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Eco-Friendly Getaways Near Chicago

March 30, 2017 By Mira Temkin

Looking for a place to escape within driving distance of the Chicago area? How about some family-friendly venues and destinations that support a “go green” initiative? These great getaways near Chicago are all within a five hour drive. Plus, find tips for reducing the carbon footprint of your travel at

Going Green in Wisconsin
Our neighbor to the North is one of the few states that actually features a Travel Green Wisconsin website, complete with certifications that promote smart, environmentally friendly business practices. Just a few hours away are a variety of Travel Green certified restaurants, hotels and venues that are committed to sustaining green practices and supporting the local economy.

It’s Grand in Lake Geneva

Splash down fun at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark (Photo courtesy of Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark.)

The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark are close by, so you can slip, slide and sleep while creating wonderful memories for your family. The big draw at Timber Ridge is the 50,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor waterpark, Moose Mountain Falls, with pools, slides, a lazy river, several hot tubs, and new musically inspired waterslide, Avalanche Falls. Check out their special packages for great savings and family fun.

Right next door is the AAA Four-Diamond Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, an all-season resort with a weekly schedule of recreational activities, family entertainment and leisure programming. Take on a life-size game of Human Foosball or let the kids go for Pastries and Picassos, where they can create a masterpiece on a plate and enjoy a delicious treat.

“The natural beauty of Grand Geneva is something that should not be taken for granted. Grand Geneva and Timber Ridge are committed to going green, reducing their carbon footprint and embracing the natural beauty that surrounds them,” says Steve Magnuson, managing director at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark.

Green initiatives at Grand Geneva and Timber Ridge include the full range of amenities. “The resorts’ fertile locale cultivated a natural herb and vegetable garden, which provides fresh produce for the Ristoranté Brissago, Geneva ChopHouse
and Grand Café,” says Magnuson.

In addition, local partners are utilized in all of the Grand Geneva restaurants.
“Since 2009, Grand Geneva has participated in the Clean the World program, which collects leftover soap and bottled amenities from guest rooms for redistribution to children and families in need,” Magnuson says. Clean the World has distributed more than 17 million bars of soap in 96 different countries.

In 2010, Grand Geneva became the first resort in the Midwest to offer an on-site charging station for electric cars, including two Tesla electric charging stations. Timber Ridge regulates its electricity, heating and cooling with guests’ keys alone, and has converted to all LED lights in guestrooms

Braise the Bar in Milwaukee
Check out Braise, Milwaukee’s first community supported agriculture (CSA) restaurant, where diners find a truly unique farm-to-table experience that supports the local economy. Braise grows their own vegetables, bakes their own bread and butchers their own meats. The menu changes daily, so there’s always something new to try. From seasonally inspired menus and creative cocktails, to hands-on classes and events, they work to educate their community on food. Braise serves dinner only.

Earth-Friendly in the Dells

Enjoy a bacon cheeserburger at Moosejaw. (Photo courtesy of Moosejaw Pizza.)

It’s not just great pizza. It’s pizza and burgers that subscribe to eco-friendly practices. Yes, at Moosejaw Pizza and Dells Brewing Company, delivery vehicles run on vegetable oil, recycled from the kitchen fryer. They also handcraft 10 varieties of their own beer with the used brewing grains recycled as horse feed. And there’s a gluten-free menu as well.

Race to Indy
Just a few hours south lies Indianapolis, a great city known for its family-friendly venues. The largest children’s museum in the world, the five-story Indianapolis Children’s Museum, continues to win awards for its innovative, hands-on activities. Enjoy interactive exhibits exploring art, science, history and culture, a Dinosphere, and planetarium.

Another good bet is White River State Park, America’s only cultural urban state park with 250 acres of green space. Explore the park by bike, Segway, or your own two feet as you meander through the Indianapolis Zoo, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, NCAA Hall of Champions, Indiana State Museum and Victory Field. A recommended green stay is The Hampton Inn Indianapolis/Carmel, which features energy efficient, LEED certified accommodations. The Hampton also offers organic products, recycling programs, solar panels, biodegradable materials, and even eco- tourism activities. Ask about their special package for the Children’s Museum.

Do the Dunes in Silver Lake, Michigan

Kids have fun rolling down the dunes. (Photo courtesy of the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce.)

Located on Lake Michigan between Muskegon and Ludington, Silver Lake is often called Michigan’s “Golden Coast,” where you’ll find 70-foot tall sand dunes. You can ride in dune buggy or simply hike to the top — it’s pure joy to run down the dunes. Visit the Little Sable Point Lighthouse, which sits right on the beach. Try sandboarding, which lets you glide down the sand. Rent everything you need for sandboarding at The Sand Box in Mears.

“Our sandboards are specifically designed just for sandboarding,” says Terri Sharpe, owner of The Sand Box. “You can ride it like a sled or stand up. The boards have to be waxed before each run. People love it because it’s exhilarating and it’s easy for kids to do. There’s nothing quite like a run down the dunes under your own power,” adds Sharpe.

See more here.


Elite Vacationers Soar with these Destination Copter Rides

From New Zealand and Lake Como to the U.K. and Lanai, birds-eye view is the new bragging right in luxury travel. So move over jet set, it’s all about the copter class with experiences that are quite literally over-the-top.

