Clear water flows at Elkhart Lake.

Wisconsin. My original meaning of this word and understanding of this place went something like this – cheese, brats and The Packers. Sadly, that was about the extent of my knowledge. Boy, was I wrong!

The Grand Victorian Lady offers luxury, lakeside at The Victorian Village.

Wisconsin is a place unlike any other. Yes, they have wonderful cheese and brats. Yes, they are home to the oh-so-popular Packers. But there’s so much more to be found in Wisconsin, and Elkhart Lake is the perfect example - a true treasure worth exploring.

Sunflowers six feet tall. Corn fi elds as far as the eye can see. Hillsides dotted with red silos and yellow soy bean plants. Rolling hills formed by the melting of glaciers. Pristine waters. Tall cedar trees. Great people and amazing food. This is Wisconsin. This is Elkhart Lake.

A sense of serenity and an air of calm wash over you at the sight of Elkhart Lake - its bluegreen water powerful enough to soothe the soul. The town is charming and quaint but full of character and rich in history, and the people are the friendliest you’ll meet. Most shops and restaurants are locally owned and operated, and more often than not you’ll find the owners working right alongside their employees – running the cash register or helping wait tables.

DINING
One thing is certain – Wisconsin does food and does food right. You can’t possibly make a trip to Elkhart without sampling the local cuisine. But don’t let these small town restaurants fool you – they rival the best in any big city. Most feature fresh, organic, locally grown ingredients with menus changing frequently depending on availability.

Paddock Club: 
I highly suggest paying a visit to Paddock Club. Owned and operated by the Chisholm siblings, Paddock Club is an absolute musttry. Their food is superb and their chef, Lynn Chisholm, is a culinary genius who carefully and creatively crafts one-of-a-kind menus. And while the food speaks for itself, I must say – their vanilla panna cotta is a little slice of heaven on earth. To see a full menu, visit paddockclubelkhartlake.com.

Elkhart Lake’s emerald green water will entice you to come back again and again.

 

Quit Qui Oc Golf Club:
If it’s a traditional Wisconsin fi sh fry you’re looking for, look no further than Quit Qui Oc Golf Club. Not only is Quit Qui Oc an exceptional golf course, but their food is top-notch, too. Serving up more traditional Wisconsin dishes like brats and German potato salad, a stop at Quit Qui Oc is a necessary part of any Elkhart visit. Best of all, you can work off dinner or lunch by playing a few rounds of golf on their beautiful course. For rates, visit quitquioc.com.

It seems we never stopped eating in Wisconsin and not once did I come across an eatery I didn’t like. Other necessary culinary detours include Lake Street Café, offering an extensive wine menu and great bites, Otto’s at The Osthoff, a fine dining experience, and Back Street Bistro, serving home-cooked Wisconsin meals lakeside while providing a laid-back atmosphere.

SHOPPING
You’ll discover one-of-a-kind finds and unique treasures while perusing the quaint shops of Elkhart Lake. And if you’re lucky, you may even get to meet the owners of the shop and speak with them one on one. Their insight to Elkhart is enlightening.

Two Fish Gallery:
At Two Fish Gallery, light bounces off leaves and shines bright through windows and open doors. The gorgeous gallery, owned by Pat and Karen Robison, is surrounded by lush gardens and fl owers in full bloom. Everything is wholesome and pure – the pottery is the art of the earth, clay from the ground turned into beautiful masterpieces. Handcrafted jewelry, leather goods, books, cards, ornaments and more can be found at every turn.

The Quit Qui Oc Golf Club set in the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine.

Feed Mill Market:
If you are hoping to bring home some local flavor, perhaps even a few bottles of Spotted Cow, Feed Mill Market is the perfect place. This picturesque market located in downtown Elkhart is a full-scale grocery store with onestop shopping. The perfect place to pick up anything you may have forgotten or something you didn’t know you needed!

LODGING

Lodging choices are endless at Elkhart. Whether opting for a romantic room for two at the Osthoff or a family friendly lake-front condo at The Victorian, you really can’t go wrong. More importantly, all accommodations are within walking distance to Elkhart Lake and all shopping and dining options.

The Osthoff:
At the Osthoff, you never have to leave the premise if you wish not to. Offering two onsite restaurants, one of the best spas in the United States, a gift shop, a gym and more, The Osthoff has it all. For rates, visit osthoff.com.

Mimicking gardens of the Victorian Era, fl owers abound on the property of Victorian Village. Photos by Macie Harper

Siebkins:
Siebkins is a landmark in Elkhart Lake. Home to the Stop-Inn Tavern, also known as “the best bar on the racing circuit,” Siebkins exudes character and charm. Enjoy ice cream at Sissy’s Coffee and Ice Cream shop, bask in the sun on their private beach, or enjoy an elegant meal in their Main Dining Room. Your options are endless at Siebkins. For more information, visit siebkins.com.

Victorian Village:
Nestled on the shores of Elkhart Lake, you’ll find Victorian Village. Victorian Village offers luxury condos found at the Grand Victorian Lady, family-friendly lakefront condos in Lakeside Suites and Victorian-style hotel rooms at the Victorian Inn. No matter what sort of lodging you’re looking for, Victorian Village is sure to have it. While there, don’t forget to stop by the popular Barefoot Tiki Bar for cocktails lakeside or Back Porch Bistro for homemade pie. More information can be found at vicvill.com.

ACTIVITIES
Boundless adventure and intrigue await you at Elkhart Lake. Rent a bike and ride through town, explore the lake by kayak or pontoon, visit the Wade House Historic Site, tour the old race circuit, hike through kettles and moraines formed from glacial melt on the Ice Age Trail or sample cheese at Henning’s - you’ll never be bored!

Henning’s: 
This family owned and operated business has been perfecting the art of cheese since 1914. Stop by for a sample of their award-winning cheese, chow down on fresh curds and tour the museum. And if you are lucky enough to run into one of the Hennings themselves, be sure to say hello!

Wade House Historic Site:
Go back in time when you visit the Wade House. This historic home dates back to the 1850s. Come learn what it was like to live back then as Wade House staff dressed in period costume guide you through a cooking lesson or take you on a tour of the home. For more information, visit elkhartlake.com.