Pathik and I got a nice opportunity to just get away for a 3-day weekend in early December. We had a deal from Bluegreen Resorts where if we listened to a 3 hour presentation on their points program (similar to time share) we could enjoy a hotel stay plus passes to some activity for $100. The deal was originally for 4 people, and we had been trying to schedule something for the fall season, but everything had always been booked so Pathik and I chose to use it ourselves for a spontaneous getaway. Our getaway couldn’t have come at a better time. I had been really stressed with starting my new job and attempting to manage household responsibilities now that my role as a student had been completed, and Pathik had just finished a gruelling first quarter of MBA school only to start another quarter more difficult than the first. The (ideal) plan had been for Pathik to finish his coursework by Friday of that weekend, but of course he didn’t end up doing that until Sunday night, and we were only there from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon. So, most of the trip was my exploring the hotel we were staying at, but we had a really fun Monday skiing and brunching at this charming vegan-friendly restaurant. Read on if you are vegetarian, you like hotels with hot tubs and indoor water parks attached, if you travel to the Dells with children in tow, and/or if you like skiing.
Chula Vista Resort- Wisconsin Dells
I have to say, Bluegreen Resorts does a great job of putting up their prospective clients in a nice place prior to the presentation. I guess the hotel is the company’s first impression before we go to the presentation, so it has to be good. Don’t get me wrong, we were definitely in the wing farthest from the indoor water park, but at least it was accessible via a long indoor tunnel/passageway connecting all the buildings. We stayed at the Chula Vista Resort. From the picture on the home page of their website, you can see that their indoor water park is quite amazing, completely equipped with 3-4 giant water slides, a baby pool with many umbrella fountains and mini-slides for the tots, a lazy river, an indoor hot tub with a 20-person (I think) capacity, and, my favorite, a pool area with 3 basketball hoops where older children were playing HORSE and something to the effect of a mix of water polo and basketball. It was a great place for adults and children alike, for a family to come with babes, young children, adolescents and elders in tow. I spent a good amount of time in their indoor hot tub…. when the steam got to be too much I just hopped onto the lazy river to get doused by cold waterfalls as I floated. The only (very slightly) annoying thing was that every time you passed underneath one of the slides, some water leaking from the giant tubes would drip onto you when you were least expecting it. I really wanted to go back to the pool and play HORSE ( I guess you could call it pool HORSE, even though it has nothing to do with billiards, ha) with Pathik but he was too busy to check out the indoor water park, and he really missed out. Aside from the indoor water park, there was an indoor arcade, and even several arcade machines (mostly the racing ones) lined along the walls in the hallways leading to the indoor waterpark. If the waterpark was closed, there was plenty with which children (or Pathik, if he had the time) could keep themselves busy. There were even Air Hockey tables! I guess you can tell what interests me. For adults, there was an outdoor hot tub open all night near the exit at the bar so adults could take drinks out to the water. I was there for most of the second night, but it was just me and my magazines as Pathik studied alone in our room. Yeah, he works hard.
Food at Chula Vista Resort
As I mentioned, the hotel has a nice sports bar open until 2am. Yes, they do virgin drinks here… not as cheap as Iowa but not as expensive as Miami (you’ll find out what I mean in the posts about our trips to those places). The only dining we did at the hotel was at Market Fresh Buffet since it seemed to have the most vegetarian options, and we wanted to explore other restaurants as well. Pathik had his favorite, pizza, and I had stir-fried veggies with pasta. The buffet turned out to be a good option to cater to both mine and Pathik’s taste.
The Cheesefactory Restaurant – Wisconsin Dells
We found the Cheese Factory Restaurant by good old-fashioned word of mouth, when we asked our Bluegreen resort tour guide, who is a native to the Dells, where to go for a vegan/vegetarian-friendly meal following the presentation. The signs posted outside the restaurant deem it “a charming little place,” and it is, truly. They have a special vegan menu, and even its staple menu items like the grilled cheese is uniquely amazing. Apparently, even Rachel Ray raves about the restaurant’s grilled cheese sandwhich, which Pathik will vouch for any day. I had the Grilled Veggie Boat, which was great mainly because of the Romesco sauce. I think I’ll be making this sauce at home someday (and posting about it, of course). However, the sauce also made the pita bread soggy, so next time I think I’ll just go for the Sunrise Skillet which is the same item without the pita bread. Their Espresso Bar has a nice variety of choices. I had the Black Forest Cafe, which was very similar in taste to the like-named cake. The essential flavors are raspberry and chocolate, and the best part about this espresso was the dark chocolate shavings on top of the whipped cream. Pathik had the Mulled Apple Cider, which was also very good. It had just a hint of citrus to it, which I thought was a nice touch. Along with menu variety, savory food and memorable drinks, the restaurant also offers hospitable service. Our waiter seemed to be one of the people who co-owned the place, so our experience was very much as if we went to a “mom-and-pop” place but with extra charm. He was very willing to ask the chef any questions we had regarding the menu and very forthcoming about different options we could mix and match in our meals. I’ll definitely be going back there again, and I’m quite disappointed there is no such restaurant in the Chicago-land area. I just saw when I visited their website that they have an Indian Special on Friday nights; if someone ever checks it out let us know how it is !