's Day Graphic 2017

 

Walworth County’s Hidden Gem for Lodging: Lake Geneva Motel

01_LGM_LAKE-GENEVA-MOTEL-VIEW-FROM-STREETThe Lake Geneva Motel is Walworth County’s hidden gem when it comes to a place to stay in Lake Geneva. While the resorts and the national hotels certainly have their appeal and place, there’s just as much said for the individual options as well, and Lake Geneva Motel is one of those options. Offering affordable rates of $69/night on weekdays (Monday-Thursday) and Friday-Sunday as low as $129/night, clean and comfortable rooms, outdoor heated pool, and only blocks from Geneva Lake and the downtown, this is definitely an option to be considered.

Lake Geneva Motel has 21 rooms and cottages to choose from, offering a variety of choices depending on how many people are in your group. Everyone has use of the outdoor heated pool, barbecue grills, picnic area with tables, and an area for basketball, horseshoes, playing catch and more, plus mini-putt golf is nearby. Free Wi-Fi is available for those that can’t put their phone or tablet down even when on vacation! Don’t worry about where the boat and/or the boat trailer is going to go as there’s free parking just for that.Lake Geneva Motel_July 2015_pool

Area attractions have partnered with Lake Geneva Motel, so take advantage of the following discounts and ask at the front desk if there are others as well:

* $10 discount per person at Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, that has an Eco Adventure suited for everyone, be it exploring their 100 acres, year-round, at your own pace, or for the ultimate thrill, traversing eight different zip lines, five sky bridges, three spiral stairways and climbing a one-of-a-kind ‘floating’ double helix stairway while on the world class Canopy Tour. You can also challenge yourself on the High Ropes Excursion through sixteen different obstacles or explore almost nine miles of Arbor Trails designed to accommodate both beginner to advanced hiking and/or biking skills.

* 10% discount at Lake Geneva Cruise Line for either the Geneva Bay Tour, Full Lake & Mailboat Tour, Ice Cream Social Tour, Daily Luncheon Tour, Sunday Brunch Tour or Dinner Cruise. Pick up the ‘preferred guest discount coupon’ at Lake Geneva Motel’s front desk and call 262.248.6206 to make your reservation.

* Midwest Action’s Scooter Tour & Rentals offers guests $5 off per person on scooter rentals. What a fun way to get about town and explore!

For the upcoming Father’s Day weekend, Lake Geneva Motel is offering one night free with the purchase of two nights, all three nights then having to be consecutive. Come on Friday and even if you’re not able to stay overnight on Sunday again as the third consecutive night, you are able to stay as late as you’d like on Sunday. That allow you to take full advantage of activities into the evening, yet have a place to return to relax, freshen up, etc., before heading home. How nice would it be to not have to worry about a checkout time?!

Be one of those that returns to the Lake Geneva Motel year after year, enjoying the quiet setting, the friendly and attentive owners and staff, with all the needed amenities at an affordable price. Make memories for years to come with family and friends, all at the Lake Geneva Motel and throughout the surrounding area with activities, dining and fun. As they Lake Geneva Motel says, “Relax, Reunite, Return’!

Member Monday ~ Never Say Never

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday and this is titled ‘Member Monday’, but I couldn’t wait ’til the coming Monday, which is a holiday besides, to tell you about one of our newest members, Never Say Never. Read on for the Q&A session we had with Never Say Never.

Never Say Never

Q: Give us some background on how Never Say Never, Inc. came to be?

A: Never Say Never (NSN) was founded in 2015. I approached The Board of Park Commissioners in the Fall of 2015 with the need for inclusion in the community. We are one of two counties in the state with a special needs school and the only county in Wisconsin with The Wisconsin School For the Deaf, we have no readily available outdoor recreation for our special needs kids. I presented the idea of building an entirely inclusive playground for kids of all abilities to be able to play together; the vote was unanimous donating 13,000 sq ft of land and $15,000 towards development of a new inclusive playground at Veteran’s Park in Lake Geneva, WI.

Q: The phrase “Never Say Never” is powerful in the feeling it invokes. How’d you decide on that for the business name?

A: A group of like-minded family and friends gathered and started tossing around ideas, themes and names. It was easier coming up with a theme and then everything started to fall into place. A woodland theme with pirate ships and fairies was decided first, then the name was created. Most playgrounds are inaccessible to many children and therefore are telling them “no, you cannot play here”. The title for the Playland was born out of this. We as a community can never say never to a child’s desire to play and we need to encourage and emphasize that all children, regardless of their abilities, can play on our playground.

