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My daughters, Lisa and Erin, took me overnight to the quaint, little town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to celebrate my big birthday. Since I am still recovering from pneumonia, we kept things fairly low-keyed. We spent the day relaxing at the pool and then went to The Baker House for dinner.

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Although the 17,000 square foot, 30-room Queen Anne Mansion was built in 1885, the decor is 1920s. Rich, dark woods, copper ceilings, and antique light fixtures adorn the opulent home.

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The wait staff and some of the diners can be seen wearing period clothing. Guests are welcome and encouraged to don the vintage hats that hang on the walls.

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Pre-prohibition cocktails and a limited but delicious menu is available. We had cheese fondue for an appetizer. Both of my daughters had pork tenderloin and potatoes, and I had honey mustard salmon with wild rice for dinner. Our waitress brought raspberry parfait for my birthday and we also ordered crème Brule. We were not disappointed. The food and atmosphere were so much more fun than an ordinary restaurant.

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The Baker House is listed in the National Register of Historic places under its original name, Redwood Cottage. The lakefront home was built by Emily Baker as a summer escape for her and her five children. It was later a sanitarium for wealthy Chicagoans suffering from minor emotional disorders and addictions, a speakeasy during prohibition, and a hotel and restaurant with various owners. The current owners purchased the home in 2010 and renamed it after Emily Baker. They consider it their residence as well as a hotel and restaurant.

The Baker House is located at 327 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva. http://www.bakerhouse1885.com, 262-248-4700.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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