Helena Bay | North Island, New Zealand

New Zealand’s newest luxury property, Helena Bay Lodge, offers not only stunning private beach views, but also high-touch service providing an exclusive retreat built to host no more than five couples in its luxurious villa suites. Guests can delight in world- class cuisine from celebrated Michelin-starred Chef Ernesto Iaccarino of Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 in Italy, and enjoy over-the-top experiences including the Private Flights package which offers private helicopter transportation from Helena Bay to a selection of beautiful wineries. The idyllic excursion sweeps guests from the property to the Waiheke Islands via private helicopter for a wine tasting at both Cable Bay or Man’ O War Estate vineyards as well as lunch and to meet with winemaker. Guests who choose to purchase a bottle of wine to bring back to the property, can then have Chef Michele Martino of celebrated Michelin-starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 in Italy, curate a tailored lunch the following day, with custom wine pairings from the bottle chosen at the vineyard.

**The Private Flights package must be reserved with two days in advance and is available for guests staying for a minimum of a two night stay. Advance notice of the type of wine is needed for chef that day. The price for two people including helicopter

transportation, lunch and wine tastings at the vineyard, and chefs wine pairing lunch is $12,475 NZD including GST (tax).

Chewton Glen | Hampshire, UK

Chewton Glen an award winning storied Relais & Châteaux property, located in Hampshire, UK welcomes guests to experience the high life with their Helicopter Hotel Breaks package. Indulge in a two night stay in one of the hotel’s exclusive Treehouse Suites. Built high among the trees of a secluded valley, each Treehouse suspense 35 feet above ground is an unforgettable setting for a truly unique, unwinding, relaxing getaway. Huge windows give a panoramic view through the canopy to the valley beyond and every need is catered for and brought straight to the Treehouse doors…from a curated dining experience via a picnic basket style hamper, to unique Treehouse spa treatments, to a children’s nook filled storybooks the Treehouse suites at Chewton Glen are wonderfully unique. Once settled into your home in the sky, go even higher with a 45-minute private helicopter flight over the picturesque Isle of Wight with flowing champagne. Included in booking this stay is also full use of the award-winning spa, leisure facilities, dinner hamper for two, breakfast hamper for two and VAT. The Helicopter Hotel Breaks package begins at £1,850 per room per night based on two people sharing a Treehouse Studio Suite.

Jumeirah Port Soller | Mallorca, Spain

Just recently re-opened for it’s fifth season, the stunning Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa has unveiled a Unique Experiences Program to help guests discover the true beauty, culture, cuisine, wildlife and local produce of Mallorca. The private helicopter trip lasts approximately 20 minutes, enough time to identify many of the best parts of the island, and will drop you off right at the door of a charming agritourism in Fornalutx. A magnificent traditional manor house with a colorful history, where you will be offered locally grown oranges for your refreshment. Continue the day hiking across Sa Costera, one of the most beautiful coastal trails on the island that will take you to Cala Tuent. Finish off the day with lunch at ‘Es Vergeret’, offering local cuisine and freshly caught fish and seafood. Enjoy a swim before returning back to the hotel by private speedboat. Pricing upon request.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo | Lake Como, Italy

A rare jewel of Italian art de vivre with frescoed rooms and legendary architecture, Villa Sola Cabiati is a museum-worthy masterpiece that until recently was reserved for private use only. Today, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, an icon of period style and elegance, is setting the stage for guests at the historic villa, where the leisure class lounged lakeside since the 1700s. Sitting side-by-side along the Riviera della Tremezzina, the marriage of Grand Hotel Tremezzo and Villa Sola Cabiati is a study in refined luxury and a window into the heritage of Lake Como and its Grand Tour spanning two centuries. Separated by just a short ride in a traditional or water limousine, Grand Hotel Tremezzo and Villa Sola Cabiati offer high-level service and an extraordinarily regal experience in the air to

view Lake Como and it’s glory from high above in a helicopter. From the intimate to the elaborate, on the roof of Villa Sola sits a landing pad after your tour and on the grounds are perfectly suited for romantic dinners, milestone celebrations, spectacular soirées, or languid afternoons of alfresco luncheons, sun-dappled picnics and treasure hunts for little ones.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai | Lanai City, Hawaii

With contrasting landscapes across only 140 square miles, the secluded island of Lanai offers visitors unique, one-of-a-kind experiences highlighting the island’s diverse topography. For those looking for a sky-high adventure – all with the hallmark of Four Seasons and Lanai inspired, embark on a helicopter tour and fly over rolling mountains, jagged cliffs and broad beaches. Choose from the 20-minute Lanai Circle Island Experience for an aerial understanding of the island’s history, culture and beauty, or take a longer air expedition over the islands of Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Molokai and learn about their geological evolution over the last million years. Guests can also choose their own birds-eye adventure and develop a custom itinerary with a pilot for a full day’s flight over coffee estates, remote beaches and lava flows around active volcanoes. When the mood strikes, land for a gourmet picnic lunch, hiking tour or visit to local attractions. In addition, guests can learn to fly and perform basic maneuvers, such as takeoff, cruise and land, with the Maui Flight Academy. Fly in between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, directly over the active volcano vent, travel alongside tall sea cliffs to Molokai before heading over the lush West Maui mountains, finally landing in Hana to explore the rainforest on a 2-4 hour experience. The Fabulous 4 flight is a full-day of pure joy. Fly to Molokaʿi, Honolulu, Hawaiʿi’s Volcano, Hilo, Waipiʿo Valley, Hana Maui and Kahului for a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Gurney’s Resorts | Montauk, NY and Newport, RI