Q: What steps have already been accomplished in making this all a reality?

A: The first and most important step was becoming a registered 501(c)3 organization.  Nick Egert of Nick Egert Law Offices in Lake Geneva and his team graciously donated their time to help ensure the paperwork was filed correctly. Sheree Carlson of Carlson & Associates in Lake Geneva also came on board as the Treasurer to oversee all financial aspects of the project.

 Q: What’s been the most rewarding/amazing thing to have come from this endeavor so far?
A:
 Sharing the excitement about the project, meeting new people every day, fundraising and developing our design with our design firm, Leather’s & Associates, and most importantly educating others about inclusion.

 Q: What are you finding to be the most difficult thing right now in the process?

A:  Getting the word out across the community. We are always in need of volunteers who can donate their time to work on projects, special tasks and volunteer for committees.

 Q: What has been Kameron’s role in things so far? What does she think of the idea?

A: Kameron loves the idea! Who wouldn’t love the idea of truly being able to play for the first time on a playground? Her favorite activity is to swing and since there are no accessible swings in nearby parks, she cannot participate in play. Stones, woodchips and sand make for a difficult experience even walking through your typical playground, so being around a playground is generally difficult and not a whole lot of fun. Last year, at the age of 16 was Kameron’s first time on a merry-go-round. Can you imagine what it is like to not be able to enjoy the simple things in life?

Q: What are you hoping to teach Kameron from all of this?

A: I’m hoping Kameron will be able to teach others the importance of inclusion and that we are all not built the same; that being different does not mean being secluded. We can all learn from each other and the only way to learn is from experience. She will be that social butterfly at the playground and next time you see her walking around town or at the store, say hi. Ask her about her favorite color, who her favorite Disney character is or what her favorite dessert is, as she will be happy to tell you or maybe even show you!

Q: What are you learning along the way in trying to make this happen?

A: Not everyone understands what inclusion is and how important the NSN project is. Why the cost of components are higher than your typical playground and most importantly what this means to kids like Kam. The Never Say Never Playland will be a place for all to come together to play, not just for our special needs community, but for parents to be able to get together to socialize, grandparents to enjoy playing with their grandkids, disabled adults to play with their typically-abled kiddos, and lastly where everyone can be a little more free from stress.

Q: What are you hoping to teach others through this process and once the playground is completed?

A: Why inclusion is important. Sometimes even though our kids cannot talk, they have something to say and have just as many needs as we do. Let’s all help them by giving everyone the gift of play, no matter what their disability, age, restrictions or non-restrictions are. Play is important to everyone!

Q: If someone wants to volunteer or donate to Never Say Never, what steps do they take to make that happen?

A:  Visit our website at www.neversayneverplayland.com or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/neversayneverplayland

Email us at neversayneverplayground@gmail.com to be added to our email list.

Donations are accepted online via PayPal through our website or they can mail a check to: Never Say Never, Inc., P.O. Box 824 Lake Geneva, WI 53147

Q: What is your preferred method for being contacted if someone has questions or wants to learn more about Never Say Never?

A: By email: neversayneverplayground@gmail.com or by phone/text: 262.206.6991.

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Separately from the information in this conversation with Never Say Never, I wanted to let everyone also know about the following good news: Never Say Never were recently delighted to learn that the Geneva National Foundation is partnering with them to sponsor the Never Say Never Golf Outing, to be held July 10, on two courses at beautiful Geneva National Resort. Kunes Country Auto Group has also graciously agreed to be the presenting sponsor of this premier golf event.

If you wish to be an exclusive sponsor for dinner, lunch, golf carts or beverage carts, please contact Never Say Never President, Dusti Ocampo, directly at neversayneverplayground@gmail.com or call her at 262.206.6991.

As for registering your golf foursome, do so before May 31 and receive a 25% discount of only $900 per foursome. The rate increases to $1,200 on June 1 and then registration closes June 30. You can find the registration link here: Never Say Never Golf Outing Registration

Just think ~ you can enjoy a round of golf on Geneva National’s award-winning Palmer or Trevino signature course, a gourmet lunch to-go, and dinner, cocktail hour and silent auction at the Clubhouse — and do it all in support of an all-inclusive playground for Lake Geneva children with and without disabilities.

Summer is Coming to Walworth County!

