Wisconsin winters get long, and especially when you’ve got young kids it’s great to have things to look forward to – plans that break up the monotony of workdays and then weekends spent in the house, trying to avoid the Winter blues and onset of seasonal affective disorder.
Over the past few years, one of our favorite Wisconsin winter getaways has been to one of our favorite summer ones: Geneva National Resort & Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
There are very few spots in the Midwest better to spend time during the golf season, but did you know Geneva National keeps a great vibe going year round? This is a resort that is constantly improving, adding new activities to partake in and ways to stay active regardless of the weather.
In just the past few years, for example, they’ve opened the new Craig Haltom designed Dance Floor – a 44,000 square foot 27-hole putting course meant to keep golf enthusiasts and beginners alike enjoying the game at all times day or night, recently built a taco bar/cantina outside of it and opened the Turf Smokehouse in the newly renovated clubhouse, opened The Suites at Geneva National and recently renovated their upgraded cottages. They also started featuring the Ice Castles, an annual winter wonderland filled with beautifully crafted ice sculptures, caverns, slides for the kids and, of course, plenty of ice and snow.
We’ve visited the Ice Castles the last couple years, and were planning on partaking in the fun this past weekend until Wisconsin’s mild winter weather had the displays melting prematurely and canceled just three days into its season.
We kept our reservations at Geneva National, anyways, and used the time as a change-up with the kids to swim in the pool, enjoy fantastic dining and be anywhere other than home – where we’ve spent way too much of our time over the past few months.
Geneva National Resort & Club is one of the state’s top golf-related destinations with amenities galore and tons of programming. While we were there for just one night this year, we spent hours swimming at The Ridge (GN’s sister property across the lake that features complimentary shuttle service), grabbed dinner from Crafted Italia (if you love charcuterie boards like we do, you’ll love their Caved & Cured aperitivo), morning coffee from Niche, indulged at the Ice Princess Brunch in the clubhouse and even spent a little time shopping in downtown Lake Geneva.
The Suites at Geneva National
I wrote about The Suites at Geneva National back in October 2020 in my article Geneva National Resort: Great Times and Golf in Wisconsin’s Top Summertime Destination. These suites are awesome, featuring two comfortable queen-sized beds, a massive flat-screen tv, comfortable sitting area and a deluxe, oversized bathroom ensuite. Conveniently located near the clubhouse, they’re just up the hill and on the other side of the Ice Castles area, adjacent to the property’s ice rink. If visiting Geneva National for a night or two, I would absolutely recommend staying in them.
The Suites would obviously be very nice for visiting for longer periods of time, too, but if you’re looking for the ultimate prolonged stay then check out their newly renovated Cottages where spacious layouts, luxurious furnishings and finishes will serve as your perfect home-away-from-home before and after playing golf on the resort’s Player, Palmer and Trevino signature courses.
A sister property to Geneva National, The Ridge is a quick and free five-minute shuttle ride around Lake Como.
Some of the resort’s top amenities are at The Ridge, including its pools (both indoor and outdoor) and hot tubs, Crafted Italia restaurant and bar, the Biergarten where you can get pizzas and soft pretzels bigger than your head, much of the resort’s programming including live music, Bean + Vine coffee bar, a workout room and Bar 55, an outdoor poolside spot for quality concoctions.
You can also use their free shuttle to go to our favorite restaurant on premise, The Hunt Club (which is way too nice for us to get while the kids are with us – not that Crafted Italia is much of a step down!).
The Ice Princess Brunch
While Kelly and I enjoyed the Ice Princess Brunch, it was our 5-year-old son, Charlie, and now 4-year-old daughter, Quinn, who absolutely loved it. They were both a little apprehensive at first, being a little shy to get their pictures taken with Elsa, Anna and Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen” for the first 30-45 minutes.
They warmed up quickly, though, and by the end of the morning it was a challenge getting them away from these ice princesses, even finagling hugs before we headed back home.
The food was terrific, too, including all the brunch staples you’d expect (scrambled eggs, waffles, meats and cheeses, bagels and breads, fruit including enough watermelon for even Charlie – who refers to himself as the “Watermelon monster” – to fully engorge, juices and salads, etc.) and others you might not (eggs benedict, chimichurri strip steak, make-your-own omelet and pancake stations and a great dessert buffet, for just a few examples).
The kids’ favorite part of the Ice Princess Brunch, though, was story time with the Frozen cast. Olaf and the ice princesses were wonderful with all the children, never breaking character while making their way from table to table, graciously taking pictures with all the fawning children (including ours).
Geneva National does things right with excellent customer service and so much for the entire family to do. Whether during the golf season or winter, if you’re looking for the perfect in-state getaway I can’t recommend it enough.
Less than an hour south of Milwaukee, and a comparable drive from Chicago (depending on traffic, of course), the town swells during the summer, so if you’re looking for a less crowded time to visit then the winter may be just what you need.
While we were sad we weren’t able to visit the Ice Castles this time around, we had a wonderful time at Geneva National this weekend and found it to be the perfect spot for a weekend getaway without straying far from home.