This story first appeared on The Local Tourist.
All-inclusive weekend stay for two compliments of Lake Lawn Resort on Delavan Lake, Wisconsin.
Spa treatments for two compliments of Calladora Spa at Lake Lawn Resort.
There is an old Russian song that goes something like this: “Mother Nature offers no bad weather. Any weather is a blessing. Any weather should be accepted gratefully…” Yeah, ok… Tell that to a Chicagoan in the dead of winter, the one who spent countless hours digging out of the mountain of snow or chiseling away at the slab of ice several inches thick. Betcha they will have a different opinion of weather. Chicagoans are a tough brood, though. However harsh the winters, we frequently embrace them wholeheartedly. Did you catch that “we” bit? Yes, I am that snow-diggin’ ice-chiselin’ sick-of-winter-by-now Chicagoan. Yet, given the opportunity to embrace winter in all its glory, I went all in and headed north into the belly of the beast. Hello, Wisconsin… You look mighty frozen! But hey, at least I don’t have to dig out a parking space for the weekend. All I truly wanted-needed-craved desperately in this pandemic year was a change of scenery.
And change of scenery I got! At the invitation of Lake Lawn Resort, my partner and I enjoyed a weekend winter getaway, where everything happened lakeside. The stark, frigid beauty of frozen Delavan Lake was our companion throughout the stay. We watched the pink and gold hues dance on its pristine white surface at sunrise and sunset. We walked out on its frozen face, albeit extra carefully. We wined and dined beside it. We saw it sparkle in the winter sun, and then turn flat white under the snow clouds. Lake Lawn Resort offers the view of Delavan Lake from every possible angle. And we could not get enough.
Lake Lawn Resort is over a century old. But the amenities it offers are not at all dated. Our room boasted the view of the lake and a private patio with Adirondack chairs that the weather was too cold for us to enjoy. Updated decor, spacious bathroom, jacuzzi tub. We could have spent all our time in the room and been content. The resort implemented extensive and strict COVID-19 safeguard practices. Everything is cleaned and disinfected frequently. Hand sanitizer stations are everywhere, and they are maintained and refilled constantly. The staff is properly masked, and when required, gloved. Social distancing is maintained at the restaurants and the spa. We never felt unsafe.
PLEASE, NOTE: everyone’s level of comfort with travel in the time of COVID-19 is different. Do your own due diligence, should you choose to travel. We personally practice all the necessary precautions based on our own level of comfort. We research, notice and appreciate precautions and safeguards taken by the hosting destinations.
As much as the room was beckoning us though, we had a full itinerary of wintery fun ahead. Lake Lawn Resort offers a variety of recreational options, and we were about to embrace that winter! Everything lakeside! First up: snowshoeing. I am not what one would call a Sporty Spice. So, I have never tried my hand, err, foot at snowshoeing before. So, on the morning of our snowshoe adventure I was so excited, I was wide awake at 4:30am, to my partner’s chagrin. Bonus of being up early? We got to see the sunrise over Delavan Lake in its full unadulterated glory. After a light breakfast and expertly prepared espresso drinks at Isle of Capri Cafe, we were ready to embark on our journey.
“You going snowshoeing? Be prepared to use your muscles in a way that you haven’t before.” If I had a dollar for each time we heard that… We were expertly fitted and equipped with snowshoes. And then sent on our merry way. We chose to walk out onto the face of the lake a little ways. Temperature outside: 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Thickness of ice cover on Delavan Lake: 10 inches. We lucked out with a bright sunny day that made everything sparkle like fairy dust. Slow and steady, we trekked through the crunchy snow, eventually getting the hang of it. Snowshoeing isn’t intuitive and it does use those muscles in a different way. It is harder than it looks and also way more fun than we expected! An hour went by in a blink of an eye! Onward to the next wintery adventure!