Summer is comingOkay, so it’s supposedly 64 degrees as I write this, cloudy, rain imminent and not feeling like summer is soon to be upon us at all, but Memorial Day weekend is historically thought of as the opening weekend to summer. Who wants to notify Mother Nature to check her calendar as a reminder that it’s practically the end of May and to get with it in warming things up?

Regardless of the weather, it is Memorial Day in a few days and with that comes a boatload of activities and events to choose from to help you enjoy the 3-day weekend in Walworth County. First and foremost are the tributes to our nation’s fallen heroes who made our freedom to celebrate possible, followed by introduction to some summertime fun to get the season started.

Use this as your resource for the list of Memorial Day ceremonies and parades that are planned for in almost every community in Walworth County. Most all take place on Monday morning, May 29, and feature veterans, military salutes, local school bands, and in some cases parades, each in honor of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.Memorial Day 2017

With all respect to the meaning and purpose of the Memorial Day weekend, I still have to ask this next question: who loves chocolate and I want you to answer by raising your hand? Wow! That’s like everybody, as well it should be. Well, okay, there is that one person I know who is, gasp, allergic to chocolate. Still, there’s no reason that everyone shouldn’t be heading over to Burlington for ChocolateFest! Friday, May 26, kicks things off with a grand fireworks display at 9pm. Then begins the full weekend of being in a chocolate paradise! A visit to the Chocolate Experience Test includes chocolate vendors and sample tasting opportunities, chocolate eating contests, a chocolate sculpting competition, chef demonstrations, a high school culinary challenge, and chocolate-related activities for all ages. Wonder how often one can go through and get samples or if they limit it, ‘coz seriously, it’s chocolate and there should be no limits. Maybe I’ll have to dig up some disguises or wigs or something, as chocolate shouldn’t be denied… I suppose I should mention there are other activities at ChocolateFest as well, like the carnival and rides, petting zoo and the live music covering a variety of genres, plus so much more! If you don’t get your chocolate fix taken care of here, then I don’t know what else to do for you.

Once the sugar high has kicked in from ChocolateFest, go over to beautiful Echo Park, also in Burlington, for the Jaycee’s Annual Arts, Crafts & Vendors Fair, held Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 26, 10am-4pm each day. A stroll through the park will get you checking out handmade arts & crafts, metal yard art, garden art, handmade jewelry, clothing, bird houses, sculptures, furniture and lots more. Make sure you left room in the car for those must-have items you’re going to get! I’ll help make room in my car, too, and you can get me something while there. Deal?

So my girls and I used to do ‘dessert first’ nights occasionally when they were much younger. Okay, I’ll admit it – we still do sometimes even now that they are both almost full out 20-somethings. With that, let’s consider ChocolateFest ‘dessert first’ and then I’ll meet you in East Troy for their Annual Corn & Brat Roast, held Friday, May 26, through Monday, May 29. It’s the 41st year for this popular event and it doesn’t look a day over 29! The Village square will be filled with people just like us that succumbed to the temptations of roasted sweet corn, and grilled brats, hot dogs, and burgers, all washed down with soda or beer. Thank goodness there’s live entertainment to dance to that will help work off the calories!

Another form of working off the calories will be done while walking around East Troy for the 26th Annual Community-wide Rummage Sale, held all weekend, 9am-4pm each day. Wow – food, music and great deals! What else could you ask for? So glad you asked ~ the answer is the 2nd Annual Brewfest, which is Sunday, May 28, from 3-6pm. Featuring unlimited samples of over 35 craft beers and micro brews from area breweries, such as Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lakefront Brewery, Deschutes Brewery, Geneva Lake Brewing, and more. There will also be the best local homebrewers in East Troy bringing out their best drafts for tasting and rating. East Troy has got it going on this coming weekend!