Gurney’s Resorts make it easy to visit their Montauk, NY and (new!) Newport, RI locations with a new partnership between the aviation company BLADE with Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa and Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. The properties can arrange for easy transportation on a luxurious BLADE seaplane from Manhattan to both islands – or in between islands allowing for a Montauk to Newport experience. Additionally, for the month of June, those that book a flight from Manhattan to Newport will receive complimentary accommodations at Gurney’s Newport. Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina debuted January 2017 as the only four-season resort in Newport, RI. Surrounded by water with frontage on both the Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor and a few minutes’ walk to Downtown Newport, Gurney’s Newport has 257 rooms and suites, four restaurant outlets, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center, spa, and spacious banquet space for groups and events. Under new ownership led by George Filopoulos and Lloyd Goldman, the resort will feature a refreshed lobby, new marina in early 2017, as well as enhanced pool deck and updated culinary outlets by summer 2017. Gurney’s Newport marks an expansion of the Gurney’s brand in the northeast, following the success of Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in the Hamptons, NY. Additionally, situated on Montauk’s most pristine stretch of oceanfront

real estate, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is a Hampton’s institution and the only four-season resort on Montauk. Providing guests with direct access to a 2,000 ft. private sand beach, Gurney’s features 146 rooms, suites and beachfront cottages, each with dramatic ocean views. Under new ownership led by George Filopoulos and Lloyd Goldman, the multi-phase, multi-year refresh of the entire property began in 2014 and has returned the year-round spa destination to the epicenter of the Hampton’s experience.

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara | North San Diego, Calif.

Capture the beauty of Coastal California from sea and sky with Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara’s Coastal Photo Safari. Led by award winning and internationally acclaimed artist Aaron Chang, this unique expedition offers hands-on experience with the creator of modern surf and ocean photography himself. Armed with a waterproof camera and wetsuit, guests free-dive as Chang shares tips for shooting the rhythm and movement of the water and tricks for capturing the early morning light. Next, the class enjoys a drive down the coast to Chang’s award-winning gallery, where he’ll gives a behind-the-scenes tour, before a private farm-to-fork lunch served along the beach. By the afternoon, guests will soar by helicopter above the San Diego shoreline while Chang guides them towards the perfect aerial shot. Situated in shimmering Southern California along the coastal city of Carlsbad, Four Seasons Residence Club offers 246 villas with all the comforts of a luxurious vacation home, coupled with intuitive service and amenities.

Trappers Cabin | Beaver Creek, Colo.

Beaver Creek pulls out all the stops with the ultimate White Glove Winter Package! Visitors can treat themselves and three guests and experience a ski vacation that will spoil them for anywhere else. With every detail attended to and amenities ranging from first class airfare, a private helicopter transport and private car to deliver guests to an on-mountain cabin all their own, there is no better place to experience the vacation of a lifetime than at Beaver Creek. Guests are encouraged to embrace the finer things in mountain life with this unforgettable vacation package valued at $50,000 (All package items subject to availability). The White Glove treatment features:

• Four Epic Passes, providing skiing and snowboarding privileges at 13 resorts in 3 countries
• First-class, round-trip airfare to Eagle Airport (EGE) from anywhere in the lower 48 states

• A private helicopter transfer straight from EGE to the base of Beaver Creek Mountain
• Four-night stay at the on-mountain Trappers Cabin with a personal “Cabin Keeper” concierge and chef
• A “welcome to Beaver Creek ski apparel package,” including items from Helly Hansen and Smartwool
• Golden Ticket First Tracks access to the mountain before it opens to the public

• Private ski lessons with a Ski School Ambassador
• A ski concierge private boot fitting and ski rental delivery
• Other activities and amenities include: a private snowshoe tour and picnic, private on mountain lunch, gourmet dinner at SaddleRidge Restaurant, post-ski spa treatment, dinner at Beano’s Cabin

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa | Lake Geneva, Wis.

With the US Open heading to Erin Hills in just a few months time, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis. (just 50 miles away from each other) is officially offering an over-the-top package for golf enthusiasts that includes a helicopter ride, a three- bedroom villa (brand new and debuting this June), private dining experience and more.

Fairways and Airways — Brand new Villa Access, Helicopter Transportation and Tickets to the US Open

• Four tickets to the US Open, with access to the hospitality tent with an open bar • Two night stay in a three-bedroom brand new Villa **the resort is celebrating the grand opening of the Villas in June
• Helicopter transportation for four to the US Open
• Transportation from landing spot to the US Open
• Grilled to order in-room villa dining experience with Grand Geneva’s chef
• Valid June 11 – 18, 2017. Package is subject to availability and does not include nightly resort fee and taxes.
Starting at $6,999

See more here.


Back for another year, the Lake Geneva Festival of Wine is a three-day celebration


LAKE GENEVA — Back for another year, the Lake Geneva Festival of Wineis a three-day celebration that starts Friday, March 31st. And it’s about so much more than just drinking wine. Carl spent the morning getting a preview.

