With a menagerie of performing animals in tow, circus pioneers Edmund and Jeremiah Mabie set up camp in the winter of 1847the year before Wisconsin became a statein the area now known as Delavan. Some of Americas earliest circus tents were first pitched along the forested lakeshore where Lake Lawn Resort stands today. Nestled amid 275 wooded acres overlooking Delavan Lake, the resort is situated within driving distance of Milwaukee and Chicago, but it affords a pleasant retreat from the pressures and shifty stoplights of the outside world.
The warm, wood-paneled confines of the cabin-style luxury lodge double-queen and king rooms complement the resorts woodsy surroundings. Crackling campfires and a heated indoor pool beckon after 18 holes on the Dick Nugentdesigned championship golf course tentatively set to open March 17. The lush course stretches along 250-tree-lined acres, navigable by carts equipped with GPS systems that calculate yardage and reveal pro tips on playing each hole. Should any balls hook into the drink, players can launch reconnaissance missions from pontoon boats rented at the resort's marina.
Lake Lawn Resorts two onsite restaurants represent two distinct styles: elegant and casual. Frontier Restaurant's Executive Chef David Ross artfully flame-grills steaks before sending his culinary creations to the crimson-tinged dining room, where each table offers a panoramic vista of Delavan Lake. At Lookout Bar & Eatery, you can watch sports on a 50-inch TV or catch rays on the terrace that hovers above the outdoor pool.
More than a century after it blossomed into a circus headquarters and hosted dozens of acts, including P.T. Barnum's legendary Greatest Show on Earth, the town of Delavan proudly exhibits its distinctive past. You can see tributes at Tower Park, where statues of circus animals such as a giraffe and an elephant savor their amnesty from mini-golf courses. Delavan's early days live on through Greek Revival architecture that dates back to the mid-1800s, including the Allyn Mansion and the Israel Stowell Temperance House, originally an alcohol-free safe haven that eventually served as a government meeting center.
Delavan's quaint downtown district, lined with old-fashioned lampposts and brick-paved walkways, boasts an assortment of antique stores and small cafes. Throughout the rest of the town, well-manicured parks and 13 miles of forested shoreline along Delavan Lake create a scenic backdrop for horseback rides, hiking, watersports, and composing haikus on the ground with leaves.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
Though Lake Lawn Resort sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
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