Are you a backyard astronomy enthusiast? What’s your favorite sky viewing app for your phone? Get your star geek nature fulfilled with Yerkes Observatory as they host Explore Scientific Demo Days, Friday through Sunday, May 26-28, on the Observatory grounds. Explore Scientific is the manufacturer of the choice for the eyepieces used with the 40-inch Great Refractor Telescope used in the pubic viewing program at Yerkes. The staff of Explore Scientific, as makers of high-quality telescopes, binoculars, eyepieces, microscopes, and observing accessories, will demonstrate and also offer their products for sale to those of us dreaming of the stars and beyond. The event will run concurrently with Yerkes’ daytime tours on Friday and Saturday, from 11am-5:30pm, and though tours of the building won’t be available on Sunday, Explore Scientific and their displays will still be available on the Observatory grounds, again from 11am-5:30pm. If Mother Nature cooperates with weather permitting it, then take advantage from 7:30-11pm each evening, Friday through Sunday, of looking through telescopes and eyepieces that Explore Scientific will have available. This is separate from Yerkes’ evening viewing on Friday and Saturday, again weather permitting, with the 40-inch refractor or the 24-inch reflector telescope, that still has the normal registration process, with limited space and applicable fees as usual. No matter how many constellations and planetary bodies you can name, the opportunity to view the night sky with these historic telescopes is not to be missed, besides the chance to see the beautiful Yerkes Observatory building.

From the watching the stars and planets to digging in the ground – come on, make the transition with me! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get out in the yard for some landscaping and gardening. Now, ask me in about July if I’m still so excited after having to mow the lawn however many times by then, but for right now, I want to get in the dirt and plant stuff! The Garden Fair, hosted by Fontana Garden Club, on Saturday, May 27, from 9am-3pm, is just the place to get started. It’s at a new location this year – Pearce’s Farm Stand, at the corner of Highway 67 and County F, 2 miles north of Fontana and just west of Williams Bay. I’m going to have a fun time deciding between perennials, annuals and herbs, or some of all the above, but I’ll gladly take on the challenge! I’m really curious and excited to see the unique “Kool Kontainers” the Club members have designed. Wonder if I need to borrow a friend’s truck to haul home all the goodies I’m sure to get? There are even homemade pies to purchase, as well as a silent auction of fabulous items to bid on. I can smell the dirt under my nails and see the grass stains on my knees already and all I can do is smile in anticipation!

Maybe a little bit of water will be needed to wash off the dirt and grass stains, and what better way to do that than by getting wet with waterskiing! I’ll confess that I’ll stick to washing off the dirt in the shower instead, but then I’ll definitely go see the Minneiska Water Ski Show Team. They begin their season on Saturday, May 27, at 7pm, and you’ll find your seat to view the barefoot action, pyramid acts and ballet on water at Scenic Ridge Campground on Whitewater Lake. Let me know you’re coming and I’ll save you a spot!

Sunday is brunch day typically, and this Sunday, May 28, is no different. Rosewood’s staff of three Culinary Institute of America chefs are celebrating Memorial Day with a unique chef-attended, farm-to-table brunch. Seating times are 11:30am and 1pm, with reservations required. The brunch includes a chef-attended pasta station, omelets made-to-order, a carving station, displayed hot and cold buffets, and fresh baked pastries. I certainly can’t forget to include that there is an unlimited Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar! Add all this delectable food and drink options to the casually elegant space, tastefully designed in a modern refined rustic décor, and you’ve got an extraordinary environment to enjoy besides enjoying the food. Don’t forget to wander in to the gift shop to peruse and purchase some of the unique items found there.

If you’re tired out from all the activities you had to choose from and did on Saturday, then maybe brunch is a bit early for you on Sunday morning. As an option, Lake Lawn Resort’s Lakeside Lawn Party & Pig Roast is Sunday, May 28, from 12-7pm. There will be live music by Triple D, from 12-4pm, performing current Top 40 dance, classic rock, 80s hair band, country, smooth jazz and much more. It’ll be needed to help work off the food you’ll be eating: besides pulled whole rotisserie roasted pork sandwiches with blackstrap molasses BBQ sauce, there’s also KC-style BBQ chicken, grilled brats and burgers, slow roasted smoked brisket, baked beans, pasta salad, potato salad, fresh broccoli salad, seasonal fresh fruit salad, jalapeno cheddar chive corn bread muffins with honey butter, watermelon slices, make-your-own spring berry shortcake, M&M brownies, and all washed down with Lake Lawn’s famous pink lemonade. If you walk away hungry, there’s something wrong! Heck, if you walk away period after all this great food it’ll be a miracle!

Wind things down a little bit on Monday, May 29, with attending one of the Memorial Day observances, then let’s join up and golf in support of veterans while playing in the Fisher House Wisconsin Scramble at Evergreen Golf Club. It’s a 2 person, 18 hole scramble, with a 10am shotgun start. Sign up individually or as a team, with the entry fee including golf, cart, lunch, raffle ticket and prizes. There will be team prizes for 1st, 4th and 8th place, as well as an optional team skins game. Working on your golf swing or your putting or whatever needs working on (which for me is everything needs work…), all while golfing for a great cause – you can’t beat that!

