The Kid-Friendly Ice Cream Social Cruise with the Lake Geneva Cruise Line

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.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line Ice Cream Social, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI

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.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line Ice Cream Social, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI

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.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line Ice Cream Social, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI

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.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line Ice Cream Social, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI

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.

To learn more about the cruises the Lake Geneva Cruise Line offers, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line Ice Cream Social, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI

48 Hours in the Lake Geneva Area

48 Hours in the Lake Geneva Area, Walworth County WI. Getaway Plans and Itinerary.

Looking for a short getaway in an affordable area with delectable dining, fantastic attractions, and a little adventure? Visit the Lake Geneva area to enjoy beautiful lakes, rich history, and small town charm.

48 hours of fun and adventure in the Lake Geneva area. Walworth County, WI.

To  learn more about these area attractions and restaurants, please visit their websites. For more information on Walworth County and the Lake Geneva area, have a look at www.visitwalworthcounty.com.

Grandma Vickie’s Cafe

Yerkes Observatory

PIER 290

Geneva Lake Museum

Champs Sports Bar & Grill

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Egg Harbor Cafe

Black Point Estate & Gardens / Lake Geneva Cruise Line

Lake Geneva Pie Company

Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub

 

 

New Member Feature: Carefree Boat Club

The Carefree Boat Club (CBC) has been around for a while now, but the Wisconsin chapter just opened last year. The Lake Geneva/Lake Delavan clubs are brand spanking new for 2016, and the WCVB is crazy excited to introduce them to you! We had a little one-on-one chat with Jim White from CBC and scored all the deets on the new boat club here in Walworth County. Read on to learn how you can take advantage of a boating lifestyle without actually owning your own boat.

WCVB: Please tell us a little about Carefree Boat Club – Wisconsin.
CBC: Carefree Boat Club of Wisconsin consists of two separate Clubs; Carefree Boat Club of Milwaukee and Carefree Boat Club of Lake Delavan/Lake Geneva.  Carefree Boat Club was originally established in Virginia in 2002, has 45 affiliated clubs across the country.  The clubs are private, and our members are the only ones with access to our top of the line fleet of boats. Members can reserve a boat through our online reservation system.  When you arrive, your boat will be all ready for you. We’ll meet you at the dock, hand over the keys, and help get you and your party on the water. Upon your return, we’ll help you dock and disembark. That’s it! It truly is boating with all the fun and without the hassles!

WCVB: How did the Wisconsin chapter get started?
CBC: Our club is a family owned business. Roland Wolff and his son-in-law Paul started the Milwaukee Club in 2015. Then, in the spring of 2016, they opened the Delevan/Lake Geneva Club. Roland’s son Justin had been a member of the Lake Norman Carefree Boat Club near Charlotte NC. After seeing the successful start-up of the Milwaukee Club, he decided to move to Seattle Washington and start up his own club.  This year, Roland’s other sons, Brendan and Connor Wolff also became owners of their own Carefree Boat Club in the San Francisco Bay area! The family that floats together, boats together!!

WCVB: What other locations are there?
CBC: Carefree Boat Club has 45 locations across the country. Clubs are located on inland lakes, the East Coast, the West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Similar to a country club, members have reciprocal rights at all Carefree Clubs. Our members have the ability to reserve a boat at any location…..for free. All you pay for is gas!

Carefree Boat Club on Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan. Walworth County, WI

WCVB: What are the benefits of “boating without owning?”
CBC: First is affordability. In most cases the cost of membership is about 1/3 the cost of ownership. We cover the cost of owning a boat. This includes boat purchase, slip fees, insurance, maintenance, repair, taxes, towing coverage, winterization and depreciation.   Second, with no costs of ownership you also get NO hassles of ownership. To get on the water and enjoy a day of boating, all you need to do is show up. We do the rest!

WCVB: What kinds of boats does Carefree Boats have on Delavan Lake, and how many boats are available?
CBC: Our fleet will change and grow as our membership evolves.  As of August 2016 we have 3 awesome new boats on Lake Delevan.
1) a 26’ Sea Ray “Sundancer” 260 Cabin Cruiser – capacity 12
2) a 25’ Chaparral 257SSX Bowrider with Folding Arch Tower – capacity 16
3)a 24′ Coach Tritoon 150 HP and high performance tubes – capacity 15

WCVB: If I am new to boating, can I still become a member?
CBC: Absolutely! In fact, if you’re new to boating and thinking about purchasing a boat, joining Carefree is a great way to learn the ins and outs of boating and determine if ownership is right for you. Additionally, all members are given a training manual upon joining. Members attend one classroom session. After training, members call to schedule a boat for “On the Water” training with the dock master.