Lake Geneva Festival of Wine (website)

Welcoming all wine lovers! Join us for the Lake Geneva Festival of Wine at Grand Geneva. We have an entire weekend of vintage entertainment planned for all you enthusiasts, from social wine drinkers to sommeliers. Enjoy Friday night wine dinners at our premier restaurants to kick off the weekend then don’t miss the Grand Tasting on Saturday – our main event – as well as informative seminars and room packages too. Tickets range from $80-$106. Packages for resort stay are also available to reserve and purchase **Must be 21 years old to attend**

Event Date Details:

Mar 31, 2017 – Apr 2, 2017 Mar 30, 2018 – Apr 1, 2018

See more here.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Film festival, Spring Skiing and More to do Around Wisconsin 

Lake Geneva: Festival of Wine. A weekend of wine tasting awaits visitors to the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa March 31-April 2. The main event, the Grand Tasting, takes places from 3 to 6 pm April 1. Tickets of that are $75 and include wine, cheese and chocolate tastings. See

Madison: Wisconsin Film Festival. More than 150 screenings are scheduled at a handful of theaters around madison during this festival March 30-April 6. Individual tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students, UW faculty and staff and seniors. See

Mineral Point: Gallery Night. Mineral Point hosts its first Gallery Night of the year on April 1. Artists in everything from painting and ceramics to photography and fiber art will open their galleries and studios to visitors for the day. See

Minoqua: Only Fools Run at Midnight 5k. Race through the streets of Minocqua at night on April 1. The 5k race kicks off at 11 pm. Runners are given green glow necklaces and encouraged to dress in costume for the fun run. Registration is $25 in advance and $35 the day of. See

Phelps: Maple Syrup Fest. Watch tree-tapping demonstrations, browse more than 70 vendors and enjoy plenty of maple syrup treats at this festival from 8am to 4pm April 1 at the Phelps School. There will also be a few classes this year, including a cooking class ($15), Beekeeping 101 and Maple Syrup 101 ($10 each). See

Poynette: Maple Syrup Festival. Learn about the science and history of making maple syrup, including how the Ho Chunk and early European settler did it, at this festival from 8am to 2pm April 1 at the Mackenzie center. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. There also will be a pancake breakfast ($7 for adults, $5 for kids 3-11). See

Waukesha: Trailbreaker Marathon. Choose from a variety of distances – 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon – for this race on April 1. The marathon routes follows city streets, bike trails and a 5-mile segment of the Ice Age Trail. Registration through March 29 is $40 for the 5k, $50 for the 10k, $60 for the half marathon and $70 for the marathon. See

Wausau: Granite Peak Family Festival Weekend. Get in a final weekend of skiing during Granite Peak’s Family Weekend March 31-April 2. In addition to lodging and lift ticket discounts there will be free horse-drawn wagon rides and fireworks and a bonfire on a Saturday night. See

See more here.


Daily Herald

 Midwest travel: Chicago Improv Fest brings the funny to Windy City
Chicago, A guy walks into a bar …

Between the moody weather and muddy politics, it’s no wonder improvisational comedy got its start in Chicago. It all comes together during the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Improv Festival when a diverse collection of performers (145 ensembles) perform at venues around the city. See emerging comic actors as well as well-known types like Jon Barinholtz (“Superstore”); pop-culture pundits and improv duo Frangela; Dan Harmon, creator of the TV show “Community”; Scott Adsit (“30 Rock,” “Big Hero 6”); and Rob Belushi (“How I Met Your Mother,” “Sorority Row”). There are plenty of suburban-born improvisers performing including cast members of I’m a Turtle and Wheaton-based Buzz’s Girlfriend. Don’t miss the Laser Comedy Show, a one-man show featuring Chris Fair, who grew up in St. Charles, and Therapy Players, a group made up of professional psychotherapists from Berwyn, Brookfield, Elmhurst, Evanston, Northbrook and Oak Park. The theme for this year’s festival is “No Ban on Fun!” Monday through Sunday, March 27-April 2. Shows are held at Stage 773, The Annoyance Theatre, the Athenaeum Theatre and Second City’s e.t.c. Theater. Ticket prices range from $5-$25. For details, visit

Blue bonnets and buttercups

Macy’s free annual floral festival sprouts once again at Macy’s on State Street. The theme of this year’s exhibition is Carnival so expect a visual extravaganza of brilliantly hued flora expertly landscape into lush gardens that bring the magic of Carnival to life. Walk through the display and notice favorite carnival classics including bumper cars, fun house, concession stand and games created from more than 5,000 types of flowers and plants. Thousands of live flowers, plants and trees from around the globe take root in unexpected settings including the Walnut Room Fountain and throughout the store. Open during regular store hours Sunday, March 26, through Sunday, April 9, at Macy’s, 111 N State St., Chicago. Call the Macy’s Flower Show Hotline at (212) 494-4495 or visit

Hold the lettuce and tomato

You know that guy who is always saying, “Everything is better with bacon?” Do us all a favor and take him to Baconfest Chicago where the city’s best chefs fashion fabulous bacon dishes for thousands of cured meat lovers. There are cocktails, beer and wine drinks to complement your salty sojourn and vendors exhibit bacon-fueled items. Tickets include: access to the chef area and tasting portions; seven drink tickets (although there are bacon-only tickets); access to Baconfest’s exhibiting sponsors and partners who provide samples of bacon products; a tote bag; and up to $10 in LYFT credit. 7 to 10 p.m. (6 p.m. VIP) Friday, March 31, and noon to 3 p.m. (11 a.m. VIP) and 7 to 10 p.m. (6 p.m. VIP) Saturday, April 1, at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago. General Admission tickets cost $100 plus fees; VIP tickets are $200 plus fees. See