No matter how you choose to spend this Memorial Day weekend, enjoy it all in Walworth County, where everything is Naturally Fun!

 

 

 

Making Mom Feel Special: Mother’s Day 2017

Mother's Day

A wooden heart, decoupaged with fabric and lace. A misshapen clay bowl. A small glass jar, covered with layers of colored tissue paper and glitter. A handful of flowers picked from the yard. A random text message, saying “I miss you and love you”. A blog post stating that you’re her favorite person in the world. A tumbler saying “Mothers put love in everything they do”. The dishes washed, litter box cleaned and stairs vacuumed without being asked. A picture frame saying “I’m glad you’re my mom”.

What’s the common thread? Well, besides being things I own or have had happen, they are signs of being a mom… I know, I know. Where are the sleepless nights, stretch marks, grey hair, depleted wallet, the timeframe from age 12 to 16, etc.? Those are all signs as well, but I picked the ones that flowed easily to mind, the ones I look around my house and see.

So if you picked the last bloom from Mom’s flower garden already, don’t have any tissue paper and glitter, or don’t have a cat, then what’s there to do in showing Mom the love and appreciation she deserves? Well, let me tell you…! With Mother’s Day around the corner (Sunday, May 14, in case you weren’t sure), Walworth County offers many choices for spoiling Mom.

Get a jump start this coming Sunday, May 7, at Staller Estate Winery from 12-2pm, as they have a Mother’s Day Inspired Wine & Dine event. Enjoy local foods as part of a 5-course meal, prepared by Tyler from Black Sheep of Whitewater, and excellently paired with Staller Estate wine. What better way to treat Mom to a meal away from the kitchen! Reservations are required, so don’t delay in making plans to attend.

Does Mom like to golf or want to learn? The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is offering a Mother’s Day Golf Special for the weekend, Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14. Mom plays free when accompanied by a regular paying adult (that would be you!) and don’t forget to give her a few golf strokes to win since it’s all about her! Grand Geneva golfOn Mother’s Day itself, plan on attending the Mother’s Day Brunch, available from 10am-3pm. Brunch includes: breakfast specialties such as made-to-order omelets, waffles, eggs benedict, and the usual assortment of side dishes; lunch specialties like goat cheese and spinach stuffed pork loin with charred grapes, pan fried chicken breast with roasted tomato jus and white cheddar mac ‘n cheese, to name just a couple of items; a carving station with prime rib, turkey breast and ham; wonderful seafood choices; a large variety of salads; a cheese and sausage display; and the grand finale, the dessert table (one of everything, please!). You’ll need to schedule a round of golf after this to help burn off all the calories, but oh, what a wonderful array of food and a beautiful golf course to make it all worth it!

How about the best game-play ever with golf at Geneva National, followed by a gourmet Mother’s Day 3-course meal at the Hunt Club Steakhouse? On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, everybody plays with a special rate of $45 (+ tax) for 18 holes, so treat Mom to some quality time together on the golf course. Schedule your tee time accordingly to then enjoy a Mother’s Day dinner at the Hunt Club’s charming farmhouse, hunt cluboffered from 2-9pm. With 3 equally delicious choices for each course, such as grilled shrimp and avocado salad with a roasted shallot vinaigrette, bacon and fried chickpeas, followed by petit surf and turf with rustic mashed potato, fennel salad and beurre blanc, then ending with orange blossom crème brûlée (okay, so you now know what I’d be getting!). It could be easier to choose which club to use during golf then to decide what to eat, but it’s all guaranteed to be mouthwatering!

If golf isn’t Mom’s thing, then there are several other Mother’s Day brunches to choose from. Bring Mom to the Abbey Resort, from 9am-4pm, and overlook the beautiful Abbey Harbor while enjoying a delicious brunch display at 240° West with classic breakfast selections, such as made-to-order omelets, shrimp cocktail, slow roasted baron of beef, and so much more, plus complimentary sparkling wine and mimosas, as well as seasonal specialties. Don’t forget to leave room for the decadent desserts!

Treat Mom to Evergreen Country Club’s Mother’s Day brunch buffet from 9am-2pm, offering chef carved prime rib, slow roasted chicken, an omelet station and the usual breakfast side dishes, a pasta station, assorted salads and fruit selections, and the always popular, extensive sweets table. Reserve your spot now and surprise Mom!

