Like a Local
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
Set in Williams Bay, this castle-like observatory – first built in 1897 for the University of Chicago – is known as “the birthplace of modern astrophysics.” It’s also where you’ll find the world’s largest refracting telescope: a 40-inch-diameter, 60-foot-long metal behemoth that weighs over six tons. Daily tours allow visitors the chance to see it up and walk the halls just as former grads Edwin Hubble and Carl Sagan once did.
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.