The Osthoff, Elkhart Lake Wis­con­sin

The Osthoff

Taste & Travel - - Contents - by EARL BERNARD

GEN­ER­A­TIONS OF CHICAGOANS AND MILWAUKEANS have made Elkhart Lake a favourite week­end get­away thanks to clean beaches, lush IceAge-carved hik­ing trails and a tree-lined Vic­to­rian-era vil­lage set­ting. For rac­ing en­thu­si­asts from around the world, how­ever, it is best known for Road Amer­ica, a com­plex con­tain­ing a glob­ally tele­vised speedway, driv­ing school, go-carts and ac­tiv­i­ties. Within the vil­lage of Elkhart Lake, his­toric mark­ers trace the route of the Elkhart Lake Road Races, staged be­tween 1950 and 1952, which drew the great­est rac­ers of the era, mak­ing way for the con­struc­tion and 1955 open­ing of Road Amer­ica. IT IS NO SUR­PRISE auto race fans will be driven to stop in at many of the town's restau­rants, be­decked with fas­ci­nat­ing au­tore­lated mem­o­ra­bilia from the 60s and 70s. Beer lovers, mean­while, will take note of old ad­ver­tis­ing tins and posters re­veal­ing how Wis­con­sin's brews shaped Amer­i­can beer bar and pub cul­ture dur­ing the 20th cen­tury. Even with a bit of kitsch here and there, the tie that binds ho­tels and eater­ies in town is the food, which is uni­formly ex­cel­lent and built upon tra­di­tions brought to the Mid­west by Ger­man

im­mi­grants who in­tro­duced many of Amer­ica's favourite com­fort foods, from cheese, rye bread and bratwurst to beer and ale.

Three large and still in­de­pen­dently owned re­sorts, Vic­to­rian Vil­lage, Seibkens Re­sort and The Osthoff Re­sort, are col­lec­tively the de-facto liv­ing room and pa­tio for car con­nois­seurs com­ing to town for ma­jor races as well as ex­pan­sive gather­ings of Porsche and Fer­rari own­ers. The Osthoff Re­sort, how­ever, started ex­pand­ing the re­sort ex­pe­ri­ence about a decade ago in a solid ef­fort to make the hearts of gour­mands, lux­ury trav­ellers and beauty en­thu­si­asts race. This in­cludes the Aspira Spa, sev­eral on-prop­erty restau­rants, and cook­ing school L'Ecole de la Mai­son, spot­light­ing the bounty of the re­sort's gar­dens and indige­nous in­gre­di­ents that re­flect the Wis­con­sin-bred gen­eral man­ager Lola Roeh and ex­ec­u­tive chef Ben­jamin Som­mer­feldt's undy­ing love for their na­tive “Bad­ger State.”

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