When I heard Elkhart Lake described as “crystal clear”, I just shrugged my shoulders.
I know lakes. When you swim in lakes, you might as well accept the fact that the water is going to be murky and you can’t see the lower half of your body when treading water.
Which is, quite frankly, a little creepy.
So when I stepped out onto the large wooden porch of our completely fabulous suite (which is a misnomer, these are more like apartments) of the Victorian Village Resort and saw the absolutely – yes – crystal clear water of Elkhart Lake, I was astonished.
This is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. Seriously. We have lots of lakes in Kentucky. We even have a region that is called the Land Between the Lakes, we have so many. But nothing like this. This absolutely gorgeous, clean and clear water with a sandy bottom, actual sand beaches, surrounded by lovely, thick green forest…this was incredible.
Not only is this lake incredible in every way – you must see this lake – we stayed in just the loveliest resort imaginable. Originally built in 1882, the Victorian Village Resort was recently purchased by Kenny and Judy Salzwedel and restored as a labor of love into a charming, elegant estate with beautifully landscaped grounds, a sandy beachfront, wonderful pool and hot tub and some of the nicest accommodations in which we have ever stayed.
When you park and check into your accommodations in the lobby, located in a turn-of-the century converted cottage, you know you have arrived someplace special. You are going to have a large number of choices for accommodations at this resort, which is the perfect location for a romantic couples getaway, a girlfriends getaway, a family vacation – pretty much any group will fit in here.
The Grand Victorian Lady, a century old hotel, is the grand dame of the place with luxury 1, 2 or 3 bedroom condos, each with a fireplace and a view of that incredible lake. The open area which combines a fully equipped custom kitchen, dining area and living room with gas fireplace would be the perfect place for a family or group of friends on a getaway. There are 4 stories and an elevator in this building. The entire resort reminded us of the resort in the movie “Dirty Dancing” but this building is especially reminiscent of the movie.
The Victorian Inn is another option at the resort and has quaint hotel rooms with a small fridge, a private porch, and some have a small kitchenette added. There is an indoor pool in this building but no elevator for the 2nd level so make sure you specify a ground floor room if stairs are an issue.There is no lake view but you do have a view of the beautiful grounds, so this is probably the most economical choice at the resort.
There are a variety of villas to rent of varying sizes located throughout the resort but our favorite accommodations where the ones we ended up in – the Lakeside Suites.
As I said, these might easily be considered apartments or condos as they have 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms, full kitchens and a bathroom for every bathroom – our one bedroom unit had two full baths, one with a washer and dryer!
These suites are right at the edge of the lake close to the outdoor pool and the Barefoot Tiki Bar where you can grab a bite to eat. Each unit has a large outdoor porch which faces the lake and has incredible views of the sunset.
There are three levels but again no elevator – we got our exercise as we were on the top floor! – so keep this in mind when booking.
These suites would be wonderful for families with the full kitchen and easy access to the beach and pool. We saw several families with kids who were enjoying both. Families will really enjoy the variety of watersports available which include waterskiing, kayaking, bumper boats and cruises on the lake. I loved kayaking for the first time on the lake.
There are two dining options at the resort – the Barefoot Tiki Bar, which has a great view of the lake from the sunny deck, a casual menu of pizzas, burgers, nachos or native fare Sheboygan brats on a hardroll, hand packed ice cream, and live music on the weekends in the summer or the Back Porch Bistro. We had dinner one night at the Back Porch Bistro and it was wonderful.
You can dine inside by the cozy fireplace in the fall or winter, or outside during milder weather with a lovely view of the lake. The menu changes with the seasons and they use local produce as much as possible, artisanal Wisconsin cheese and made from scratch bread and desserts.
Victorian Village Resort also has a very unique and small theatre where they host special events like weddings and also offer creative entertainment. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at the resort but when you are ready for more fun, the town of Elkart Lake is a charming little village with shops are restaurants which you can easily walk to in just a few minutes from the resort.
For over 100 years this little town, tucked away beside this alluring lake with a fascinating history has attracted visitors – you should absolutely be the next ones!
Full disclosure: Our stay was provided by the Victorian Village Resort, but as always, I will share my honest opinion about any travel experiences I have.