Rootin’, tootin’, shootin’

The National Congress of Old West Shootists (NCOWS) convention rolls into the Quad Cities beckoning historical re-enactors, cowboy shooters and Old West enthusiasts of the time period from 1865 to 1899. Convention events include an Old West Show and Sale with various vendors offering period clothing, firearms (both reproduction and antique), leather, books, period collectibles and more. Attend a Ladies Tea, an Indoor Western Action Shoot at the Davenport Guns & Shooting Club and seminars from the Evolution of the Colt Pistol to the life and times of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. Most attendees don historical clothing throughout the weekend, so expect to see a wagon train of colorful characters. Friday through Sunday, March 24-26, at the Radisson Quad City Plaza, Davenport, Iowa. A one-day pass, payable at the door, is $5, which gets you into the show, sale and seminars held that day. See

The National Congress of Old West Shootists (NCOWS) convention rolls into the Quad Cities March 24-26. –

Stay thirsty, my friend

The 2017 Lake Geneva Festival of Wine promises samples of more than 100 wines during its Grand Tasting as well as a weekend full of entertainment, live chef demonstrations, elegant wine dinners, paint ‘n’ sip sessions, nature walks and morning yoga with mimosas. The main event is the Grand Tasting offering samples of wine, premium meats, cheeses and chocolates. Combine the Grand Tasting with a weekend package to get the most out of your vintage experience. Friday through Sunday, March 31-April 2, at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Grand Tasting is $75 per person, check online for the costs of other activities. Call about overnight packages: (800) 558-3417 or see

Say Spa-ah

Avani Spa, located within The Abbey Resort on Geneva Lake, has been named one of the Top 100 Spas of 2016 and one of the Top 10 Lake Spa experiences in North America by travel directory Spas of America. Just an hour or two drive from most points in Chicago and the suburbs, Avani Spa is currently featuring seasonal coconut lime treatments, including massages, body scrubs, facials, manicures and pedicures. Relax by the expansive atrium pool and consider an overnight stay for an indulgent or necessary getaway close to home. Avani Spa is at The Abbey Resort, 269 Fontana Blvd., Fontana, Wisconsin. Get details about available treatments and services by calling (800) SPA-1000 or visiting To make a reservation, call (800) 709-1323 or visit

See more here.


Walworth County Today

Festival of Wine returning to Lake Geneva

The Lake Geneva Festival of Wine returns to Grand Geneva Resort & Spa for a weekend of wine-centric entertainment, tastings, wellness activities, and seminars March 31 – April 2.

A grand tasting April 1 will feature wineries from around the country. Samplings from Sartori Cheese, Lake Geneva Country Meats and Indulgence Chocolatiers will also be available.

Additionally, attendees can support the United Way of Walworth County by participating in the Cork Pull, were guests draw a cork and win a bottle of wine.  A portion of proceeds will also go towards the local charity.

The event will include seminars, yoga classes, nature hikes, painting classes, and chef demonstrations.

Wine tastings from vineyards around the country, samplings of cheese and chocolate, seminars, yoga and painting classes, chef demonstrations and more will be featured at the Festival of Wine March 31 to April 2 at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.

For the full agenda and more information see the website or call 1-800-558-3417.

See more here.


Chicago Tribune

Fun in the snow in Michigan, a bike trip across Italy and more

Phil MartyChicago Tribune

Here are some of the more interesting events, deals, websites and other travel tidbits that have come across our desk recently:

•Trek Travel offers a challenge to bicyclists with its coast-to-coast Ride Across Italy. The six-day/five-night trip crosses the Apennine Mountains and totals more than 280 miles with 24,000 feet of climbing. There are dates in April, May, June and September, and it’s priced from $3,699 per person, double occupancy.  International air is extra. 866-464-8735,

•Sunnyland Tours has a six-day/five-night tour of Ecuador priced from $1,399 per person, double occupancy. The trip visits Quito and outlying towns with visits to hot springs, a butterfly farm and indigenous communities. The price does not include international air. 800-783-7839,

•The 2017 Vacation Planner for Colorado Springs, Colo., can be ordered or viewed online at

•The Seabreeze Jazz Festival will be April 19-23 in Panama City Beach, Fla. Among the headliners will be Kenny G.

•Visitors to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail in New York’s Finger Lakes wine region can purchase a Wine Weekday Passport for $25 that’s good for a free tasting at each of the area’s 30-plus wineries through June 30. The passports can be purchased online or at the wineries.

•There’s still fun to be had in the snow at ski resorts, even when the snow turns to slop. Shanty Creek Resorts in Mancelona, Mich., will host the Schuss Mountain Snow Challenge on April 1-2. Trucks will race side-by-side up 400-yard stretches of snowy slopes, and there will be a similar competition for ATVs.

•The 41st annual Duneland Woodcarvers Show will be April 1-2 at Woodland Park in Portage, Ind. Wood and gourd carvings will be on display, and there will be judging in numerous categories.

•The Rockford Dance Company will perform “Snow White” on March 31 and April 1 at the Hononegah Performing Arts Center in Rockton, Ill. There will be 7 p.m. performances both days and a 1 p.m. matinee April 1. Tickets are available online or by phone. 815-963-3341.

•”The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Exhibition” is on display through June 14 at the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa. The exhibit traces the career of the Fab Four from their beginning in Liverpool, England, to North America and later recording dates in the U.K.