Training covers CBC processes, general navigation, docking, and safety. A separate “On the Water” training is done on cruisers to practice docking and learn overnight processes. Upon completion, you will receive a safety certificate from CBC. We call our training program, Be A Better Boater.

Carefree Boat Club on Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan. Walworth County, WI

WCVB: Are there boats on Geneva Lake as well? Does membership include usage of boats on both lakes?
CBC: Currently we have two boats on Lake Geneva.
1) 22’ Bryant Speranza with Mach II Wake Tower – capacity 12
2) 27′ Coach Tritoon 250 HP and high performance tubes – capacity 16
For a small additionally monthly fee members Delevan Club members can have unlimited usage of boats on Lake Geneva.

WCVB: Is there a maximum boat usage allowance for members?
CBC: No.  Members have unlimited access to boats. Boat as much as you like.

WCVB: What benefits are included for members of Carefree Boat Club?
CBC: Benefits include affordability, access to a large variety of like-new, professionally maintained and cleaned boats, great availability, unlimited usage with no additional cost,  training and on the water instruction, and access to locations across the country.

WCVB: What kind of fees are involved?
CBC: There is no fee to use the boats. Like most clubs we charge a one time Initiation Fee and an annual membership fee (which you may choose to pay monthly). We do not require long commitments from our members; you can join for as little as one year.

We do however greatly reward members who will commit to the club for at least three years and give the best overall value to our five year members. Our fees do vary a bit by location based on local costs, fleet configuration and availability of membership and we also have some different membership options.  Please contact us to discuss the various options.

Carefree Boat Club on Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan. Walworth County, WI

WCVB: Are there any requirements for membership acceptance, besides the monetary fees?
CBC: No. We do require all members attend classroom and on-the-water training to ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience.

WCVB: What is each member responsible for each time they reserve a boat?
CBC: For the most part all members need to do is show up at their reserved time and location! Of course we request our members treat all boats as their own to insure an enjoyable experience for ALL club members.

WCVB: How do I sign up to become a member?
CBC: You can visit our website at CareFreeBoats.com or call us at 262-422-6287. We’ll answer your questions and arrange for a tour.

WCVB: Personally, what is your favorite part about being a member of the Carefree Boat Club?
CBC: The quality and diversity of the fleet of boats is second to none!

WCVB: What is your favorite boat that is on Delavan Lake?
CBC: The one I happen to be on, or if I’m not on the water it’s the next one I have reserved!!

WCVB: Where can we find Carefree Boat Club in Delavan? How about Lake Geneva?
CBC: On Delevan we are located at the Lake Lawn Resort Marina. On Lake Geneva we currently have 2 locations; on Buttons Bay and Williams Bay.

To learn more about Carefree Boat Club, please visit their website, or follow them on Facebook.

Getting Your Adrenaline Rush On at Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

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!

Caitlyn and John - Tour Guides from Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

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.

Safety Gear worn for zip lining at Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

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.

Sky Bridge at Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, Lake Geneva, Walworth County, WI.

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.

Member Monday: Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

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.

MagicMan_149

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!

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

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!

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

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.

Family fun at the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre in downtown Lake Geneva, WI

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.

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

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.

Tristan Crist LIVE in Lake Geneva, WI. Lake Geneva's hottest NEW attraction!

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…

New Member Feature: Lake Geneva Clue Room

 

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.

Lake Geneva Clue Room. Lake Geneva's Newest Attraction.
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.

Lake Geneva Clue Room. Lake Geneva's Newest Attraction!

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!

Camping in Walworth County

The Lake Geneva area is home to many great campgrounds, retreat centers, and rustic cabins. From couples to conventions and from families to friends, Walworth County is sure to have the perfect destination for your next adventure.

Camping out in Walworth County, WI.

Helpful Links:

Army Lake Camp

Camp Timber-lee

Covenant Harbor

George Williams College

Inspiration Ministries

Lutherdale Ministries

Shinner Memorial Clubhouse

Wesley Woods

Camp Wandawega

Jellystone Park of Fort Atkinson

Snug Harbor Lakefront Campground

Scenic Ridge Campground

Big Foot State Park

Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit – Whitewater Lake Campground