Fantastic news for local history buffs!
Many local residents are familiar with the Black Point Estate, in one way or another, whether they know the Peterson family personally or simply have had a chance to take a Gage boat tour out to the Estate and view it from the water. Remembering the almost decade long lawsuits attempting to stop the Peterson family from making their home available to the public, it was decided long ago that visitors could only arrive via the Cruise Line. This order was established in order to protect the neighborhood. It turns out, though, history buffs aren’t exactly the kind of riff-raff crowds the neighbors anticipated, so some rules have been relaxed.
The Grand Geneva has partnered with the Wisconsin State Historical Society to allow land access to this stunning estate. Why is that a big deal? The
stairs! Black Point Estate is an 1888 Queen Ann Victorian home built by Chicago beer baron, Conrad Seipp, and it sits on the highest natural point of land located on Geneva Lake. That means departing the boat and having to climb over 100 stairs to arrive at the home, making it impossible for disabled and some elderly folks to access the site. Now, however, you can make a reservation with the Grand Geneva to ride their fun little trolley out to the estate and enjoy the same public tour as those arriving via boat.
These tours depart weekly from the Grand every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. and the cost is $30, versus the $39 charge to arrive using the Cruise Line.
This year (2019) they’ve added a special Nooks & Crannies tour, which involves a deeper look into the home, including the basement, a rarely toured third floor and even a peek at the spiral staircase leading up to the iconic tower. The cost is $45, but this also includes lunch provided by the Grand Geneva. Be forewarned, a portion of this tour includes a brief lakeshore path walk involving all those stairs. Either way, if you haven’t seen the Estate and Gardens at Black Point, find the right tour for you and check it out. You will not be disappointed.
Happy 25th Birthday to the Grand Geneva Resort! People around the world remember when Hugh Hefner opened the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, and you can still find many local, former employees that will regal you with wild stories of the “good ole days.” But after the iconic club closed, the property felt the pains of neglect over time. The old Americana Resort opened to replace the Playboy club but promptly closed, until the Marcus family scooped up the 1,300-acre property, renovated the place and them reopened. Considered Lake Geneva’s premier resort destination, the property is actually located in the Town of Lyons. After extensive renovations and repairs, the Grand re-opened its doors in 1994. The resort could be considered the thousand-pound gorilla when it comes to the local tourism scene, but the owners have managed to make the place a vital party of the local economy, employing around 1,100 area residents.
Also, through a decade’s old room sales tax agreement with the Town of Lyons revenue generated from overnight stays, dictated by a special arrangement, makes up a major portion of the VISIT Lake Geneva marketing budget. The 25th celebration offers all kinds of fun events for visitors and locals alike. The GSR especially appreciates the newly created “Locals Club.” Simply go to their website and sign up for the club’s monthly email specials. On the 25th of each month, you will receive an email for specials like $.25 tap beers, 1994 golf rates or even $25 off an overnight stay in a local hotel.
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Clean up time! The city brush pick-up is over for the spring and will not happen again until fall. Lake Geneva has a self-serve area at the city garage parking lot on Carey Street where you can drop off your debris 24/7. Not only is there a drop-off area, but there is also a pile of wood chips free to anyone who can use them. This is a great perk that not many (if any) other communities offer. The brush and wood chip pile will be relocated in the near future; however, but it will not move far. The new spot will be very visible as you drive down Carey Street. The relocation is being done so new fencing can be placed to prevent the street department parking lot and work area from being a pass-through for street traffic between Highway H and Carey Street. This will increase the safety of the street department staff and the citizens of Lake Geneva.