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269 Fontana Blvd

Fontana, Wisconsin 53125

(800) 709-1323

Wanderlust

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Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.

DADDY MAXWELL’S

This quirky diner has been offering its signature Friday fish fry since the “igloo” (as locals refer to it, since the building is shaped like an igloo) first opened in the late ’40s. In the past 30 years, however, the standard menu has evolved beyond just the traditional fish and chips to encompass other twists, including fish tacos, a Cajun haddock melt, and a sandwich called “the Consultant,” which consists of grilled jerk fish, pico, tartar, fresh greens, and ranch in a tortilla. 

AVANT BICYCLE & CAFÉ

Owner Tony Valenti decided to merge his love of good coffee and bicycles when he opened his Avant bicycle shop in downtown Lake Geneva. Not only is the space home to a shop in the back that rents and sells bikes in addition to offering repairs and maintenance, but it also features a hip coffee shop with a cozy atmosphere tastefully decorated in weathered wood, art, and string lights. After ordering their signature Honey Badger, a house latte with a shot of cayenne pepper espresso and honey, rent an electric bike and make the three hour-loop around the lake. 

MUSIC BY THE LAKE SERIES

Each summer, the George Williams College of Aurora University puts on a series of concerts in the open-air Ferro Pavilion, just two miles north of The Abbey Resort in Williams Bay. But we’re not talking small-time acts. The lakeside venue has previously hosted performers ranging from country maven Wynonna Judd to the Chicago Philharmonic to Three Dog Night. In fact, the selection rivals that of venues in Chicago and Milwaukee, right here in the middle of bucolic Walworth County.

The Weekender

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How to spend 36 hours in Lake Geneva, with The Abbey Resort as your base camp.

FRIDAY

8 P.M. | DINNER AT MEDUSA

Located in downtown Lake Geneva, this Mediterranean grillfeatures fresh seafood and hand cut steaks, blending flavors from across the continent to create a menu that is simple but elegant for a date night. If you aren’t in the mood for scampi diavola or grilled Scottish salmon, go for the Chef’s Choice, where you pick your meat and Chef Greg Anagnos makes something special just for you.

10 P.M. | NIGHTCAP AT BAR WEST

Wrap up your first night on the lake with live piano music, offered every Friday evening, in The Abbey Resort’s elegant lounge setting that is known for its signature cocktails, like the gin, mint, and basil martini; flights of wine or bourbon; and creative small plates like tomato jam and sausage bruschetta and maple bacon and chicken skewer.

SATURDAY

10 A.M. | TAKE A TOUR ON A U.S. MAIL BOAT

Lake Geneva is one of the few locations in the country that still delivers mail to the shoreline homes by boat. Every day at 10 a.m., the boat leaves for its two-and-a-half-hour tour around the lake, which includes a narration of the history of the lake and its many famous estates, like the Stone Manor and Black Point estate. But the real highlight is seeing the “mail jumpers” who turn the act of collecting and delivering mail into a show.
 
1 P.M. | LUNCH AT OAKFIRE
After a morning on the water, head into downtown Lake Geneva for lunch at Oakfire, specializing in Neapolitan-style pizzas made with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese that is imported each week from Italy. Thanks to the focal 800-degree wood-burning oven – also imported from Italy – you can watch as your Pesto Di Salisiccia (Italian sausage, pesto, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and pecorino romano) or classic Margherita pie cooks in a speedy 90 seconds.

3 P.M. | REJUVENATE AT THE AVANI SPA
Take a couple of hours to unwind and refresh. Some time at the resort’s spa should do the trick. Ask about their seasonal series of services. The mix and match nature of this series of manicure, pedicure, body scrub and massage allows you to linger for up to three hours of pampering or spend as little time as 50 minutes, depending on your needs and schedule.

6 P.M. | DINNER AT MARS RESORT
Just a quick 13-minute jaunt up to Lake Como, this beachside restaurant and patio has been a Lake Geneva favorite since the 1920s. While the lakeside establishment is best known for its signature tangy, fall-off-the-bone ribs, the pork chops and charbroiled half duck rank right up there as close second favorites.

8 P.M. | TAKE IN A SHOW AT TRISTAN CRIST MAGIC THEATRE
This hour-long show set in an intimate 51-seat theater in downtown Lake Geneva marries comedy with mind-blowing magic. Master Illusionist Tristan Crist even brings audience members on stage to participate in the acts, from levitation to large-scale illusions (he can make a helicopter appear out of thin air!)

