Happy New Year

It’s close enough to say that, right? I think it is. Something that’s always bothered me is how certain words or phrases ebb and flow in their use and popularity. … Read more

Happy Thanksgiving

As I spy the cut spruce trees stacked for sale outside this coffee shop, I ponder what they are, exactly. Holiday Trees, the sign says. I wonder

Weekend Update

Sadly, the big story this morning is that of a kayaker who died in Geneva Lake yesterday. This sort of story isn’t nice to write about, but every unfortunate occurrence … Read more

On Markets

When a real estate market is slow, the fundamentals matter. The price per front foot, price per square foot, of the land, not house- this isn’t Beverly Hills- it matters. … Read more


I took my car in to be fixed. The mechanic was nice enough, the dealership shiny and large. Emblems and logos, everywhere. I normally sit in the lounge, where they … Read more

San Francisco Endorsed

There are old maps that were drawn by those important men who lived a long time ago in Nantucket. The maps show these entire United States, and Nantucket encompasses most … Read more

Of Loyalty

A marriage can really only work if both parties have some leeway to say things that the other person may not like, without fear of devastating reprisal. For instance. If … Read more

Labor Day Weekend

Back on Wednesday with all sorts of riveting commentary. For instance, did you know that all the cool people are at Lake Geneva? I spent Saturday aboard a most beautiful … Read more

Knollwood Sells

Generally speaking, if a home on the lake hits the open market, I email the listing to someone. Let’s say you’re looking for a lakefront for around $1.5MM. If one … Read more

Geneva Lakefront Update

I read an article yesterday about how one Japanese day trader made thirty-four million dollars last week. He had a hunch about the markets, and rode large positions of options … Read more

Summer and Fall

I can’t say that it comes as a surprise anymore. Every season follows this same pattern. When the season is a long ways off, I pine for it. In the … Read more

Honey Bees

When you buy a lake house, you should be prepared to buy the things that need to fill that lake house. I’m not talking about couches, or end tables, beds … Read more


Before that day I had never known of the word: Revo. I had heard of other words and brands, like the normal ones that you hear when you’re a kid … Read more

Dinner Time

The guests had been treated to four straight days of sameness. Blue skies in the morning, blue skies in the afternoon, and blue skies into the evening. A sparkling sunset … Read more

A Lake Geneva Weekend

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 … Read more


The weather, they said, was delightful. On a Monday it was sunny, with skies so blue it was difficult, after some time of gazing, to imagine what they might look … Read more


FOR SALE: One Lake House Lightly used, near perfect condition Well, that’s not entirely true. We have owned this home for two years, and we’ve lightly used it. We have … Read more

To Renovate

Often, when someone buys something that’s ridiculously overpriced, they point to the price that the seller paid when the seller was the buyer. Or, if the seller didn’t buy the … Read more

Lake Geneva Pricing

There’s an art auction. The auction has some art that was painted by a man who is now very dead. The art is expensive, everyone knows that. This art has … Read more

Fishing Geneva Lake

Last week, while the soft suburban children played on sand beaches within close proximity of their sunscreen slathering, summer-hat wearing mothers, my son and his friend dove from piers and … Read more

The Starboard Cottage

In 1848, Wisconsin officially became a state. In the same year, the Starboard Cottage was built on the northern shore of Geneva Lake. The home was originally built as a … Read more

Longest Weekend

I have a friend who doesn’t sleep. He goes to bed late and he wakes up early, and if you’ve ever been a neighbor to this habitual undersleeper you’d know … Read more

The Invasives

There was a man I knew from the town where I lived. He was old when I knew him, and I never knew what it was that he had done … Read more

Building Lake Geneva

There were common themes during the housing downturn. The first theme was that some buyers were able to capture their motivation and seek out value. When they found value, they … Read more


I do not remember having any bit of input into any singular plan during my youth. This was true whether the decision should have involved me, even if the decision … Read more

Suburban Insanity

Certain things bother me. For example, when my contacts are blurry, even though I’ve properly rinsed and stored them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Maybe it has to do with … Read more

Shadow Lane Sells

Shadow Lane is really just a lane. You take it to cut directly from South Lakeshore Drive to the lake. That’s pretty much the only reason you’d ever have to … Read more

Forecast Insecurity

The rapids twist away from the road, but only briefly, before twisting back, cutting against the bank and throwing riffles and bubbles down the rocky slope. The run spills into … Read more

Lake Geneva Fire Boat Update

The good news for whomever might be buying the lakefront house next to my parents’ house is that Christmas lingers there. Long after the presents have been opened and discarded, … Read more

Gone Fishing

I have never really taken a vacation. I doubt most working people ever have. I leave town, sleep in a different bed, eat breakfast at restaurants, but this is not … Read more

Meet Lakewood Estates

Vacation home seekers that find themselves in Walworth County, due to blind luck or strong recent discernment or long ago instilled nostalgia, generally find that lakefront on Geneva Lake is … Read more

Open House

There was a time in the town when the towns people who had chosen real estate as their profession held houses open, for the public to see. The sales people, … Read more

