Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin - A Great Place for a Walk

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is one of my favorite places. It's within an easy drive of both Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the spring-fed lake is clear and, at 152 feet deep, is the second deepest lake in Wisconsin. After the Great Chicago Fire, many of the area's wealthiest and most well known retreated to Lake Geneva and the mansions they had built at the water's edge. Today many of the famous names are gone or have changed, but the lake is still ringed with large and gorgeous homes.

What's even more interesting is that each owner maintains a public easement, a shore path that circles the entire lake, all 21 miles of it. This was originally established in the 1800's so that the local Native Americans could hunt and fish around the lake, as was specified in their treaties. Today it is there for the public's enjoyment (and exercise. Yes, I have hiked the entire 21 mile distance. Once. Only once, but I've hiked large portions of it many times).  Each owner maintains their section as they see fit. So parts of it have flagstones, parts are grass, parts are paved with various types of stone. Some look like this:

Others like this:

This is the path in downtown Lake Geneva:

And this is the path as it goes past one of the most impressive mansions:

The homes along the lake are, as I mentioned, gorgeous, and the only place to see them is either from the path or from a boat. The shore path is a wonderful opportunity to take a walk. If you're ever in the area, stop and walk a portion of the path. It's a truly unique experience!


Mary Preston said...

I love walking. I could see myself strolling around the lake quite happily.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Walking is my favorite form of exercise. And while 21 miles was a bit much, it was really beautiful.