80 miles from Chicago, and less than 50 from Milwaukee, Lake Geneva is a popular Midwest vacation destination. While the homes on the lakefront may sell for millions of dollars, the town maintains an unpretentious, friendly attitude. There are several public beaches and boat rental vendors, ensuring that even those who aren’t descendants of the mega-rich can enjoy a summer out on the water.
To learn more about the history of Lake Geneva and the families that made the area a premier vacation destination in the mid 20th century, take a two-hour boat tour of the lake. All of the boat tours are informative and entertaining, but none more so than the mailboat tours. Held every morning at 10am from June to October, the tours allow guests to go along on a mail delivery run with the “mail girls” of Lake Geneva.
The mail girls (though, there are, very rarely, a few young men who get the job) have a very challenging job. They need to jump off the boat onto the dock, run to the mailbox, grab the outgoing mail and deliver the incoming mail, and run back down the dock to the boat , which never stops moving! It’s a physical challenge and more than one mail girl has literally “missed the boat” and fallen into the water over the years. But that just makes it all the more exciting for the passengers.
The boat tours go beyond just showmanship though. Along the route, the boat captain and the mail girls offer informative and entertaining commentary on the history of Lake Geneva. They’ll also point out some of the more impressive mansions on the lakefront, giving a detailed history of each one.
Mailboat tours last around two and a half hours and cost $27 for adults. There are other tours available, like a sundown cruise, brunch or lunch cruise, ice-cream social cruise, and a jazz dinner cruise. Tours depart from the Riviera Docks in Lake Geneva and begin operation in mid-April.
Photo credit: opacity via Flickr