Thursday, March 21, 2013

Timber Ridge Resort Lake Geneva, WI

I've run my mouth a lot in the past about our less than ideal allergy experiences at various restaurants (I'm talking to you, Bahama Breeze!) but after a recent visit to Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark in Lake Geneva, WI, it's time for a big shout out. Thanks, Timber Ridge, for taking food allergies seriously and making our celebration of Bean and Roo's 5th birthday so much fun!
I'm 5!

Dealing with food allergies, there's not much worse than being far from home, starving, without an Enjoy Life Chewy Bar in the backpack, faced with the dire prospect of eating at a restaurant where the apathetic staff feigns knowledge and wishes you would just leave. We've been there time and again. Thankfully, Timber Ridge Resort is a different animal.

First and foremost, Timber Ridge Resort rooms have kitchens. Full kitchens!! Note there are no ovens, which could complicate some tasks (like baking a birthday cake for instance) but there is a full size refrigerator, stove top, microwave, coffeemaker, blender, toaster, sink, dishwasher, basic pots, pans, and dishes in each and every room. With Roo's allergies, this is a godsend for us, but having a kitchen at your disposal can only simplify the lives of anyone traveling with kids, allergies or not. 

Despite the kitchen, we ate at Smokey's Bar-B-Que House and the Hungry Moose Food Court at Timber Ridge over the course of our stay and were pleasantly surprised by the staff's accommodation of allergies at both restaurants.

Smokey's offers a binder filled with ingredient lists for every item on their menu. When I asked about food allergies, the hostess was eager to help me find the answers we needed. She didn't pretend to know whether or not there are eggs in the macaroni or if the french fries are fried in peanut oil but she knew exactly how to find out and was happy to do so. Having that peace of mind allowed us to focus on what we were really there for...water park!

Not to be misconstrued, my enthusiasm over the Timber Ridge restaurant scene has far more to do with addressing allergy concerns than gourmet meals. These are not 5-star restaurants by any stretch and that's totally okay with me. If you are in the market for something more refined, however, Timber Ridge sits on the grounds of the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, which has several restaurants of its own. A free shuttle runs every few minutes between the resorts.

We had Sunday brunch at the casual Grand Cafe at the Grand Geneva and found the staff to be just as friendly and accommodating of food allergies as they were at Timber Ridge. Our waiter wasn't troubled in the least by my slew of questions and spoke to the kitchen to find all the answers we needed. Bean and Roo even got coloring books to take home in honor of their birthday.

For special celebrations it appears you can coordinate with the resort to have festive signs, balloons, and probably ponies and princesses set up in your room upon arrival. I am a bad mother and coordinated no such thing. Thankfully the water park and an ice cream breakfast were enough for Bean and Roo, despite the many other birthday kiddos we saw celebrating in full regalia.
Happy birthday, 5-year-old!

The resort is not perfect. The water park is a bit small compared to others we've visited and I fear we're on the verge of outgrowing it but overall, it was a great way to spend a 5th birthday. Everyone we encountered on staff from the water park to the arcade to the trolley driver were pleasant and helpful. The resort is not luxurious but it is well-equipped and very family-friendly. Best of all, Mufasa and I were able to relax and enjoy the trip without having to stress over where Roo's next meal would come from.

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