We passed on skating and cross-country skiing in favor of curling. Neither one of us has tried this Canadian sport, and no time like the present to try something new. Lake Lawn Resort’s Lookout Bar & Eatery offers two curling courts on its patio. Hurtling a rock down an ice rink while sipping a boozy hot chocolate? Yes, please. We jumped in with both feet. Now… It does turn out that we are pretty terrible at the game. And we looked ridiculous I suspect, slipping and sliding all over the court. But we had so much fun, we did not care.
Our Lake Lawn Resort stay was not all exercise though. We did get a chance to relax and visit Calladora Spa for his and hers treatments. Massage for him, a “maskne” facial for me. Now, I do not actually have maskne, though many mask wearers do. But whose winter skin couldn’t use a little pampering, I ask ya? We showed up for our treatments to find the spa bright and airy. It is very modern and spacious as well. The spa offers an array of services and products, and is practicing extreme caution in the time of COVID-19. Once again, we did not feel unsafe. Rightfully, due to COVID-19, the locker room, showers and the steam room are off limits. But the waiting area is plush and serene, and it offers bottled water. Masks are required, and treatment rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between clients. No walk-in business is accepted at this time.
My facial was excellent. The esthetician was knowledgeable and designed the treatment based on my particular skin concerns. This individual approach is the only way to have a facial in my humble opinion, every face is different. The spa uses Image skincare line, the products that are all natural, gentle, yet effective. My super sensitive skin remained calm throughout. I left the spa refreshed and glowing.
Let’s talk food! All this winter fun made us super hungry! Good thing the resort offers several dining options. We tried them all during our stay. For me, the highlight was our igloo lunch lakeside at Lookout Bar & Eatery. Who would have thought lunching outside in February would be fun? Our private lakeside igloo was aired out and sprayed down with disinfectant prior to our seating. You can trust me on that, we watched it happen. In 5 degree temperatures, we were told the igloo interior would be only 15-20 degrees warmer than outside. Lunch in 30 degrees? We bundled up. Turns out though, our plastic igloo, once zipped up, becomes a green house. Between the beating sun and the space heater, we got toasty warm. So warm in fact, we had to shed our layers. I was comfortable in just a short sleeve t-shirt.
Igloos have their own menu, most of it a riff on street foods. Dishes are delivered by warmly clad servers, and kept warm under cloches. We sampled street tacos, bao style sliders, pulled pork nachos and bacon-wrapped chicken. All were good, my partner going crazy for those loaded nachos. My favorite were the bao sliders, especially the chicken with spicy bean sprouts.
We dined at Lookout Bar & Eatery proper the night prior. Chef John Billings shines through his specials. The Wisconsin style Friday Fish Fry was outstanding, juicy beer-battered cod accompanied by excellent hushpuppies and house made potato cakes. One of the specials on our visit was a pretty spectacular Cajun gumbo with crawfish pistolette. Buffalo wings and burgers are very good as well. And Chef Billings insisted that we have dessert: a s’mores cookie sandwich. Yum.
The highlight of our weekend dining though was a Saturday night special of all-you-can-eat hand carved Prime rib at Frontier Restaurant. My meat lovin’ partner was in heaven! Each plate of juicy succulent Prime rib came with a choice of salad, a loaded baked potato and grilled asparagus. I sampled the seafood, namely the scallops and crabcakes entree, also very good. Desserts came, both of them beautifully plated and delicious. And while an upscale dining option, Frontier is an excellent value. The unlimited Prime rib special will set you back only $36.
Lake Lawn Resort offers and indoor pool (by reservation due to COVID-19), fitness center and nightly bonfires. It is also quite the destination for ice fishing. And of course the fun here isn’t restricted to winter. The resort is gearing up for Spring Break as we speak. It is a popular destination for Easter Brunch. And with all the outdoors it offers, Lake Lawn Resort beckons to be explored in the summer months. We hope to return then to hike along the lake and to enjoy sitting in those Adirondack chairs on the patio, watching the sunset on Delavan Lake. Lake Lawn Resort, a home away from home, where memories are made, stories are relived, and absolutely everything happens lakeside.