Boat adds relaxing element to walking lake path
Lake Geneva Cruise Line offers several tour options for people walking the Geneva Lake Shore Path.
Tickets are a little more than $20 for most trips. Reservations are required.
Go to cruiselakegeneva.com or call (262) 248-6206 for more information.
FONTANA Kurt and Ginger Buehner want to walk all 21 miles of the Geneva Lake Shore Path all in one day sometime this month.
But the husband and wife hiking team also want to make sure they are prepared for the sometimes rugged and rolling terrain and the near-marathon distance.
The Buehners for almost a decade have walked sections of the path. But the couple this summer decided to set their sights on plodding the whole path, which winds around the expansive lake, through manicured lawns and past sprawling estates.
“We’ve been trying to get ourselves ready,” Ginger Buehner said. “We thought it would be a good idea to get a little bit better prepared, get our feet a little bit more acclimated.”
The Buehners have been walking sections of the path, between eight and 10 miles at a time, all summer. They’ve parked a car at the start in one of the towns around the lake, walked for a while and walked back to the car. They’ve also parked a car at the start in one town and another at the end in another town, walked back to the start and picked up the car at the end.
“We’ve done a lot of different things (to get to and from different spot along the path),” Ginger Buehner said. “It’s do-able, but it’s time intensive and awkward.”
But the Elkhorn couple recently discovered that they could eliminate much of the hassle of getting back and forth by taking a boat ride—and listening to a narrated tour of the lake and the landmarks and estates that border it—part of the way.
Harold Friestad, vice president and general manager of Lake Geneva Cruise Line, which operates several tours on Geneva Lake, said the cruise line is trying to help visitors get more out of their vacations and help residents explore their communities—along with trying to keep business fresh and viable.
“We’re always trying to think of new things, especially in this tight economy,” he said. “We want people to keep coming back. We have always tried to make it (Geneva Lake) a destination. … The more we can offer them, the easier we can make it to plan various activities, the better for us and for the whole area.”
Friestad said the cruise line has identified a handful of walking/boating tour combinations that encourage people to walk from community to community on the lakeshore path, eat and shop in a lakeside town and take a narrated boat tour of the lake.
He said the cruise line also is offering a season pass to allow people to give people an incentive to try several different tours throughout the year.
“It makes it much more attractive to do this walking and boating tour,” he said.
Friestad said the tour combinations are a hit and likely will continue to pick up as avid hikers head out to take in the bright fall colors and the crisp fall air.
The Buehners already have opted for a boat ride after their long walks a couple times.
The couple last week Monday walked 10 miles from Lake Geneva to Fontana. They averaged about 20 minutes a mile and stopped along the way to drink water and eat snacks they packed for the trek. They then took a boat back to the city and hear the history of the homes they saw up close.
“It was just great,” Ginger Buehner said. “It was a lovely day. We’ve done this route before, but it was definitely the most pleasant experience this time.
“It’s nice to walk half of it and catch the boat back. It’s sort of refreshing and relaxing.”
The couple believe they are ready to embark on the once-daunting, now-enticing 21-mile journey on the Geneva Lake Shore Path.
“We’re ready,” Ginger Buehner said. “We can probably do it now. We estimate it will take us between eight and 10 hours, but we’re ready. We’re looking forward to it.”