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Need a change of scenery?

Is all that blue light from your computer screens giving your family a bad case of the winter blues?

If so, a stay in a Keefe Vacation Rental property on Lake Geneva or another of southeastern Wisconsin’s beautiful lakes provides an opportunity to unplug and get away. Offering something for every budget, Keefe’s well-appointed vacation rentals range from studio condos to lakeside estates. 

All winter, southeastern Wisconsin bubbles with outdoor activities, including sledding, ice skating, hiking, skiing, and ice fishing. And in early February, Lake Geneva is hosting two outdoor events guaranteed to produce smiles and happy exhaustion by the end of the day.

Lake Geneva Winterfest/National Snow Sculpting Competition

February 3 – 7

This is the 26th year for Winterfest, with a host of activities centered on the 72-hour snow sculpting competition at Riviera Plaza and Flat Iron Park – the only national snow sculpting competition in the United States.

Visitors wind their way through the elaborately fashioned snow sculptures, many with themes drawn from fantasy and mythology. In addition, beginning Friday, February 5, more than two-dozen downtown Lake Geneva businesses will display sidewalk ice sculptures – perfect for taking selfies or creating a unique Instagram post.

On Friday through Sunday, TLS WindSled and Universal Hovercraft will offer hovercraft rides on Lake Geneva for one to six riders to experience the thrill of gliding on Geneva Lake’s frozen surface and get a new perspective on the sights along the lakeshore. Reservations and prepayment are required.

Several venues are hosting food and beverage events – for child and adult tastes. On Friday and Saturday night, bonfires will dot Riviera Beach where people can gather after purchasing hot chocolate and s’mores. In another family-friendly event, visitors can register to participate in the late-afternoon Cocoa Crawl on February 5. Downtown businesses will offer a variety of cocoas, sweet treats, and a free goody bag. For adults, the Baker House on Wrigley Drive is offering specialty cocktails, hot toddies, and warm food to enjoy by the fire pit, in heated cabanas, or in the indoor heating lounge. At the Maxwell Mansion on Baker Street, families are welcomed between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for family-friendly activities, snow painting, and hot chocolate bombs. In the evening, those aged 21 and older can enjoy signature Maxwell Tiki beverages and swag, as well as live music on Saturday night. 

For more information about Winterfest, visit www.visitlakegeneva.com .

Ice Castles in Lake Geneva

Ongoing, weather permitting

            The Geneva National Resort and Club is the site of one of the four Ice Castles installations in the nation. Professional ice artists construct a fairyland of icicles entirely by hand – a frozen attraction that changes every day with weather conditions. 

Datytime visitors blink at the brightness as the sun pierces the ice structure in the late afternoon. As the sun sets, the LED lights embedded in each part of the sculptural formations twinkle in time to piped-in music. Along the paths through the one-acre structure, signs point out the perfect spots for photo opportunities. 

    The smallest visitors seek out the little nooks within the ice creation, find tunnels to explore, and delight in the gently-sloped slides created especially for them. For attendees 42 inches and taller, a plastic sled is provided for a long, twisty turn inside one of the formations. 

    To keep warm, two Hot Shotties stands sell hand warmers, alcoholic and non-alcoholic hot drinks, and snacks. Fire barrels and log benches covered with fur blankets provide resting spots.

    For more information about Lake Geneva Ice Castles, visit www.icecastles.com/wisconsin .

Groundhog Days

January 29 – February 2 with ongoing touring opportunities

Just a half-hour’s drive directly south of Lake Geneva lies Woodstock, Illinois – site of the filming of the 1993 classic movie Groundhog Day. Each year, the town celebrates Groundhog Day with a prognostication and four days of events saluting all things groundhog. While most indoor events had to be cancelled this year, the prognostication will still go on, and it’s possible to tour many of the filming locations.

Any visit to Woodstock must begin with a viewing of Groundhog Day, suitable for middle schoolers and up. 

Walking around the town of 25,000 people, plaques mark where the movie’s iconic scenes were filmed – the curb where Phil Connors (Bill Murray) steps off into the puddle, the gazebo where Connors and Rita (Andie MacDowell) dance, and the corner where Ned Ryerson (Jeffrey Tobolowski) runs at Connors. For the full scoop on filming sites, view the Groundhog Day Walking Tour on YouTube, hosted by the film’s locations manager, Bob Hudgins. Visitors can also pick up a map of touring sites at the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry at 127 E. Calhoun Street.