Show Mom some love at Crafted Americana at The Ridge, from 10am-2pm, with a homespun Mother’s Day brunch buffet. Start off her day with fresh crudité, plus salad and soup selections, followed by a celebratory spread of pit-smoked ham, round of beef, coq au vin and broiled perch. The omelet station and farm-fresh sides are sure to delight, as is the indulgent sweets table of fruit pies, dainty cakes and handcrafted cookies. Make reservations today, and be Mom’s favorite by Mother’s Day!

If history is Mom’s passion, and I don’t mean bringing up every cute little thing you did as a child, then Old World Wisconsin is hosting a scrumptious OWW_Clausing Barnbreakfast buffet in the historic 1894 Clausing Barn, on Sunday, May 14. There are multiple seating times from 9:30am to 1:15pm, with time allotted for dining of 1-1/2 hours, and advance pre-paid registration is required. After the meal, head outside to enjoy the views of Old World Wisconsin’s springtime landscape, with all Moms getting in free to the site. What a great way to spend a day with Mom – delicious food and a trip back in time.

Another option related to history is to celebrate the remarkable women of Geneva Lake while taking a voyage with the Lake Geneva Cruise Line to Black Point EstateBlack Point Estate, an 1888 Queen Anne Victorian “lake summer cottage”, on Sunday, May 14, at 2pm. The narrated boat tour will focus on many of the remarkable women that have lived along the shore of Geneva Lake, and includes a tour of Black Point Estate, with a focus on the equally remarkable women of the Estate. Mimosas will be served at Black Point Estate before returning to the boat. You know Mom is remarkable, so why not learn about other remarkable women as well?

Want to get on the water and eat at the same time? Then treat Mom to Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise aboard the Grande Belle at 11am, Sunday, May 14. Enjoy a fabulous brunch buffet and a complimentary glass of champagne with a narrated two-hour tour of the entire Geneva Lake. Mom will also be treated to a beautiful carnation! Cruising on the lake, eating good food, learning about the history of Geneva Lake, time spent with Mom – priceless! Seats are limited, so hurry up and reserve your spot before it’s too late.

A mom I know enjoys music theatre, so Rosewood’s Mother’s Rosewood_LegendsDay Brunch and a show on Sunday, May 14, with reserved seating at 11:30am and 1pm, with the show then at 2pm, is right up her alley. Offering fresh, farm-to-table cuisine and a musical cabaret performance of their “Legends” show, lips will be smacking and toes will be tapping. The “Legends” features music by Elvis, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, to name just a few, and is a show of unforgettable voices in popular music that is both timeless and ageless. Did I mention there’s an unlimited bloody mary and mimosa bar, too?!

So with Mother Nature obviously being a Mom (otherwise why would her name be Mother Nature?), she’s guaranteed that it’s going ET Price Park Mother's Day nature walkto be a beautiful day on Mother’s Day. With that in mind, head over to East Troy’s Price Park for their 5th Annual Mother’s Day Bird and Nature Walk, from 9-11am. Enjoy roaming the woodlands and prairies on this guided tour as local experts help you look for and identify birds, flowers and trees. What a calming, peaceful way to start off Mother’s Day morning.

If you’re thirsty after the Nature Walk, then head over to Sprecher’sSprecher's root beer for Mom to get some free root beer. Being a Mom, she’s sure to share, as she’ll be getting a free four-pack of root beer when dining. Now, take that free root beer home, put it with some vanilla ice cream in a chilled tall glass, a little chocolate syrup, repeat the layers to fill the glass, and you’ve got a root beer float divine! Yes, I said chocolate syrup in a root beer float… It’s how I was raised to make them, so don’t judge ’til you try it!  🙂

Another thirst can be quenched at Studio Winery’s “Corks & Canvas” session honoring Moms on Sunday, May 14, from 12-3pm. Studio Winery’s Corks & Canvas sessions are not like other sip & paintStudio Winery_Little Bird Painting classes, but are designs/scenes that anyone can not only paint, but will want to hang in their home. Led by award winning owner/artist Kathy Jackson, her career experience in designing home decor products for companies such as Kohl’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond, is reflected in the painting choices. Kathy will walk you through the steps necessary to complete your painting, and everything is included: paint, usually a 16″ x 20″ canvas, and a glass of wine to loosen your creativity! Let the artist in Mom come out and enjoy both her company, a little wine, as well as an appetizer buffet especially for Mother’s Day.

