An Ecotourism Escape to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin


| 6/10/2016 8:25:00 AM


The Osthoff Resort on Elkhart Lake

What a difference a few miles makes. Just 33 miles northeast of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR held in West Bend, awaits one of Wisconsin’s natural treasures: Elkhart Lake.

There’s no surprise why the community is named after its pristine 292-acre Elkhart Lake, first settled by the Potawatomi tribe, naming the lake after they found it resembled the shape of an elk’s heart. By the 1880s, vacationers from Chicago and St. Louis arrived by train to be entranced by the tranquil and spring-fed azure waters.

The popular Osthoff Resort opened in 1886, with travelers arriving with steamer trunks in tow. Thanks to the preservation of the area’s Old World charm over the years, the Osthoff Resort and many other establishments continue to thrive to this day. At times, I felt as if I was on Mackinac Island with the white facades of the buildings and tidy gardens.

Don’t be fooled by the internationally renowned motor racing also found here. The road races used to snake right through town before being moved to the Road America racetrack southeast of the village. Outside of race times, though, this place is every bit the refuge for generations of families escaping the summertime heat.



So come early or linger for a few days after the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in West Bend and cool off at Elkhart Lake. Explore some of the spectacular natural areas, savor farm-to-table meals or relax at an eco-spa at the Osthoff Resort.



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