What’s your favorite thing about the Lake Geneva area?
To ask what’s your favorite thing about the Lake Geneva area is tough, because it’s not just one thing. It’s the feel and atmosphere that draws you in. You know it when you experience it, yet verbalizing it can be difficult. I do love Geneva Lake itself. It’s a spring-fed, crystal-clear lake with excellent sailing, boating, tours, swimming, sandy beaches, surrounded by lush forest and stunning homes. Plus the lake shore path offers a 21-mile hike around that beautiful body of water where you walk past a piece of America’s history. It’s awesome.
Since you are a long-time Wisconsin resident and frequent visitor to the area, what changes have you seen over the years that have helped drive tourism?
The biggest change I have seen in the tourism industry here in Wisconsin, especially in the Lake Geneva area, is that we have embraced our winter season to really be a four-season destination. We no longer just stay indoors and gut it out. We enjoy winter at a whole new adventurous level. Did you know you can zipline here – in winter? Every year in downtown Lake Geneva there’s a winter festival with helicopter rides and hot air balloon excursions. Guests can rent a heated igloo and have cocktails and dinner with friends. The U.S. National Snowsculpting Championship is an annual event here featuring snow-artists from Alaska to Colorado to Vermont. They create works of art and love talking to visitors.
Any other fun anecdotes or something meeting planners should know?
Lake Geneva is a culinary dream. We are America’s Dairyland and because of that we were farm-to-table before it was hip. If you’re a foodie you’ll be back again and again.
I love when people discover this area for the first-time. Russell Crowe tweeted about it, and when I invited Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Hayes and movie producers David & Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahamson here to showcase our new television commercial, they were blown away by the area. It was so cool to see. As a former Secretary of Wisconsin Tourism, I have held numerous meetings and conventions in Lake Geneva and it was always a hit. They make you look great, and you can’t ask for much more than that.