Memorial Day Weekend

There are things that must be remembered on Memorial Day Weekend. First, this is a weekend to remember. Not to remember what it’s like to grill and to boat, nor … Read more

Hollybush Sells

There are many reasons to sell your house. For instance, if you live in a small house and you’d really like to live in a big house, you sell the … Read more

The Flowering Tree

The mighty Oak tree. For all of the moving I’ve done, and all of the land that I’ve called home, I have only owned one prized Oak tree. The trees … Read more

Lake Geneva Sales

Many years ago, I decided to buck the most important trend in real estate salesmanship. I decided that I didn’t like every single sale. Contrary to current mass email form, … Read more

Lake Geneva Auction

If you are a seller of real estate, particularly the luxury brand of such, arriving at your wits end is not an uncommon scenario. Luxury real estate, by its very … Read more

Spring Parade

In person, one can scrutinize every curve and polished detail of any sort of boat. Under this close surveillance, it would be easy to see a thin scratch and examine … Read more

Four Short Weeks

The first recorded day that would have felt somewhat similar to we commonly refer to as “spring” was March 11th. On that day, Lake Geneva warmed to 53 degrees, and … Read more


The first person we meet in the movie “Low and Clear” is JT Van Zandt. He has a famous father, but that’s not important. He’s calm, reserved, and he loves … Read more


In Some Town, Illinois, a Realtor is walking into his office. He’s done this every day for years, parking in his spot, walking down the sidewalk, up the steps and … Read more

Bike Lake Geneva

I liked it when I was young. Back then, I thought my parents refusal to buy me things was part of some master plan carefully engineered to teach me responsibility. … Read more

Ice Is Out

I suppose a better person wouldn’t have to do what I have to do. But, alas, it goes something like this: Today, we must guess. Not for prize, but for … Read more

Good and Bad

In all things, there is good and bad. Some call this the silver lining, but I’ve never seen, with these two eyes, an actual silver lining on anything. Like if … Read more

Geneva National On Fire

In basketball, the head fake is a pretty important variety of fake. It’s usually best if accompanied by a bit of a shoulder shrug, some elevation of the tops of … Read more

The Great Ice Out

By now even those who loved it had started to hate it. The snowmobilers were over it, having long since fogged their engines and stowed away their sleds. The ice … Read more

The In Between

It’s not really winter anymore. The snow is mostly gone. Both the tall piles of pushed white snow and the great glistening fields have been melted away, leaving country fields … Read more

Ice Out

Two weeks ago, the ice was really something. It was thick, strong, proud. There was enough snow on top so that snowmobiles could race across it. Snowshoers were pleased to … Read more

Market Exercise

If this civilization wasn’t so advanced, and we didn’t already know what we liked and what we didn’t like, we’d have to do some testing. If we were hunters not … Read more

Market Confidence

In the fall of 2008, the world melted. In the spring of 2009, the market bottomed. In the fall of 2009, all hope that this cycle would be slight and … Read more

The Copper Top Sells

There’s a difference between building something for the market and building something for yourself. That’s obvious. If your 3 year old daughter loves Barney, you could build her a purple … Read more

My Boat

My boat isn’t such a good boat. Four years ago, when I found its picture on the internets, it wasn’t such a good boat then, either. But when it arrived … Read more

Two Lakefront Sales

I enjoy the marketplace positioned at the end of any given driveway. It’s a place for garbage, gifts, and sales, depending on the day. For instance, if you had a … Read more


After two more months and some handful of extra days, I will turn 37. That age doesn’t seem so bad to me. It seems youngish. For that sort-of-young-age, I have … Read more

Belfry Theatre

I was in the city this weekend. It was a nice time, in that big city, and I enjoy the change of scenery when tall buildings replace wide fields. Hustle … Read more


Of myself, there is very little that I don’t, or that I won’t, share here. I tell you about my struggles and about my successes. I tell you of my … Read more


I chopped wood yesterday. I chopped wood the day before, too. I don’t chop wood because I have to, but I chop wood because I like to. It makes me … Read more

Lake Geneva Winterfest 2015

George Strait didn’t ask politely, so I’m not sure why, if he didn’t, I would. He said run, or drive in a straight line. He said break speed limits, take … Read more

Out Of Towners

I sell real estate. I have a stable of much-appreciated clients who hail exclusively from Chicago and those burbs that describe themselves as being Chicago when they meet people who … Read more


Seeking a warmer sun and consolation for our winter condition, we boarded a series of planes and landed in a country to our south, far from the cold and the … Read more

Stone Manor

Otto Young was born in Prussia in the year 1844. He moved to London, then to New York. He made his fortune in Chicago, and in 1901 he built his … Read more

Buena Vista

The second home I ever bought was a small cottage on Kinzie, just up that Fontana road from the lake. I spent many hours there, indiscriminately sawing and chopping, hammering … Read more

Only In Streams

The lake was there, right where it is now, when I was a child the same age as my son is now. The lake back then was big, and it … Read more