At 7:00 a.m. on February 2, residents and visitors will gather in the Woodstock Square to see if Woodstock Willie predicts early spring or six more weeks of winter. Following the prognostication, the Woodstock Public House will host a Toast to World Peace on its patio. 

For more information about Groundhog Days events, visit www.woodstockgroundhog.org .

 

A carefree vacation experience

    With 20 years in the business, Keefe Vacation Rentals makes renting a vacation property an easy process. Following an online booking, renters receive a personal code and entry information for the property. Each condo or home is thoroughly cleaned and pre-stocked with paper goods, garbage bags, and soap. The management company is available 24/7 in case of an emergency. To check out, renters simply lock the front door and leave. Keefe Vacation Rentals takes care of the rest.

    To view available properties, click the rentals button above!

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Timeless Vacation Destination

 

Water – that basic element – fills a primordial need in each of us. But beyond keeping our bodies hydrated, water represents escape, relaxation, and rejuvenation. 

The lakes of southeastern Wisconsin first drew Native American tribes and white settlers because the lakes supplied their basic needs: a clean water source, a place to fish or hunt for food, and a means of transportation.

By the late 1800’s, southeastern Wisconsin’s lakes represented a getaway from crowded, dirty cities. The first hotels and vacation homes went up around the lakes. The Chicago and North Western line ran trains from Elgin, Crystal Lake, and Harvard, Illinois to Lake Geneva. Eventually, service extended to Williams Bay and Fontana. 

In the post-World War II boom, families could afford to retreat to the lakes for a week or two of vacation. Whether they camped or built vacation homes with all the amenities, their time away centered on togetherness while swimming, boating, or fishing, thereby strengthening their familial bonds.

Today, vacationers hold particular lakes dear, either for their particular features or for the family memories they hold. And no matter which lake they choose for their time away from the cares and concerns of daily life, each of the lakes offers a wide variety of accommodations. 

Twin Lakes, located in the western part of Kenosha County, are, indeed, two lakes named for the twin girls of pre-Civil War settlers Jonathan and Mary Rae Ineson. Lake Mary, the smaller of the two, runs for 297 acres, while Elizabeth Lake spreads over 725 acres, extending over the border into Illinois. With 6,000 permanent residents, Twin Lakes has the feel of a community with strong year-round roots. Another 2,000 people come to enjoy summer on the lakes, staying in either condominiums or lake homes.

The 1,000 acres of water that were used for ice harvesting in the days when icemen delivered blocks of ice door-to-door are now a water playland. Twin Lakes supports three public beaches and three boat launches. Visitors can choose between a daily launch fee or a season pass. Fishing enthusiasts can count on hooking smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, and walleye. 

Activities on and around the Twin Lakes are geared for family enjoyment. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Aquanut Water Ski Team puts on shows at Lance Park, every Wednesday and Sunday, at 6:00 p.m. Lance Park is also the site for movies in the park between May and August. Moviegoers can either spread a blanket on the lawn or boat over to watch G – or PG – rated films from Lake Mary. The town of Twin Lakes hosts Libertyfest and a Fourth of July parade on the Saturday nearest the holiday, and August is the time for the Annual Street Party.

Just a half hour west of Twin Lakes, in Walworth County, Delavan Lake has been a family playground since the late 1800’s. Residents and visitors take to the 2100-acre lake for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, waterskiing, and fishing. Scattered about the lake are a host of activities for every age and interest: a petting farm and zoo, apple orchard and winery, berry farm, bowling, and golf courses.

With a nod to the town’s history as winter quarters for circus troupes and animals, Tower Park in the town of Delavan features a fiberglass giraffe and elephant, and a lion that doubles as a water fountain. Two blocks from the shops on Brick Street, the Phoenix Bandshell hosts monthly movies under the stars during summer months and free concerts every few days in all genres of music. 