SUNDAY

7 A.M. | MORNING WALK ALONG THE SHORE

The Lake Geneva Shore Path is 21-mile loop that travels the entire lake, weaving in and out of wooded patches and offering beautiful views of the water and up-close looks at the amazing lakeside homes. The best time of day to stroll is in the morning, as the path is a local favorite for walking and joggers. Get out even earlier to watch the sun rise over the lake as you greet the day.

9 A.M. | BRUNCH AT 240° WEST

Every Sunday, The Abbey Resort’s signature lake-view restaurant offers a champagne brunch, which features and elevated version of their weekday breakfast menu. Rather than a simple lox bagel, expect a complete omelet station; in lieu of standard pancakes, chefs are stationed to make fresh Belgian waffles topped everything from fresh fruit to ice cream.

Flavor Of...

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The best food artisans, farms, and local markets.

ETHEREAL CONFECTIONS

While Ethereal began as just a side project among three friends in 2011, making small-batch confections to sell at the local farmers’ markets, today, the operation has gone big time. Set in a new 10,000-square-foot building just 20 miles south of The Abbey Resort in Woodstock, the full-scale facility is home to a café selling hand-crafted truffles, bars, and chocolate bark; a kitchen for classes and tastings; as well as a speakeasy-inspired bar serving small appetizers, cocktails, wine, beer, and, of course, chocolate.

COFFEE MILL

This café, just a seven-minute walk down Fontana Boulevard from the resort, is all about the local experience, with coffee (Anodyne) and tea (Rishi) from Milwaukee, dairy products from the Sassy Cow Creamery in Sun Prairie, and fresh daily baked goods delivered every morning from Swiss Maid, just over the border in Harvard, Illinois. 

GENEVA LAKE BREWING CO.

Run by a father and son, this brewery specializes in eight year-round beers, like the Boathouse Blonde and the Cedar Point Amber, which was named for the northern shore of the lake. The amber, in particular, is a local favorite owed to the extra hops that give it an added kick. 

PEARCE’S FARM STAND

What started out as a small side-of-the-road stand manned by Mary Ann and Bob Pearce’s kids has grown into a large-scale farm and outdoor market, growing and selling everything from apples to zucchini. Each fall, the neighboring cornfields are converted into a giant maze that, in past years, has depicted aerial portraits of the owner and even an ad for a local burger chain, Culver’s.

The Adventurist

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When simply "seeing" a destination just won't do.

LAKE GENEVA CANOPY TOURS

This outdoor adventure center on the northern outskirts of Lake Geneva offers two exciting ways to elevate you and your heart rate. The two-hour zip-line tour takes guests whipping through eight zip lines, five sky bridges, three spiral staircases, and a floating double-helix stair built into an ancient ash tree. An additional high ropes course features 16 obstacles, all of which hang 18 to 32 feet above the ground. 

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Just 25 minutes northeast of the resort, the Alpine Valley Loop offers five miles of moderately difficult riding, with some steep straightaways for an uphill workout if you follow the loop clockwise. The rest of the trail winds through both inclines and declines and offers some diverse challenges. 

LAKE GENEVA BALLOON COMPANY

This early morning adventure begins in the Lake Geneva Pie Company parking lot a half hour before the official sunrise, which is the ideal time for a hot air balloon to take to the sky. Once the balloon is inflated, you get a leisurely hour-long ride around the lake while the sun rises and ends with a post-flight celebration of a champagne toast (and coffee) on the Geneva Pie Company’s patio. 

GORDY’S MARINE

Located on-site in the Abbey Harbor and right across the street from the resort, this outfitter has been renting boats on Lake Geneva since 1955. Expect a fleet of Cobalt boats for skiing, boarding, tubing, and cruising around the lake. 

 

The Abbey Resort Wanderlust

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Your top-rated places to explore in Fontana, WI


Golf ball on tee Golf ball on tee

Abbey Springs Golf Course

Distance: 1.7 mi

Set among the rolling slopes of Geneva Lake’s beautiful south shore, in the heart of one of America’s favorite resort areas, rich in natural beauty, it rises to spectacular views of the lake and its surrounding hillsides. An outstanding 18 hole course of carefully manicured greens, lush fairways, beautifully tended trees, and wooded hillsides it is a course of true championship caliber. Everything you need is at your fingertips; carts and rental clubs are ready for your use, locker rooms are available for groups, and clothing and accessories may be purchased in a fully stocked golf shop.


