Heidel House Closes: The End of An Era
Just two years after we'd been married at Heidel House, my husband Grant and I came back to say goodbye to this iconic Midwest resort on the shores of Green Lake, Wisconsin.
Fiore Company, which had owned the property since 1986, announced earlier this year that Heidel House would close on May 20, the victim of declining revenue and changing customer patterns.
After we heard the news, Grant and I decided to visit last weekend, just shy of our second anniversary-May 21.
We walked the property and reminisced about how cold our wedding day was (55 degrees and very windy) and how we went ahead with our outdoor ceremony regardless (I'm just glad it didn't rain!).
A final meal at Grey Rock Restaurant was, of course, in order. After all, we had our rehearsal dinner there, complete with panoramic lake views and house-made parmesan gnocchi that could make you swoon! The in-restaurant, live piano renditions of Frank Sinatra songs (complete with a vocalist) capped off an evening that was pretty much perfect.
Heidel House was initially built as a private residence in 1890 and became a lodging in 1945. Generations of travelers enjoyed its lakeside allure. Recent investments in the property, however-such as constructing the Evensong Spa-could not offset changing travel trends, especially with the popularity of the Wisconsin Dells 50 miles away, Fiore said in a press release.
But for us, Heidel House was just what we wanted.
One of the most difficult parts of planning a wedding is finding a venue that checks off all the boxes – stylish, yet affordable, a good location with lodging options nearby, possibly even with in-house catering.
Heidel House met all those requirements and more. The staff took great care of us from the moment we first visited on a venue tour, to our delicious menu tasting, to the weekend of our final stay.
Little touches-like bringing out warm, large blankets for guests to huddle under during an unexpectedly cool wedding day-helped make the ceremony go smoothly. The hairdresser at the on-site spa took special care to ensure my hair would stay put in the wind (her dedication, along with the aid of about 75 bobby pins, did the trick).
I feel a special connection to Heidel House not only because I was married there, but also because of other family members' connections to the lakeside resort. A close family friend, who we affectionately call Grandma Helen, worked for the original Heidel House owners at Grey Rock Mansion (built in 1949, later becoming the on-site restaurant).
My cousin, Sarah, was married at Heidel House a handful of years before us – so I have her to thank for, unknowingly, introducing me to my future wedding venue.
Grant and I always joked that we'd come back for our 30th anniversary and throw a big party at Heidel House, complete with wedding cake, and a vat of parmesan gnocchi for me. I'm hanging on to a shred of hope that someone will step in and buy this Wisconsin treasure, so we can someday realize that dream.