Delafield Just Might be the Most Picture-perfect Small Town in Southeastern Wisconsin

A picture-perfect town, less than 30 miles from Downtown Milwaukee

If Delafield (pop. 7,494) looks like the storybook illustration of an idyllic village, there’s a reason: Between 1988 and 2005, the calendar and greeting-card magnate Bob Lang financed much of its development, transforming Delafield into a real-life version of one of the quaint villages depicted on his products. Time your visit with the Fall Art Walk (Sept. 21) and you’ll get a peek at Lake Country’s art scene as you’re shuttled around in a horse-drawn carriage. At the close of your day, fill up on gas at the Daybreak Mobil station, which sells Australian wagyu beef in its deli, believe it or not.

I.d. Bar & Restaurant

415 Genesee St.

At this jewel-toned, industrial-chic eatery, open since 2016 at the Delafiield Hotel, executive chef Joe Heppe whips up true farm-to-table dishes like Wisconsin summer thyme flatbread topped with Roth cheese and local mushrooms. Cocktails – sporting fun and sassy names (such as “A Sazerac, eh?”) – are worth a sip.

The Barn Owl

727 N. Genesee St

Score aromatic love letters to Wisconsin, such as an old-fashioned-scented candle (yep, like the cocktail) from Lake Effect Co., or South Street Soapworks’ beer soap. Greeting cards you won’t find anywhere else and cozy, patterned cardigans round out the stock.

Milwaukee Street Traders

523 Milwaukee St.

Four rooms at this coffee shop – where the sign behind the barista reads “Peace Love Coffee” – are filled with Tiffany-style chandeliers, Persian rugs, library tables, cushy sofas and wooden booths. And there’s far more than muffins and morning rolls on the menu.

Sally’s Sweet Shoppe Too

810 Genesee St.

You can find creatively flavored cupcakes – like Very Vanilla and Salted Caramel Pretzel – between the sky blue and bubble-gum-pink walls of this from-scratch bakery. Frosted cut-out cookies change with the seasons (pumpkins in fall, snowmen in winter).

Element Style Boutique

708 N. Genesee St.

Kick back on a plush mustard-yellow sofa at Lake Country’s version of Anthropologie while admiring plant-based dish soap and hand-painted dishes, or shop for flowy tops and wide-leg pants in fun prints.

Rickety Robin Antiques

703 Milwaukee St.

Delafield’s oldest antiques shop, which opened in 1978, is chock full of vintage treasures. Every item in the pretty blue house is procured by owners Julie and John Platz. Scoop up finds such as Red Wing pottery or a diamond-studded antique wristwatch.

Thinking of Moving?

Median Home Price: $410,951

14th best suburb to raise a family in Wisconsin in 2018

61.7 percent of residents own their own homes

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine),, and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.