Alright, Mom is so fabulous, so incredibly deserving, that she should have more than just one day to celebrate her, right?! Well, Lake Lawn Resort agrees and so has a Mother’s Day Getaway to turn her day into a weekend! The Getaway (based on 2 adults and 2 children) includes a 2 night stay, Mother’s Day Brunch and a $50 Resort credit to be used at any Lake Lawn Resort outlet. The extravagant brunch buffet at the Frontier Restaurant, from 9:30am-3pm, features everything from chef-prepared omelets and malted Belgian waffles, to peach cider-brined breast of turkey and gaucho spiced roast beef at the Chef’s Carvery, to a variety of tempting culinary choices sure to please the entire family. spapage4The best part is that Mom doesn’t have to lift a finger! Mom will also get both a fresh cut flower and entry into a special Mother’s Day Drawing where she can win a fabulous pampering in the Calladora Spa. As usual, reservations are required.

Okay. So there you go. So many choices of things to do to celebrate Mom in a truly special way, be it for one day or the entire weekend of Mother’s Day. There’s something happening everywhere around Walworth County for Mother’s Day and it’s now time to decide what fits your Mom. Enjoy and don’t forget to give Mom a big hug and a “thank you”, too!

mothers-day-child-giving-flowers

 

 

Celebrating Earth Day 2017

Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, and in 2020 it will be the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. In 2016, Earth Day Network set an ambitious goal of planting 7.8 billion trees – one for every person on the planet – by Earth Day 2020, with the theme for that year being “Trees for the Earth”. 2017’s theme is “Environmental and ClimatEarth Daye Literacy”, with the goal of wanting every student across the world to be an environmental and climate literate citizen by the time they graduate high school, prepared to take action and be voice for change. This is a global issue and education is the key to advocacy and advocacy is the key to change.

So that was all pretty heady, and although very important, how does that have anything to do with Walworth County? Well, there are a number of events happening in Walworth County either specifically for Earth Day or having to do with nature and the environment in some fashion. In any case, it’s a chance to get out and enjoy your surroundings, along with learning a little bit, too!

Specifically in honor of Earth Day, Gateway Technical College, on the Elkhorn Campus (and Kenosha Campus, as well), is having their annual community celebration of our planet on Saturday, April 22, from 10am-2pm. The event began in 2008 on Gateway’s Kenosha Campus and was extended to their Elkhorn Campus in 2012. Gateway celebrates our environment with a day of free family fun of displays, workshops/demonstrations, and hands-on activities that include:

  • Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
  • Kohl’s Wild Theatre – a 30-minute mix of short skits using a variety of animal puppets and featuring the importance of food to both animals and people, with topics including healthy eating, urban gardening, sustainable seafood and the food chain.
  • Petting Zoo
  • Kids’ Crafts: earth-friendly crafts, plant flowers for Mother’s Day, make birdhouses and more
  • Kids’ Outdoor Fitness Challenge
  • Refreshments (for purchase)
  • Door prizes and giveaways, including bare-root Oak tree saplings
  • Plant Sale – get a head start on your summer planting
  • Nature Discovery Trail Hike – walk through this self-guided tour and learn about the native plants and animals that call it home
  • Works to learn how to be environmentally conscious: “Canning Without Turning Green – learn about canning food safety”, “Native Birds – learn about the native birds of Wisconsin and their habitats”, and “Car Care Workshop – keep your car operating in the most environmentally friendly way possible”
  • Informational Booths: Lakeland Animal Shelter, Sierra Club, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Gateway’s Sustainable Student Club, and Zilla Makes Vegan Easy and Wild Ones-Kettle Moraine Chapter
  • Shop the Green/Farmers Market – buy food, or art and products made from recycled or reused materials
  • Recycle Center – drop off your recyclable items and help the plant: electronics recycling (tube monitor and tube TVs have a $20/unit charge, otherwise free), prescription eye glasses, tennis shoes

It’s the bee’s knees – what’s that phrase even mean?! How about learning about bees, as tomorrow, WBee collecting pollenednesday, April 19, from 1-2:30pm, at Heritage Hall in Elkhorn, the Walworth County Historical Society will feature the fascinating life of bees and beekeeping. Presenter David Koester started beekeeping as a hobby in his retirement and it has grown to be a passionate cause for the preservation of bees. David will show his honey operation, from installing bees in the hives during early spring to extracting honey at summer’s end. There is no admission charge, but donations are gratefully accepted by the Historical Society. Come away with an appreciation of one of nature’s creatures and a perspective you might not have had on the sweet treat we all love.

