I had never had the opportunity to enjoy an authentic English Tea experience until I visited the quaint, and welcoming little village of Elkhart Lake, in Wisconsin. The English ‘afternoon tea,’ sometimes referred to as ‘high tea,’ is a time filled with the sipping of fine teas, the sampling of tasty food items both savory and sweet, and the enjoyment of lively conversation with friends and new acquaintances.
Serious tea lovers may point out that, historically there is a bit of a difference between ‘afternoon tea’ and ‘high tea’ but, I was just happy to partake in this delightful English custom by whichever name it might be referred.
The village of Elkhart Lake, in Sheboygan County, is about an hour northwest of Milwaukee in eastern Wisconsin. Although the local number of permanent residents is small, only around 1,000, this charming and friendly little small-town hideaway is a hidden gem that attracts thousands of visitors each year. For over a century it has been enjoyed by those in the know who tend to return over and over, generation after generation, and season after season. Which season is the best? That would be a hard one to answer as I’m told all the seasons have something special going for them. If fewer people are what you’re looking for, the shoulder seasons are a fantastic time to visit.
The village is situated on the shores of Elkhart Lake. The lake, 292 acres and 120 feet deep of gin-clear, sandy-bottomed, spring-fed water is thought to have healing properties by the indigenous peoples of the area. It is one of the largest and deepest lakes in Wisconsin. Rich in natural beauty, the lake offers up a wide-range of water sports and recreational opportunities for visitors such as; boating, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and of course swimming and sunbathing.
There are plenty of other things to do while in Sheboygan County as well. You can get your speed-on with motorsports galore at Road America. Play golf at Quit Qui OC Golf Club. Tour Henning’s Cheese Factory famous for its award-winning cheeses. Stroll through art galleries and gift shops. Stop in for wine and beer tastings. There are many delicious dining opportunities. Take a hike on the Ice Age Trail or in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, or visit Henchel’s Indian Museum and Trout Farm, to mention a few other reasons to visit the area. Special events and activities are planned throughout the year by Elkhart Lake Tourism, so there’s always something going on around town. I’m told winter, and Christmas especially is a magical time in Elkhart Lake where they host the annual Old World Christmas Market.
The three lake-side resorts, The Osthoff, Siebkens, and Victorian Village, offer up fine dining, entertainment, and special events year-round. At the AAA four-Diamond Osthoff you and can spend time in their world-class Aspira Spa or slip on an apron and learn some new kitchen skills at the L`ecole de la Maison cooking school.
The lovely Jay Lee Inn Bed and Breakfast which hosted my afternoon tea adventure resides in a stately and gorgeous old Federal Style Victorian built in 1902. Current Innkeepers, Leo and Monica Lettow, purchased the property in December of 2006. They lovingly renovated and restored the property, and a year later in December of 2007, they welcomed their first overnight guests. The Lettow’s celebrated ten years of innkeeping in 2017. In addition to hosting the afternoon teas, the B & B also hosts bridal showers, sewing and scrapbooking retreats, and other special occasions.
The inn has seven comfortable, warm and welcoming, spacious guest rooms – Five with private baths. It has a large dining room and sitting room with a player piano for guests to enjoy. Monica goes all out with a full gourmet breakfast as well as at tea time.
You can special order breakfast items if you have special dietary needs. The cost for the afternoon tea is $25.00 per person, and it is by reservation only, with at least 48-hours-notice.
Like most of the lodging available in Elkhart Lake, you can park your car, and stroll around town. It is within walking distance of the lake as well as from shopping, art galleries and gift shops, fine and casual dining, wine tasting, and a nano brewery.
If You Go:
Room Rates: Peak Season Off Season
Jennifer $150.00 $110.00 (Can accommodate four guests)
Sarah $150.00 $110.00
Lloyd $225.00 $150.00
Matthew $115.00 $100.00
Rachel $115.00 $100.00
Abagayle $90.00 $85.00
Allison $100.00 $95.00
*Please note that these rates do not include Wisconsin sales tax or Elkhart Lake room tax.
Peak season in Elkhart Lake is May 1 thru September 30 so keep that in mind when planning your trip. A two-night minimum stay is required during these months. The Inn is a member of the Wisconsin B & B Association. The Lettow’s have a lovely, well-behaved boxer dog named Button but, if you are allergic or afraid of dogs, you may want to find other lodging while visiting Elkhart Lake.
All room rates based on single or double occupancy.
*Jennifer’s room can accommodate four guests. Each additional guest is $25.00 per day.
To confirm reservations, a deposit equivalent to a one-night stay, including all applicable tax, is required within seven days from the date the reservation is made.
If a reservation is canceled prior to seven days before the arrival date, a $50 reservation cancellation fee will apply. If canceled within seven days prior to arrival date, the deposit is forfeited for one night’s stay in the room(s) plus tax.
The Inn accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, debit card, check or cash.
Check-in time is 4:00 pm. They ask that you notify them if you plan to arrive after 7:00 pm.
Check-out time is 11:00 am.
For more information on the Jay Lee Inn or to make reservations visit: http://www.jayleeinn.com/, call (920) 876-2910, or e-mail: email@example.com. You can also book online using Webervations.
For more information on visiting the Elkhart Lake area and all it has to offer, go to: www.ELKHARTLAKE.COM, or call 877-355-4278.
For a visit to Henning's Wisconsin Cheese Factory, near Elkhart Lake, click on the Related Link, below.