Winter is a magical time of year in Elkhart Lake. Jingle bells in the crispy winter air, hearthside caroling, succulent holiday buffets and horse-drawn carriage rides through the village.
This is the type of holiday getaway that is conducive to doing absolutely na-da. Winter in Elkhart Lake is beautiful and peaceful. I snuggled into the plush accommodations and curled up in front of the roaring fireplace after a long soak in the whirlpool tub. With the amount of seasonal activities available, let’s go ahead and pretend that this lakeside resort has no TV, no WIFI and just the right necessities to keep you entertained, relaxed and rested.
To step outside onto the balcony on my first morning at Elkhart Lake was absolutely breathtaking. The entire resort was transformed into a winter wonderland – everything was covered with a white blanket of snow. This was my first time seeing snow and I couldn’t help taking a run through the courtyard and making my first snow angel. For a day of total relaxation, I spent the morning pampering myself at the full-service spa, Aspira, and cooking a French style Christmas dinner in the afternoon. December is filled with holiday activities at The Osthoff Resort with something for everyone to do.
WHERE TO STAY
The Osthoff Resort
The Osthoff Resort is a AAA Four Diamond premier vacation destination with 245 spacious suites, each featuring a kitchen, dining, living room, TV, fireplace and private balcony. The beautifully decorated and fully furnished suites will make you feel right at home! Resort amenities include cooking school, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, whirlpools, fitness centers and game room. The Osthoff Resort is situated lakeside with a clean, sandy beach and spectacular view of beautiful Elkhart Lake. It was voted as the #1 resort in the Midwest in 2012 by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine!
WHERE TO EAT
Serving fine American and Continental cuisine seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sunday breakfast buffet, complete adult and childrens menu, cocktail service, imported and domestic beer and wine list available.
Off The Rail
The bright red coffee shop offers breakfast, lunch, speciality coffee and tea drinks, wine and beer and homemade baked goods. So glad that we stopped by to grab a couple of sandwiches to eat on the plane!
Lake Street Cafe
An eclectic cafe serving California bistro-style fare and wood-fired pizzas, bread and desserts made from scratch. With Elkhart Lake’s largest bar selection, Lake Street Cafe also offers a variety of speciality beers. Order the ahi tuna salad and fried Brussels sprouts.
Back Porch Bistro
Quaint restaurant featuring a seasonal menu showcasing locally grown and homemade fare. Once a speakeasy during Prohibition, it now serves a seasonal menu of steak, fish, poultry, and pasta featuring artisanal cheeses and fresh homemade bread. With a cozy fireplace and twinkling Christmas trees, Backporch Bistro is the perfect place for dinner.
Enjoy panoramic views of Elkhart Lake for lunch or dinner. The eclectic menu created by the award-winning culinary team and the extensive wine choices, combined with the resort’s natural beauty and ambiance, create an exceptional casual dining experience. Try the soup trio and their delicious dessert selection.
WHAT TO DO
Enjoy a treatment at one of the Midwest’s premier spas, Aspira, meaning “infused with spirit,” takes a holistic and organic approach to the spa experience offering unique treatments in an environment dedicated to the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. A long soak in the bubbling whirlpools while watching the snow fall gently to the fall melted away my stress. The full-body Thai message induced relaxation, improved flexibility, relieved stress and back pain.
Old World Christmas Market
Experience the holiday “gemütlichkeit” of a traditional European Christmas Market, reminiscent of the centuries-old German Christkindlesmarkt. Beautiful European gifts, hand-carved wooden toys, blown-glass ornaments, homemade reindeer gloves (only $10!), real and fur hats (best investment piece in my closet). The sweet aroma of gingerbread, hot mulled wine, and roast bratwurst filled the crisp winter air as we strolled through the market. We stopped to take a photo in the snow with real reindeer! Admission: $6 for adults.
L’ecole de la Maison Cooking School
Feed your passion and enhance your basic culinary skills at the L’ecole de le Maison. The courses immerse you in a hands-on and interactive experience . Under the instruction of The Osthoff’s Chef Scott Baker, we learned how to create a traditional five-course French Christmas dinner featuring classic French onion au gratin, fennel and orange salad with Parmesan walnut crisp, French gougers, buche de noel, and more.
Elkhart Lake’s unique village shops
Elkhart Lake’s unique galleries and boutiques are within walking distance of The Osthoff Resort including Vintage Elkhart Lake, Nordic accents, Gina’s Specialty Gifts, Two Fish Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Nicola’s Gift Garden, Three Gables, Rhine Street and more.
Enjoy a Holiday Hayride on a horse-drawn wagon ride through the winding and snow covered roads of charming Elkhart Lake while singing Christmas carols. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at the hot cocoa bar upon returning to The Osthoff Resort.
Enjoy The Snow
Words cannot describe how happy I was to make my first snow angel.