Great Refractor 7Reach for the stars, the moon and the planets! Can’t quite touch them? Well how about being able to take a look at them through a really large telescope? Happening tomorrow, April 19, 8:30-10:30pm, and Thursday, April 20, 8:14-9:45pm, is the opportunity to look through a large telescope at Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay. Yerkes Observatory monthly during the year on select weekday and weekend evenings offers observing sessions with their 40-inch diameter refractor telescope, the largest in the world of its type, and with their 24-inch diameter reflector telescope, weather permitting. Both telescopes were formerly used for astronomical research and are now available for public observing opportunities. Space is limited and subject to availability, so reservations are required. For an affordable, general night sky tour and introduction to astronomy, I suggest the 24-inch reflector telescope ($37.50/person). For a truly once-in-a-lifetime and unforgettable experience using the same telescope as some very famous astronomers over the past century used, then I’d say go for the 40-inch refractor telescope ($100/person). Either telescope you chose, what a way for seeing the celestial wonders of the evening sky as they change through the seasons and to think that a famous astronomer (or two or five or whatever) once used these, too, and discovered things never before seen!

tree_climbingGo climb a tree! Seriously, I mean it… At House in the Wood, Delavan, on Thursday, April 20, from 5-7pm, you can travel back to your childhood and climb a tree! Using ropes and harnesses, climbers of all ages and abilities can climb into the tops of the towering oak trees all over the grounds. Not to worry, unlike our childhood, okay I’m talking about mine…, where you just started at the bottom and climbed to the top without a care or thought to anything else, there are trained and certified staff that will provide a thorough and comprehensive tutorial on how to use the equipment and have a fun, yet safe, experience in the trees. All equipment is provided and you just need to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, preferably closed-toe and with a hard sole, and bring your sense of adventure! It’s fun, it’s great exercise without being thought of that way, it’s a great connection to nature and just putting you back in that day of being a kid again. You’re never too old to climb a tree, but preference is for ages 7 and up for this event.

Ice-Harvesting-1-Marking-Cakes-for-cuttingThinking an iced cold drink of lemonade or tea or soda would be good about now as you climb down out of that tree? Well, have you thought about where the ice comes from when you don’t have an ice maker in the freezer or your plastic ice tray breaks and you haven’t gotten a new one yet? What about in the days of yore before there were even freezers, let alone refrigerators? On Thursday, April 20, from 7-8:30pm, the Delavan Historical Society with feature Carol March McLernon, local teacher and children’s author, as she discusses ice harvesting on Geneva Lake and tells about her book, “Ice for Sale”. “Ice for Sale” tells of the beginning of the ice industry in Massachusetts during the time of George Washington. Southeastern Wisconsin had many ice companies, with the largest and longest running one established by Otto Jacobs, harvesting ice from Button’s Bay on Geneva Lake during the Depression, with his last harvest being in 1946. Carol March McLernon will talk about the tools of the trade, the use of horses in the industry and the dangers of the ice harvesting business.

kishwauketoeAnyone ever told you to take a hike? Not sure it was always meant in a nice way, but on Friday, April 21, from 9-10:15am, and offered every Friday morning from April through October, Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy has guided hikes that are completely meant in a nice way. Kishwauketoe is the largest watershed on Geneva Lake, offering the many natural environments in one place. Kishwauketoe represents a rare and evolving lakeside ecological area that is open 365 days as a place to visit, enjoy and learn. The land on which Kishwauketoe sits was purchased in 1989 and formerly dedicated as a protected conservancy in July 1990. It is full of Native American history, as the Potawatomi once inhabited the area. The name Kishwauketoe was chosen because of its Potawatomi origin and loosely translated means “clear water” or “lake of the sparkling water’. Spend a short time enjoying Kishwauketoe, learn a thing or two about the area and then plan on coming back for a longer wandering around, soaking in all the grace and beauty of nature that exists there.

So from hikes, to bees, to climbing trees, to viewing stars and planets, to ice (cream), to all things Earth Day, there’s plenty to choose from to do in Walworth County as Earth Day approaches this Saturday, April 22. What will you choose to do and with the variety of activities and dates available, why not do them all? I’m thinking I will… See you there! And there. And, oh yah, there…  🙂