•With winter wrapping up, it’s time for people who like to fish for trout to head to Missouri. From March 1 to Oct. 31, the catch-and-keep trout fishing season is open, and sites that are particularly popular are Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park southwest of Salem, Roaring River State Park near Cassville and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. Fishing after that is catch-and-release.

•The Lake Geneva Festival of Wine is scheduled for March 31 to April 2 at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis. The Grand Tasting on Saturday is the highlight event, but there are also wine dinners, a chef demonstration, seminars and fitness activities. Advance purchase of tickets is recommended.

•The Indianapolis tourism folks were thinking of Valentine’s Day when they put together their list of 50 Date Ideas for less than $50 in Downtown Indy, but there are ideas here that you can use year-round when visiting.

Deals and websites have been checked for availability as of press time. Listings are not endorsements. Send tips at least a month in advance to

Phil Marty is a freelancer.

See more here.


The Resorter

Lake Geneva Festival of Wine’s second year at Grand Geneva Resort

Calling all wine lovers! The Lake Geneva Festival of Wine is back for its sec- ond year at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa on March 31

– April 2, 2017. Guests and locals alike can take part in tastings, entertainment, education and wellness activities for a weekend

packed with vino entertain- ment. The marquee event of the weekend is the Grand Tasting on Saturday, April 1 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., which features a variety of winer- ies.

For those who want an extra hour with exclusive VIP perks, the VIP Grand Tasting is on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Throughout the week- end, representatives from national names like Hess Family Estates, Rombauer Vineyards, Banville Wine Merchants, Delicato Family Vineyards and more will be on hand, enriching guests’ palates with wisdom and wine.

Tickets and a variety of other dinners, activities and events happening through- out the weekend can be found at Who says wine is limited to tastings and dinners? At the Lake Geneva Festival of

Wine, slated for March 21 through April 2, wine lovers can indulge in all things vino while investing in personal health and wellness.

Start with yoga and mi- mosas in the morning where guests might find that vinya- sas flow even better with a little bubbly. Get those steps in with a guided nature walk along the White River Trail where deep breaths of clean country air are highly en- couraged.

Mental wellness is just as important as physical wellness, and guests are in- vited to unlock that creative part of their brain with a Paint ’N Sip class and never stop learning with seminars from notable industry ex- perts.

Seminars this year in- clude learning the art of wine blending by using different grapes to create your own wine and putting those taste buds to the test by learn-

ing the subtle differences of one kind of grape grown in different area of California. From yoga to hiking, learn- ing and creating, there are many ways to invest in well- ness at the Lake Geneva Festival of Wine.

The festival lodging package includes: Two night stay in a deluxe guest room

Two tickets to the Grand Tasting event on Sat- urday, April 1, 2017 from 3-6 pm; Two tickets to a Tasting Seminar of your choice on Saturday, April 1 at 12:30pm

Valid March 31 – April 2, 2017. Must be 21 or older to attend the Lake Geneva Fes- tival of Wine. Pricing does not include nightly resort fee and taxes.

Not applicable toward group bookings. Reserva- tions must be cancelled 72 hours prior to arrival to avoid a penalty of one night’s room and tax.



People on the Move

By Chloe Riley on 3/1/2017

AccorHotels appointed Maud Bailly as chief digital officer. Bailly will serve as head of the digital, distribution, sales, and information systems, and will be a member of the Executive Committee of the company.

Round Hill Hotel and Villas, located just outside of Montego Bay in Jamaica, appointed Yvette Baumuller as director of group sales and incentives.

Choice Hotels International has new leadership for the Cambria Hotel & Suites Los Angeles: Drew Berry, general manager; Jennifer Harrison, director of sales and marketing; Derek Evans, assistant general manager; and Adrienne Snow, sales manager.

John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts appointed Patrick Blache to vice president of information technology and promoted Misty Williams to director of sales at Embassy Suites by Hilton Huntsville Hotel & Spa in Alabama.

Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa appointed Vincent Bucci as managing director.

Rosewood CordeValle, a luxury golf resort in San Martin, California, appointed Michelle Christensen as spa manager for the resort’s Sense, A Rosewood Spa.

Deutsche Hospitality appointed Florian Daniel as senior director of group IT. Daniel has over 16 years of experience in the IT sector. He has spent most of his career working for Berlitz, where he progressed from IT coordinator for Europe to ultimately become director of Worldwide IT.

The Statler, a downtown Dallas hotel undergoing a $225 million redevelopment, named Evan Danziger as general manager and Jennifer Wasserman as director of sales and marketing.

Euro Capital Properties appointed Jeff David as managing director of Washington D.C.’s Watergate Hotel, which reopened in June following a US$200 million renovation. David joined the Watergate Hotel team from boutique luxury hotel Greydon House in Nantucket, where he held the position of Managing Partner.

Marriott International appointed David Flueck as senior vice president, loyalty. Previously, Flueck oversaw Starwood’s Global Revenue Management team.

Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa in Vero Beach, Florida, appointed Oscar Fontana as general manager.

Anne Frye was named Stonebridge Companies’ regional director of sales and marketing. Frye is re-joining the company, having previously worked for Stonebridge as a director of sales and marketing at the Courtyard by Marriott Denver Cherry Creek.

Noble House Hotels & Resorts named Tina Gerson as director of sales to Pelican Grand Beach Resort, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Brand and management company Dream Hotel Group named Christian Glauser-Benz as Vice President of Development for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ashley Gochnauer was named general manager of the newest Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants property in Los Angeles, The Everly, slated to open in April.

