Fall is For Lovers in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

The view from the lounge patio at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa – credit Kate Robertson

The intensity of summer can certainly kick up the passion in a relationship, but there’s nothing like the cooler, nostalgic days of fall for turning inward and snuggling close with your special someone.  Lake Geneva, a small resort city, surrounded by forests and farmland in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, with its activities-for-two, beautiful mansions, lake sunsets, and glorious fall colours is the perfect place to fall in love all over again.

Go for a Love Boat Cruise

A great way to kick off the romance is with a Lake Geneva Cruise Line tour.  Aboard a beautifully refurbished vessel, a guide will fill you in on the history of the 12-kilometre long

Lake Geneva pier & cruise boats – courtesy of Visit Lake Geneva

Geneva Lake. Formed by a glacier millions of years ago, there’s evidence the indigenous Oneida tribes used the lake for centuries before it was settled in 1835 to dam its water sources for power and sawmills.

Located just north of Chicago, by the last half of the 1800s, wealthy Chicagoans, like the Wrigley and Maytag families, had discovered the beauty of the region and summer-home mansions quickly popped up along the shoreline.

Blackpoint Estate and Gardens – courtesy of Visit Lake Geneva

To experience the luxury first-hand, arrange with the Lake Geneva Cruise Line to drop you off at Blackpoint Estate and Gardens, for a tour of one of the oldest summer estates on the lake, built in 1888 by Chicagoan beer baron, Conrad Seipp. The furnishings remain intact from when the Seipp family lived in this grand old Queen Anne mansion that boasts 13 bedrooms, a four-story tower, and an impressive wrap-around porch.

A Lakeshore Stroll For Two

Lake Shore Path – courtesy of Visit Lake Geneva

To enjoy the lake view surrounded by the blazing reds, yellows and oranges of the fall foliage (to check when Lake Geneva fall colours are at their peak, go to Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report), stroll the lakeshore path hand-in-hand.  The trail weaves you in and out of the woods, in front of the grand properties and immaculate white piers. Geneva Lake is unique in that, thanks to an old by-law, this public pathway through the private property has endured–some of the owners have even placed lovely benches and artwork for the public to enjoy. No need to do the whole 41-kilometre loop, just start at the Lake Geneva Library and walk as far as you want before returning.

Go Out On the Town

Wisconsin Brandy Old-Fashioned – credit Kate Robertson

When it’s time for a cocktail, head to the Maxwell Mansion, the first mansion built in Lake Geneva in 1856 by Dr Philip Maxwell.  Sidle up to the Apothecary Bar, order absinthe, then travel back in time as you explore the surroundings filled with old-time artifacts. If you really want to do as the Wisconsinites do, you must also try an old-fashioned, the unofficial state cocktail. A Wisconsin old-fashioned is unusual in that it’s made with brandy, instead of whisky, and most locals drink them sweet (mixed with Sprite).

If you’re in Lake Geneva on the weekend, a must-visit is the speakeasy that operates in the basement at the Maxwell Mansion on the weekends (the password to enter is on their Facebook page—shhh). Rumour has it that Dr Maxwell performed surgeries down there, which just gives a bit more atmosphere to this already clandestine spot.

Tristan Crist magic show – courtesy of Visit Lake Geneva

Now’s the time to bring some magic into your relationship. Amazingly, Lake Geneva has its own small and intimate magic theatre, where master illusionist Tristan Crist gives a Las Vegas-caliber show that will leave you guessing.  How does he saw that woman in half, levitate objects and make a motorcycle and even a helicopter appear on stage out of nowhere?

Cooking With Love

Chef John at Lake Geneva School of Cooking – credit Kate Robertson

There’s nothing like doing some chopping and dicing together, (while sipping a mimosa) to bring a couple closer, so join a cooking class at Lake Geneva School of Cooking.  Not only will you improve your cooking skills and learn about local food products (like that famous Wisconsin cheese), but you’ll be thoroughly entertained by the charismatic Chef John Brogan.  Book ahead, his classes fill-up.

The Ultimate Spa Together-ness

Spa Relaxation Room – courtesy of Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

No visit to Lake Geneva would be complete without a visit to the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Hugh Hefner’s first Playboy Club Hotel for couples which opened in 1968. Hefner sold the resort in 1982, and the property has been totally renovated. Still, many touches from the glamourous Hefner days remain, as well as the two championship golf courses, horseback riding stables and ski hill.


Grand Geneva is the perfect place to book one of the couples’ treatment rooms and indulge in a side-by-side body treatment like their Farm House Fresh massage, which incorporates seasonal ingredients into the treatment products.

Couples treatment room – courtesy of Lake Lawn Resort

Or, at the peaceful Lake Lawn Resort, just outside of Lake Geneva on Lake Delavan, book their couples’ favourite, the Calladora Massage – sure to alleviate any last trace of stress, meaning you can just relax and enjoy the moment with your partner.

Experts say that quality time spent together is like putting money in the relationship bank—a Lake Geneva couples’ getaway is sure to double your investment.

The author travelled to Lake Geneva in October of 2019. She was a guest of Visit Lake Geneva, however, they did not review or edit this article before publication.

When You Go:

You can fly into either Milwaukee (less than an hour away) or Chicago (1.5 hours), then rent a car from there.

For general tourist info and to check out which activities are available (the region is a four-season destination, with lots to do whenever you visit), go to Visit Lake Geneva.

Fall display at Lake Lawn Resort – credit Kate Robertson

I stayed at Lake Lawn Resort, located on the shoreline of Lake Delavan, just minutes away from Lake Geneva.  They have a championship golf course, boat and water sport rentals, several dining options, and the lovely, award-winning Calladora Spa. There are several nooks and crannies for two to curl up in scattered throughout the property. Book a room with a gas fireplace for that extra romantic ambience.

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