By Katie Wood
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that captures the feel of a quintessential winter wonderland, look no further than Wisconsin’s charming resort town of Elkhart Lake. With amenities for the whole family—from horse-drawn wagon rides and plentiful shopping to exquisite dining and lodging options—it will be hard to leave this cozy respite.
Recently ranked in the top five among all Midwest resorts by the readers of
Condé Nast Traveler magazine, the AAA Four Diamond Osthoff Resort sits at the entrance of the quaint community and is the largest of three resorts that share the area. The Osthoff is considered a Wisconsin tourist landmark, and is known for its stunning lakeshore setting, distinctive architecture with lake-view porches, spacious suites, and award-winning Aspira Spa.
Foodies will enjoy the L’ecole de la Maison Cooking School within the Osthoff Resort, which provides hands-on training from a classically French-trained chef. Attendees can expect to prepare a wide selection of dishes, from seasonal soups to a traditional French Christmas dinner complete with a Bûche de Noël.
Aspira Spa is a beautiful, organically designed spa where whole-body healing is key. An expansive meditation room is designed to awaken your senses through five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The spa services, which include facials, massage, and hydrotherapy, embrace the healing powers of the area—even the Sacred Waters Massage utilizes warm lake water.
During the holiday season, events about town cater to all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking for a breakfast with Santa, Christmas shopping, or a holiday workshop, families are sure to create lasting memories in Elkhart Lake. And for a classic winter treat, grab your coat and don your mittens for a horse-drawn sleigh ride around town while singing traditional holiday tunes. Then, warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Plan next year’s holiday trip to Elkhart Lake. Visit the Old World Christmas Market, a tribute to the Christkindlesmarkt of Nuremberg, Germany. For 10 days, local vendors as well as international vendors from as far away as Russia, Germany, and Sweden sell their wares, food, and baubles to the crowds. Eat traditional German fare like bratwurst, sauerbraten, Wiener schnitzel, and latkes while enjoying a German brew. Market favorites include handmade glass-blown ornaments, fur hats, authentic nutcrackers, nesting dolls, and fine chocolate.
For more information on the Elkhart Lake area, visit
What to do:
Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese
L’ecole de la Maison Cooking School
Old World Christmas Market
Two Fish Gallery
Where to Eat:
Lola’s on the Lake
Lake Street Café
Off the Rail Café
Where to Stay:
Victorian Village Resort