FOX 47 - Road Trippin'
GREEN LAKE- With winter fully set-in it's possible you're looking for a little fun, a quick trip to get out and enjoy the cold, snowy weather. Just about an hour and half northeast of
Green Lake is home to about 1000 year-round residents who know how fortunate they are to live in a quaint little town long loved by many
Looking across Green Lake in the winter you'd never know it's nearly 240 feet deep in places far below its frozen cap. The serenity of the lake in the middle of winter continues to draw people from all over the midwest for a little time away and a little step back in time.
Just a few minutes from the 27 miles of shoreline is Green Lake's two-block downtown area.
When you walk down main street Green Lake, it pretty much looks the same," Larry Behlen
Dartford Historical Society said. "It's kind of like stepping back in time because most of the buildings have been here at least 80 years and very had significant changes to the outside."
Green Lake was first known as Dartford, but it's name changed to reflect the railroad stop name.
Larry said tourists would come to the town for the summer breeze off the lake and stay for weeks at a time enjoying the summer water sports.
But the town also grew as a place to gather and to promote the arts. In 1910, the Thrasher Opera House helped put the town on the vaudeville circuit and attract local and regional artists.
Right before World War II two the Opera House closed and for the next six decades was used as a fabric factory and warehouse, falling into near disrepair.
A complete restoration project in 1994 gave the community back its hub for the arts and it's now a favorite stop for world-renowned musicians.
"Today we house everything from the school plays once again to world-renowned artists from blues and jazz to Cajun and Irish and everything in between and we have once again become a real anchor in the community, said Martha Janz, Thrasher Opera House."
As we turn back to serenity of the lakefront one of the original modern amenities that continues to draw thousands a year is the Heidel House settled right along the lake.
What was a family home for the Heidel family, then a popular restaurant, helped to quickly grow the town's reputation as a get-a-way locale. It first started on a snowy New Year's Eve in 1945.
"Guests in the restaurant would get snowed in and they would stay in the rooms upstairs, then they got this kinda of bed and breakfast idea, and in 1958 they added their first guest room, Michelle van Kirk, Heidel House said.
Fire burned the original home in 1989 and the new main lodge was built. A recently added world-class spa welcomes guests year-round.
I think it once they come, they just love it, said van Kirk. They love the relaxation they get they love how quiet and peaceful it can be. It's like you can have the business if you want to come during one of the events, or if can come during the week and get some much needed quiet time away from the business of the city."
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