Florida’s Trump National Doral appointed of Didier Lailheugue as executive chef. Prior to joining the hotel, Lailheugue served as executive chef with InterContinental Hotels Group for 10 years.

Sage Hospitality appointed Gerry Link as general manager of Denver-based The Maven Hotel, opening in spring.

New Castle Hotels & Resorts promoted Alex Lugo to general manager of the 366- room Hilton Lexington Downtown in Shelton, Connecticut.

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa and Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin appointed Brad Lyles as director of sales and marketing. Lyles most recently served at Marcus Hotels & Resorts as the corporate director of sales.

Fifteen-year hospitality industry veteran Juan Manrique has been named account director, business travel at The Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Manrique comes to The Westin from his previous post as a business development manager with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Hyatt Regency Lake Washington, which opens in Seattle in summer, appointed part of its executive team: Rusty Middleton, general manager, Jeff Ouradnik, director of sales and marketing, Jennifer Grosclaude, director of events, Vincent Savignano, executive chef.

Mantra Group made multiple key management appointments: Bobbie Murphyas general manager at Peppers Manor House in the Southern Highlands; James Sharrock, area general manager ACT; Joseph Amerio, general manager BreakFree Capital Tower, Canberra; Sharine Boey, general manager at Mantra 100 Exhibition, Melbourne; Nick Ellis, general manager of Tribe West Perth; Andrew McTaggart, development manager; and St. John Lord, joined Mantra Group’s executive committee.

Yossi Navi was appointed acting general manager of Carlton Tel Aviv. An industrial engineer by training, Navi served as deputy general manager of Carlton Tel Aviv for the past eight years and prior to that, served in executive roles for David Intercontinental Hotel, Hilton Tel Aviv, and King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

Kevin Osterhaus was named president of Sixty Hotels. Osterhaus was most recently the executive vice president, operations for Standard International, overseeing corporate and property operations for the company’s hotel projects in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Texas.

Bahamas-based Atlantis, Paradise Island appointed Audrey Oswell as chief operating officer and Wendy Blaney as senior vice president of sales.

Sanderling Resort in Duck, North Carolina appointed Tyler Powell as the resort’s new chef de cuisine.

Kimpton Epic Hotel, located in downtown Miami, appointed Stacy Rosario as director of social catering.

Kevin Runner was named general manager of the 200-room Westin Jekyll Island in Shelton, Connecticut.

Frankfurt, Germany-based Worldhotels has named Chief Commercial Officer Tom Santora additionally as executive chairman.

Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, appointed Ryan Fitzgerald as resort manager and Carey Shindler as senior sales manager.

Mike Wehrle was appointed culinary director of the Bürgenstock Resort Lake in Lucerne, Switzerland, set to open in summer. He brings 23 years of experience with Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels in Europe, Southeast Asia and the U.S.

Pacific Beach Hotel, an 839-room on Waikiki Beach currently undergoing aUS$115 million redevelopment to become the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach in fall, made six appointments: Joseph Yamaokato as director of operations, Edward Manzo as director of food and beverage, Ryan Nomura as director of outlets, Alexandra Nagelvoort, assistant director of finance, Rhoderika Miranda as senior catering sales manager, and Leon Bolivar as marketing manager.

See more here.


The Spirit of Geneva Lakes

 Grand Geneva to host snocross championship

Ready for some hot action on the cold snow? Then look no further than the AMSOIL Championship Snocross National Series finale March 17 through 19 at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa’s Mountaintop Ski Hill. Watch the top racers in the world as they compete for season-ending prizes on a rough-and-tumble course featuring soaring hills, tight turns and plunging descents. See page 7 for additional details

5 ) Lake Lawn Resort’s Spring Bridal Show. Showcasing the area’s top wedding experts, a bridal fashion show, along with tours to explore the resort’s venues, the show will be a one-stop shop for attendees to discover this year’s wedding trends and get inspired for their special day. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with bridal fashion show beginning at 2 p.m. Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E. Geneva St., Delavan
7) Tuesday@2 series presents, “My Circus Life” Sonette Tippens shares her career as a circus aerialist with attendees in this installment of the series. Free for members; $5 for non-members. 2 p.m. at Geneva Lake Museum, 255 Mill Street Lake Geneva; (262) 248-6060;

9) The Beat Goes on at Rosewood, 12:30 p.m. Farm-to-table cuisine and a musical cabaret performance in the rustic, casually elegant space of Rosewood, 2484 County Rd O South, Delavan. The show features hits by Glen Miller Band, Chuck Berry, The Andrews Sisters, Elvis, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins, The Monkees, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Jackson Five, Johnny Cash and more. (262) 725-7286.

12) Full Moon Hike with Clearwater Outdoor, 8 to 9 p.m. Hike through Big Foot Beach State Park, meet at the pavilion just past the ranger shack. Free to the public, no registration needed. Headlamp or flashlight needed. State park pass required.
14) “Our Town” at Young Auditorium,Whitewater. 7:30 p.m.; Tickets: $16 to $26. “Our Town” is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play, written by American playwright, Thornton Wilder. It tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens. Presented by the American Shakespeare
Center. Tickets may be ordered online, by phone at (262) 472-2222, or purchased in-person on the UW-Whitewater campus.
15)“Two Gentlemen of Verona” at Yo u n g Au d i t o r i u m, Whitewater. 7:30 p.m. show presented by American Shakespeare Center. Tickets are $16 to $26. This play is a comedy by William Shakespeare that deals with the themes of friendship and infidelity, the conflict between friendship and love, and the foolish behavior of people in love. Tickets may be ordered online, by phone at (262) 472-2222, or purchased in-person on the UW-Whitewater campus.

