Set on the pristine shores of Lake Como—just a mile from Lake Geneva—the century-old French Country Inn boasts exquisite architecture; the resort’s buildings were transported from Chicago after being featured at the Danish Pavilion during the 1893 Columbian Exhibition.
The inn has a colorful history. It served as a discreet getaway during the height of Prohibition for gangsters such as Bugs Moran and Baby Face Nelson, who holed up at the hotel and partied in the basement speakeasy. These real-life gangster stories inspired the innkeeper's murder-mystery novel, Murder at the French Country Inn, released in 2012.
Each standard room is outfitted with a fireplace and a private balcony that overlooks Lake Como.
In the morning, the innkeepers lay out a breakfast spread in the lakeside dining room. Each afternoon, guests can enjoy complimentary tea and sherry in the parlor.
Nearby, downtown Lake Geneva features quaint streets lined with antiques stores, art galleries, and curio shops.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: Lakeside Mansions and Historical Museums
Located within 90 miles of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison, Lake Geneva has become one of the Midwest’s most popular destinations for recreation. Geneva Lake⎯a gaping gulf of fresh water ripe for swimming, leisurely sails, water skiing, and tubing⎯is the resort town’s biggest draw in the summer. Admire the scenery by taking a stroll on the Geneva Lake Shore Path, a 21-mile walkway planned by early settlers that stretches around the entire lake. Along the way, you’ll pass expansive gardens and the opulent estates that helped the town earn the nickname “Newport of the West.”
In the winter, outdoor activities range from sledding and cross-country skiing in Big Foot Beach State Park to ice-fishing on Geneva Lake. There's also plenty to do indoors. The Geneva Lake Museum takes visitors back in time with re-created late 19th- and early 20th-century shops, and the 1897-era Yerkes Observatory is home to the world's largest refracting telescope.