Annual events, one each month, keep Delavan hopping with visitors, such as Lake Fest in June and the “Cars that Time Forgot” show in July. The car show is held on the grounds of the Lake Lawn Resort, the former wintering spot for various circuses, and now a resort complex that can house couples or whole families. The Lake Lawn Queen, a new two-level cruise boat offers public tours of the lake and can be rented for private events. A boat tour gives a duck’s-eye view of the types of lakefront accommodations available for rent – from condos to magnificent homes.

The best-known lake for vacationing in Wisconsin is Geneva Lake, located in Walworth County between Delavan Lake and Twin Lakes. With 5,400 acres of clear water and broad sandy beaches, the lake attracts swimmers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts. The 21-mile shore path allows visitors to see both the lake and the impressive lakefront homes. For a view from the water, cruise lines offer tours to suit every taste, from a champagne brunch cruise to the mail boat cruise that gives passengers a front-row seat to watch the U. S. mail being delivered via boat.

Off the lake, tourists can explore the shops on Main Street, eat in one of the town’s unique, locally-owned restaurants, or engage in a whole host of outdoor activities. Nearby are golf courses, waterparks, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, and several day spas.

Campgrounds, Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals accommodate the many summertime visitors. For large families or multi-family parties, renting a large home is an economical and fun choice for a vacation spot. 

While vacationing at the lakes in Southeast Wisconsin offers more activities and more choices of where to stay than ever before, the appeal stays the same. Get away, lay back, and get reinvigorated while spending time with those you love.

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Dreaming of a Wisconsin Summer

Whenever life becomes busy with work and responsibility, thoughts of sunshine, warm water, and unrushed time with family provide an enticing antidote.

 

The lakes of Southeastern Wisconsin provide the perfect family destination to revel in the relaxation of life on the water. To enjoy everything that the area has to offer, many couples and families decide to rent a home or condo for a week or more. Keefe’s vacation homes can accommodate anywhere between 2 to 20 people, while the Geneva National and Abbey Springs communities can accommodate four to twelve people and offers guests the ability to enjoy the numerous amenities offered in both gated communities.

 

When you think summer, most commonly beaches come to mind.

 

Riviera Beach in Lake Geneva holds the title of the classic summer resort beach. Steps from town and shops, the view from the silky white sand encompasses the historic Riviera ballroom, the double-deck paddle wheelers moving in and out of the docks, the sailboats and motorboats gliding at their own speeds, stately homes along the lakeshore, and children running into the water, then running out to construct the perfect sandcastle.

 

Numerous beaches on Lake Geneva offer quiet alternatives. Williams Bay Beach’s shaded shore invites visitors for a long afternoon of reading and napping. Nestled in the heart of the village, the Fontana Beach provides easy access to cafes and shops.

 

While many visitors bring their own boats, several companies in Delavan, Lake Geneva, and Twin Lakes can provide rental boats for every taste.

 

Ski boats enable family members to take turns water skiing and tubing. Jet skis let riders dart through the water, throwing up a joyful spray.

 

For those who like a slower pace, pontoon boats allow for taking in the view and long, leisurely conversations.

 

And for those who choose to get around under their own steam, boat rental companies offer paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes.

           

Anglers prefer early morning trips out in fishing boats to find the best spots for pulling in that evening’s dinner.

Delavan Lake’s 1900 acres teem with panfish, as well as musky, smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye.

 

With an extraordinary 135-foot depth and 5400 acres, Geneva Lake offers abundant smallmouth bass, along with panfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, trout, and walleye.

 

Visitors new to the lakes or those who like to revisit their old lake friends treasure the knowledgeable guides who narrate the boat cruises on Geneva Lake and Lake Delavan. Boat tours accommodate every budget and interest.

 

            Gage Marine takes passengers for half- or whole-lake tours of Geneva Lake. One of the most popular tours is the unique two-and-a-half-hour mail boat cruise. Now with more than 100 years of history, the cruise hearkens back to when mail to the houses along the lake was delivered by water. Passengers watch in fascination as the boat approaches a home’s dock. A spry young person leaps from the boat to the dock, carrying the day’s mail delivery, sprints to the dock’s mailbox, drops in the mail, and then sprints back to the boat, jumping onto the moving vessel that is headed to the next dock.

