Check out these unique destinations that reflect the genuine character of our region.
Fish Fry in the Park Mural
Geneva Post Office, 26 S. Third St., Geneva
Artist Manuel Bromberg was just 23 years old when he received a contract to paint a mural at the Geneva Post Office. It was part of a New Deal program that helped to employ American artists by commissioning their works at post offices across the country.
In developing his work, Bromberg turned to the city’s rich heritage for inspiration. He walked through Island Park, on the Fox River, and was captivated by the sight of picnickers gathered together. He spent his afternoon sketching the many kinds of people he saw: friends, strangers and even babies.
To paint his mural, Bromberg used egg whites mixed with pigments. Over the course of eight months, he used some 200 eggs to complete the mural – the third commission he received under the New Deal program.
There was very little fanfare when Bromberg hung his final project at the Post Office in 1940.
Nearly 80 years later, on March 6, 2019, the artist’s 102nd birthday, the City of Geneva rededicated the mural. It now hangs inside the lobby and can be viewed by the public during post office hours.
Muffler Man and Bessie the Cow
14245 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville, (847)-362-4636, lambsfarm.org
Drive past this farm off Illinois Route 176 and Interstate 94 and you might spy a glimpse of a giant Paul Bunyan and his trusted, oversized pal, Babe.
Known to locals as “Muffler Man” and “Bessie the Cow,” these towering fiberglass statues are a prime photo spot for families visiting Lambs Farm, a nonprofit organization for people with developmental disabilities.
The property started as a pet shop in 1961. Today, it includes private residences as well as a cafe, country store, bakery, thrift shop and the farmyard where the 15-foot Muffler Man and Bessie stand. The stores and restaurants are open to the public, and you might see some of the farm’s residents on-site as they develop their vocational skills.
The exact age of Muffler Man and Bessie is unknown, although Lambs Farm staff estimate they’ve been on display since the 1970s or 80s.
“Both of those are probably one of our more popular photo opportunities,” says Marisa Rademaker, marketing and communications manager at Lambs Farm.
Lake Geneva Ghost Walks
515 Baker St., Lake Geneva, Wis., (833) 446-7813, americanghostwalks.com
Take a step into local history on this tour as you enjoy some spooky ghost tales about Lake Geneva.
The 90-minute tour goes around downtown and shares some of the ghostly activities purported to happen here during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Stories include ghost tales and urban legends.
“We went to some of the old houses and businesses downtown asking if their employees have experienced anything, and a lot of people said some weird stuff has been happening,” says Mike Huberty, owner and tour guide at American Ghost Walks.
Passing the Baker House, the tour host explores who built the beautiful old mansion, what its history tells us, and the frightening ghost encounters people claim to have experienced. At Library Park, learn about the woman in black.
“We say who we think she might be, and we tie her into the city’s history,” Huberty says. “We want to share the history of the town and people’s experiences.”
The tour happens each Friday and Saturday through Halloween and is generally family-friendly, although it’s probably more interesting to children who enjoy history. Tours start at Seminary Park, at the corner of Baker Street and Lake Shore Drive, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Call ahead for tickets and dress appropriately for the weather.