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A Winter Wonderland in Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a summertime vacation spot for many Chicago-area residents, reveals its artsy side each February, when snow sculptures nestle on the frozen shoreline.

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Photo Courtesy of Lake Geneva Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Geneva Trip Guide

What to do

U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition (414) 332-2188; usnationals.org

Where to eat

Gino’s East of Chicago Chicago-area visitors hankering for hometown flavor will fid it inside the Harbor Shore of Geneva Lake hotel. The pizza always pleases; the salads are great, too. See reviews and ratings.  (262) 248-2525; ginoseast.com

Popeye’s of Lake Geneva Try the all-you-can-eat fish fry. (262) 248-4381; popeyesonlakegeneva.com


Scuttlebutt's Restaurant Swedish specialties highlight the otherwise traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; townies like this place for breakfast. For local comfort fod, try the Pytt I Panna, a pork and potato hash topped with a fried egg. (262) 248-1111; scuttlebuttsrestaurant.com

Where to stay

The Cove of Lake Geneva This lakefront option has an indoor pool that’s a hig with kids and a cash breakfast bar with muffins and coffee. (800) 770-7107; coveoflakegeneva.com


Grand Geneva Resort and Spa Northeast of downtown, choose a room or suite; enjoy golf and excellent restaurants, as well as an updated Well Spa. See reviews and ratings.  (800) 558-3417; grandgeneva.com

For more information:
 Lake Geneva Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 345-1020; lakegenevawi.com

 

More frosty fun in the region

Several places within an easy drive of Chicago hold free annual snow and ice festivals. Unpredictable weather can alter events, so call ahead to confirm schedules.

Rockford (mid-January) The winner of the Illinois Snow Sculpture Competition (90 miles northwest of Chicago) goes on to compete in Lake Geneva. High school teams also compete for top awards. While in Rockford, check out the Burpee Museum of Natural History, or get a burst of spring color in the nearby Sinnissippi Greenhouse. (815) 987-1600; rockfordparkdistrict.org

St. Joseph, Michigan (mid-February) This lakeside city (90 miles northeast of Chicago, on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore) becomes a winter playland during the Magical Ice Carving Festival. An ice-carving competition with 15 artists is the main attraction during the fest, which also features a magician and a chance for adults to take advantage of specials in the shops and to try some Michigan wines at a tasting. If you’re inspired by the ice carvings but want to warm up, check out the art on display in the many local galleries. (269) 985-1111; sjtoday.org 

Downers Grove (mid-February) Twenty-five miles west of Chicago, an Ice Sculpture Festival features nearly three dozen contenders vying for cash prizes. Their works of art line Main Street. The family-oriented festival includes kids’ activities and food (630/725-0991; downtowndg.org

 
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living January/February 2010. Prices, dates and other details are subject to change, so please check specifics before making travel plans.)

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