 

Other boat cruises offered by Gage Marine highlight food – an ice cream social, a luncheon, a champagne brunch, a sunset dinner cruise, a jazz dinner cruise, and a cocktail cruise.

 

Gage Marine can also arrange for private cruises and even provide a boat for a rehearsal dinner or the wedding itself.

 

New to the lake cruise line is the Lake Lawn Queen, a 76-foot boat with two levels that plies the waters of Lake Delavan, taking a watery tour of historic landmarks and providing an unobstructed view of five Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes. Both the open-air top deck and the enclosed main level with its walls of windows offer a unique vantage point for seeing all of Delavan. The Lake Lawn Queen is also available for private charters with full-service catering, bar service, and a DJ.

 

For hikers, the 26-mile path around Geneva Lake bestows unparalleled views of the spectacular lake homes, along with the lake and boats. By long agreement, 20 feet leading to the shoreline from each house is preserved in the public domain, with each owner maintaining the part of the path that crisscrosses his property. While walking the entire path takes 8 to 10 hours, many choose to walk shorter segments of roughly 7 miles, beginning either at the Lake Geneva Public Library, Fontana, Williams Bay, or the Big Foot Beach State Park. It’s possible to combine walking with a boat ride, walking to a certain point and booking passage back, or vice-versa.

 

With so many activities to please the entire family, a getaway to Southeastern Wisconsin seems the only option for escaping to relax and enjoy life by the water.

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Find a Serene Escape with Keefe Vacation Rentals

Whether your plan is to celebrate the best that winter has to offer or to bask in summertime fun, the wide variety of homes offered by Keefe Vacation Rentals satisfies all dreams of escape.

Southeastern Wisconsin can be enjoyed in any season. The beautiful lakes throughout the region provide opportunities for skating and ice fishing in winter and are the setting for swimming and boating at the height of the summer. The charming downtown areas in communities such as Lake Geneva and Delavan bustle all year with unique shops, distinct and delicious restaurants, and parks where children can run and play while the adults take a break.

Each community in Southeastern Wisconsin boasts family-friendly activities for every season. For instance, in the winter months, Lake Geneva hosts Winterfest and for the second year in a row Ice Castles will be created in the Geneva National Resort Community. In spring, the village of Fontana puts on a traditional Easter Egg Hunt. In summer, over 1,300 specialty cars are on display at Delavan’s Lake Lawn Resort for the “Cars Time Forgot” car show. And when the hint of fall is in the air, the Walworth County Fair draws families to the area over Labor Day Weekend.

For more than 20 years, Keefe Vacation Rentals has offered a wide array of vacation rental homes for every taste and budget. More than 40 homes are available for rent in the various Southeastern Wisconsin towns and villages, as well as in private communities, such as Fontana’s Abbey Springs Community and the Geneva National Resort Community. Available rental homes range in size from small cottages to lakefront homes and even country estates.

Those who rent a vacation home with Keefe can have confidence in the company’s long record of customer service that includes various concierge services. All properties are supplied with start-up basics for the renter’s arrival: paper towels, toilet paper, hand soap, bar soap, dish soap, and garbage bags. Grocery delivery service can be arranged for those who do not want to spend vacation time at the grocery store. Middle-of-the-week cleaning is available to keep the rental fresh, and Keefe can help renters find the right boarding facility for pets. Keefe also works with several companies that can provide ground transportation for guests. And should any problem or emergency arise during a stay, Keefe staffs a 24-hour call line to phone for assistance.

Booking a home with Keefe Vacation Rentals is designed to be easy. The online reservation website at keeferentals.com allows guests to view properties and to book the home of their choice. After the booking is confirmed, guests put down a 50 percent non-refundable deposit, with the balance due 60 days prior to arrival.

For check-in, most properties are easily accessible via a keyless entry system, with the personal code and entry instructions provided once the reservation has been paid in full. Upon entry to the property, guests find that the home has been cleaned and sanitized in preparation for a carefree vacation. Checking out is just as easy and involves no more than shutting and locking the front door on departure day.

Guests staying in a Keefe Vacation Rental home can be confident in the customer service that the company provides and in the quality of each property – the foundation of the perfect vacation in any season.