There are reasons that people choose to vacation where they do. Some choose to vacation where they have family. Others choose to vacation where they have no family. Both are understandable. In the same way, some choose to vacation where there are lots of things to do, while others seek out an absence of activities. One of the things that Geneva excels at, among so many others that I simply don’t have the time to articulate them all, is the ability to offer both sorts of vacationers their ideal vacation. Every week and every weekend this is the case, where some can find nothing but activity while at the same time others can find only a comfortable wicker chair in a quiet lakeside porch, but this weekend now past offered up the most glaring display of the remarkable difference between here and everywhere else.
Last week and into the weekend the Country Thunder music festival happened just a few miles East of Lake Geneva. That event draws the biggest names in country music, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Tyler Farr and Blake Shelton, to name a few. While that was going on each night since last Thursday, Dave Mathews and his band came to Alpine Valley, that winter ski hill/summer music venue just a handful of miles to the Northeast of Lake Geneva. While Dave Mathews was making odd faces and singing, Blake Shelton was talking about anything but his newest ex-wife, and Martin Short was presumably making jokes at the Driehaus lakefront party. This isn’t a party that this local kid gets invited to, but rather it’s a who’s who of Chicago business elite that obtain the invite. After the dinner and entertainment, a private firework display launched from barges in front of the estate were a most public delight. This was Saturday night.
But Saturday during the day there were other things not to be missed. Williams Bay had their annual Art In The Park, which is exactly like it sounds. Part art, part park, you get the idea. Fontana hosted their annual Lobster Boil and Steak Fry, which benefits either the Lions Club, or the Jaycee’s, or the fire department, I can’t be sure. All the while it just so happened to be 83 and sunny, with a few white puffy clouds dotting the horizon but seemingly never interrupting the sunshine. With the various musical acts singing, the artist displaying their wares, the lobsters being boiled, Martin Short being Martin Short, and everything else that created activity if you wished to find it, I was just sitting on a pier, watching my kids swim. It was a private oasis in the midst of a summery throng.
Thursday morning Lake Geneva has a rather impressive farmer’s market downtown in front of the Horticultural Hall. That’s a tough schedule for pure weekend warriors, so Fontana has a Saturday market, downtown on the lawn in front of the Coffee Mill. But these are secondary to Pearce’s Corn Stand, on the corner of Highway 67 and County F, which opened last Thursday and will now be open every weekend through late fall. One weekend, all of these things, options for everyone who wished to be amongst a crowd, and options for anyone who wished for the solitude of their own shady lakefront lawn.
Not to be outdone, Harbor Country, Michigan also had plenty of things to do. For instance, there was a Black Ash Basket Making Class last weekend. If you missed that, you could catch the Cake Decorating Class, but that was only on Sunday morning. The Van Dyke Revue played somewhere on one of the nights, and this cover band from Niles, Michigan may be willing to cover a Dave Matthew’s song, if you ask nicely. I won’t go on and on about the differences between the two vacation home destinations, because these differences are so black and white that it’s unfair to try to contrast the two. A summer weekend in Lake Geneva can give you everything you want, no matter if fun is found in a stadium full of people, or at the end of a white pier surrounded by deep blue water.
The image above, snapped by yours truly, midday Saturday afternoon. For all of the “Geneva is too crowded” people to ponder.