17-19)Nielsen Grand Finale of the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series The top professional snocross racers on the planet will invade Grand Geneva Resort and Spa for three days of hot snowmobile racing. See page 7 for additional details.
19) Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra presents Chamber Music
– 3 p.m. at Holy Communion Episcopal Church, 320 Broad St., Lake Geneva. If you enjoy hearing the LGSO as a full orchestra, you will love hearing its players in the context of a piano trio, string quartet, brass quintet, or woodwind quintet. Now in its fourth season, the Chamber Music Series features a few small ensembles in their own dedicated performances.
26) Pasta Bar Fundraiser at Horticultural Hall, 330 Broad St., Lake
Geneva. Event features great prizes including a one-night stay at the Abbey
Resort, Champagne Brunch at the Grand Geneva, tickets to Magic Waters Waterpark, tickets to the She’d Aquarium and more. Seats are limited – pick up tickets ($25 in advance) at Geneva Lake Manor, Harpoon Willies or Pirates Cove.
26) Florentine Opera Company
presents “The Billy Goats Gruff,” 3 p.m. Tickets: $5 adults; $3 Children 2 to 11; younger than 2 are admitted free. The Florentine Opera has adapted this classic children’s story for today’s audiences, using the beauty of opera to tell a tale. Seating is right on the auditorium stage. Children will have the opportunity to ask the performers questions after the show and tour the set.
Tickets may be ordered online, by phone at (262) 472-2222, or purchased in-person on the UW-Whitewater campus.
29) World Music Showcase at Young Auditorium, Whitewater. 7:30 p.m. show, tickets are free for members and $10 for all others. Egyptian musicians Tarek Abdullah and Adel Shams El-Din will perform. Tickets may be ordered online, by phone at (262) 472-2222, or purchased in-person on
the UW-Whitewater campus. Although we attempt to provide accurate information regarding area events, dates and times may change or events may be cancelled. We suggest you verify details before you finalize
your travel plans.
Get Your Motors Running
Top snowmobile racers in the world ready to attack Grand Geneva course
Professional snowmobile racing’s premier racing series – AMSOIL Championship Snocross – will host three days of high-flying racing action in
Lake Geneva March 17 through 19, at the Grand Geneva Resort
and Spa. The Nielsen Enterprises Grand Finale will feature the best snowmobile racers in the world, including some local talent, competing for year-end championships. Locally, Wisconsin pro snowmobile racers Ross Martin, of Burlington, and Kody Kamm, of Kenosha, will be in the hunt
for the premier Pro Open class championship. Martin was sixth in the season-long points standings and Kamm was second prior to the finale. Other area racers in the Pro Open class include Brett Nastala of Edgerton (14th place) and Justin Broberg of Mukwonago (15th place). “AMSOIL Championship Snocross series’ grand finale at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa is without a doubt one of snowmobiling’s marquee global events of the year,” said Carl
Schubitzke, ISOC president/race director said. “Lake Geneva is where we crown our champions. It doesn’t get any bigger than AMSOIL Championship Snocross at Lake Geneva. “And the conditions are going to be perfect this year for the world’s premier professional snowmobile racers.”
Grand Geneva is home to the Mountain Top ski area that will supply the snow-making equipment to create the racecourse, which will resemble a lunar-like surface, complete with massive jumps, fast- cornering berms and tricky rhythm sections, according to race organizers. “Our staff and guests look forward to the AMSOIL Championship Snocross event each year and we’re honored to continue to be the host property for such an incredible
event,” said Tom Mason, general manager of Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. “Snocross is one of The Mountain Top’s premier events each winter season.”
The Lake Geneva event is the eighth and final stop of the national tour series for the 2016-17 season. The event will feature three full days of racing in a variety of classes – from juniors to amateurs to professionals. Practice runs and preliminary rounds will be run on all three days. The finals in many of the top classes will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at noon on
Sunday. General admission tickets are $25 per day or $40 for all three days. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Parking is $5. The International Series of Champions (ISOC) bills itself as the premier snowmobile race sanctioning organization in North America and sanctions national
AMSOIL Championship Snocross, in addition to affiliating with nine regional
circuits. Visit for more information, fan and racer memberships, schedule details and more. The Lake Geneva Grand Finale is
among 17 one-hour programs of the ACS races that will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Grand Geneva Resort and Spa is an award-winning all-seasons resort set on 1,300 acres in Lake Geneva. The property features 355 guest rooms; WELL Spa + Salon; two championship 18-hole golf
courses; The Mountain Top, a three-chair/18-run ski and snowboard facility;
62,000 square feet of meeting and convention space and three restaurants.
For more information, visit
If you go…
WHO: 150 of the world’s top snowmobile racers
WHAT: The final stop on the 2016-17 AMSOIL Championship Snocross national series
WHEN: March 17-19
WHERE: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva
TIMES: Opening ceremonies are at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon on Sunday.
TICKETS: General admission tickets are $25 per day or $40 for the entire three-day weekend! Children 5 and under are free. Parking is
$5. Tickets are available at the gate and online at