Belfry Music Theater Belfry Music Theater

Belfry Music Theater

Distance: 9.1 mi

This historic theater helped launch the careers of Paul Newman and Harrison Ford. Now, as an intimate concert hall, it’s popular for a rotating mix of tribute acts performing Elvis, ABBA, and The Eagles. © Belfry Music Theater


Big Foot Beach State Park Big Foot Beach State Park

Big Foot Beach State Park

Distance: 15.2 mi

On the shores of Lake Geneva, this state park offers campsites, a sandy beach, picnic areas, and a Travel Wisconsin selfie stand to document your trip! © Yinan Chen


Black Point Estate Black Point Estate

Black Point Estate

Distance: 8.5 mi

Step back in time to 1880 and experience the estate as it was when the Seipp family was hosting lavish parties for their wealthy neighbors, complete with the original hand-carved furniture and decor.


Dancing Horses Theater Dancing Horses Theater

Dancing Horses Theater

Distance: 9.9 mi

It’s hard to believe what these performers can do on horseback – see riders standing, jumping, and dancing the Russian dervish on the saddle as the horses trot around the ring. © Dancing Horses Theater


Ethereal Confections Ethereal Confections

Ethereal Confections

Distance: 36.6 mi

Set in a new 10,000-square-foot building, the full-scale facility is home to a café selling handcrafted truffles, bars, and chocolate bark; a kitchen for classes and tastings; as well as a speakeasy-inspired bar serving small appetizers, cocktails, wine, beer, and chocolate.


Geneva National Golf Courses

Distance: 7.6 mi

Located off the wooded slopes and shores of Lake Como, the semi-private Geneva National presents 54 holes of legendary golf designed by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino.


Kettle Moraine State Park Kettle Moraine State Park

Kettle Moraine State Park

Distance: 43.1 mi

More than 22,000 acres of beautiful grounds perfect for for hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and boating. © Joshua Mayer


Girl Zip Lining Girl Zip Lining

Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

Distance: 10.9 mi

This outdoor adventure center on the northern outskirts of Lake Geneva offers two exciting ways to elevate you and your heart rate. The two-hour zip-line tour takes guests whipping through eight zip lines, five sky bridges, three spiral staircases, and a floating double-helix stair built into an ancient ash tree. An additional high ropes course features 16 obstacles, all of which hang 18 to 32 feet above the ground.


Lake Geneva Canopy Tours Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

Lake Geneva Canopy Tours

Distance: 17.5 mi

Two-hour zip line tour complete with eight zip lines, five sky bridges, three spiral staircases, and a floating double-helix stair or high ropes course featuring 16 obstacles, all of which hang 18 to 32 feet above the ground? Why not try both?


Lake Geneva Cruise Line Lake Geneva Cruise Line

Lake Geneva Cruise Line

Distance: 15.8 mi

These three-hour tours set out from Lake Geneva and cruise around the lake while a guide narrates the colorful history of the area and points out key attractions like the Stone Manor and Wrigley Estates.


Lake Geneva Museum Lake Geneva Museum

Lake Geneva Museum

Distance: 16.1 mi

In less than an hour, you can take in the interesting history of the area and see firsthand how daily life looked hundreds of years ago. © Lake Geneva Museum


Music by the Lake Concert Series Music by the Lake Concert Series

Music by the Lake Concert Series

Distance: 3.8 mi

Each summer, the George Williams College of Aurora University puts on a series of concerts in the open-air Ferro Pavilion with performers ranging from country maven Wynonna Judd to the Chicago Philharmonic to Three Dog Night. © Craig O'Neal


Old World Wisconsin Old World Wisconsin

Old World Wisconsin

Distance: 42 mi

Ever ridden a penny farthing (the Victorian-era bike with a huge front wheel)? Here you can experience that and plenty of other aspects of life in the 1890s, like blacksmithing, wool spinning, and cow milking. © Old World Wisconsin


Rush Creek Distilling Rush Creek Distilling

Rush Creek Distilling

Distance: 18.4 mi

Along with distillery tours and tastings of their two whiskeys, homegrown vodka, and a hand-bottled botanical gin, Rush Creek also hosts live music most Saturday nights. © Rush Creek Distilling


Safari Lake Geneva Safari Lake Geneva

Safari Lake Geneva

Distance: 19.5 mi

Exactly what you'd expect from a safari, but instead of lions, rhinos, and giraffes, you find buffalo, alpacas, and a few surprising species like camels. © Safari Lake Geneva


Tristian Crist Magic Theatre Tristian Crist Magic Theatre

Tristian Crist Magic Theatre

Distance: 16 mi

One part comedy show, one part magic extravaganza, Tristan Crist keeps the audience laughing as he pulls off amazing feat after amazing feat, like making a helicopter appear out of thin air! © Tristian Crist Magic Theatre


Wilmot Mountain Wilmot Mountain

Wilmot Mountain

Distance: 42.3 mi

Skiing for the whole family, snow tubing, and a cozy eatery serving all your snowy-day favorites, like chili, beer brats, and plenty of hot cocoa to fuel up or warm up with.