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Old 01-30-2021, 11:31 PM   #21
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We loved Lake Michigan for the 26 years we lived near Chicago. I take it you want a small inland lake. Madison is a nice city between two small lakes. Door County was our favorite place to visit in WI.
Chigago boy originally, also have family in central Wis, Madison & Door County are great suggestions.
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Old 01-31-2021, 07:13 AM   #22
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If you are looking for a small inland lake look at Big Cedar Lake or Little Cedar Lake in the West Bend-Hartford area. 20 or so miles to Milwaukee.
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Old 01-31-2021, 10:23 AM   #23
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Some residents tried to get the path closed because it goes across some of their front property. That was unsuccessful as I remember because there needs to be a public right of way around the lake. We have walked on the path many times. Most homes sit so far back you never see or come close to the residents. When I took the tour on Catalina Island in California Wrigley’s also owned s house there.
One of my ex-bosses lived on the west end of the lake at Fontana-on-Geneva-Lake, the only town in Wisconsin that I know of with a hyphenated name, let alone three hyphens. He had us out to his place a time or two. It wasn't the Wrigley mansion but it was nice.
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Old 01-31-2021, 11:58 AM   #24
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I fish on Lake Geneva a good bit, but wouldn't if I had a better choice close enough for day trips. It's packed with boats every Saturday and Sunday and crowded on other days. And traffic getting through town is horrible.
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Old 01-31-2021, 12:17 PM   #25
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Geneva would put the OP close to Chicago but pretty far from Minneapolis. Same with the Cedar Lakes, although there's some nice, reasonably priced housing nearby. Maybe they could catch the Amtrak Empire Builder to the Twin Cities out of Milwaukee.

Some vacation/retirement housing is available on Castle Rock Lake (Wisconsin River flowage) near Mauston that would be more centrally located. But that area is so flat, and I don't find Mauston too charming. My cousin had to relocate to the area for work, and as soon as he retired he moved back to Iowa. Considering that the OP wants to get OUT of Iowa, my cousin's experience might raise a red flag!
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Old 01-31-2021, 12:21 PM   #26
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I fish on Lake Geneva a good bit, but wouldn't if I had a better choice close enough for day trips. It's packed with boats every Saturday and Sunday and crowded on other days. And traffic getting through town is horrible.
All the lakes within day-trip distance of Chicagoland get a workout. I drive through Fox Lake and the Chain of Lakes areas and often marvel at the weekend traffic.

Have you been up to Lake Koshkonong near Fort Atkinson? The new 4-lane highway from Janesville might put it within your reach.
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Old 01-31-2021, 12:35 PM   #27
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... marvel at the weekend traffic. ...
Years ago we were returning from Ohio on I94 on Thanksgiving Sunday. The stop & go traffic jam southbound started at Tomah.
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Old 01-31-2021, 12:56 PM   #28
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I live in Minneapolis. In the summer, many of the cabin owners head out of town to their cabins for the weekend starting early Friday afternoon, and return late Sunday afternoon.
My cabin is an hour and twenty minutes away with no traffic, but it takes an additional 40 minutes if I travel during those times.
The pleasures of retirement. I just go when I want, but not during those time periods. No problem.
The lake traffic basically drops to almost nothing on non-weekends starting Sunday afternoon.
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Years ago we were returning from Ohio on I94 on Thanksgiving Sunday. The stop & go traffic jam southbound started at Tomah.
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Old 01-31-2021, 01:20 PM   #29
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Like many Chicago folk, we vacationed at a cottage on Lake Geneva when I was growing up. Fond memories. I wonder if the Lady of the Lake mail boat is still running.
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Old 01-31-2021, 01:22 PM   #30
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All the lakes within day-trip distance of Chicagoland get a workout. I drive through Fox Lake and the Chain of Lakes areas and often marvel at the weekend traffic.

Have you been up to Lake Koshkonong near Fort Atkinson? The new 4-lane highway from Janesville might put it within your reach.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give that a look. I have an 18 foot bass boat and regularly have waves come over the bow when I stay too long at Lake Geneva. I catch a lot of fish, but it's not very relaxing.
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Old 01-31-2021, 02:36 PM   #31
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I live in Minneapolis. In the summer, many of the cabin owners head out of town to their cabins for the weekend starting early Friday afternoon, and return late Sunday afternoon.
My cabin is an hour and twenty minutes away with no traffic, but it takes an additional 40 minutes if I travel during those times.
The pleasures of retirement. I just go when I want, but not during those time periods. No problem.
The lake traffic basically drops to almost nothing on non-weekends starting Sunday afternoon.
My DW, also a retired newspaper journalist, got her first reporting job at the Polk County Ledger in Balsam Lake. I think it's one of those rustic getaways favored in the Twin Cities. We always talk about making a run up there to see how things have changed in (egad) 43 years.
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Old 01-31-2021, 05:01 PM   #32
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There are so many great suggestions here. I am going to start my list and we will visit lakes in the area! We really like to relax on the lake....not be stressed due to lake traffic.

I really appreciate all of the advise! This is a great start for me!
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Old 01-31-2021, 06:50 PM   #33
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FFC,
The highlight of my summer is very silly.
I go to my cabin, hop into the boat, and head to a small bay nearby. It is protected from the wind, so typically calm.
The water is deep, and there are seldom any other boats.
I anchor, crack open a beer, sit a few minutes to warm up, and dive in.
If the water is warm, I sit on a floatie. If not, I hang out on the boat between dives.
A simple pleasure. Stress floats away.
I can't wait.
Take care, JP
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There are so many great suggestions here. I am going to start my list and we will visit lakes in the area! We really like to relax on the lake....not be stressed due to lake traffic.

I really appreciate all of the advise! This is a great start for me!
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Old 02-01-2021, 01:06 PM   #34
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JP.mpls, you are speaking my language!
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