All posts by Keefe Real Estate

Restaurant Week | Dine in Lake Geneva for a Great Cause

Lake Geneva, WI (April 24, 2017) – Lake Geneva Restaurant Week is back to help you kick off your summer with ten days of delicious dining.  This year’s foodie-favorite event, held June 2 – 11, offers the opportunity to get together with family and friends to dine out and indulge.  Diners are guaranteed their appetites will be whet and cravings will be met with participating restaurants serving special prix-fixe meals for breakfast at $8, two-course meals for $10 at lunch and three-course meals for $25 or $35 at dinner. With twenty-five participating restaurants, there will be plenty of options for food and libations to combine with a long list of indoor and outdoor activities and events held during Restaurant Week.

LG Restaurant Week Contest

Follow these tips to get the most out of Lake Geneva Restaurant Week:

Spice it Up

More than two dozen restaurants throughout the Lake Geneva area are participating in Lake Geneva Restaurant Week. So celebrate the areas talented chefs and try something new. Chefs will be offering popular menu items as well as creating new culinary delights to enjoy. Between meals, participate in some of the events offered during Restaurant Week including oil and balsamic tastings, cooking classes, escape room mysteries, zip line and dine, golf, live music, and more.

Share the Experience

The only thing that makes a delicious meal better is sharing it with the special people in your life. Lake Geneva Restaurant Week is the perfect time to connect with old and new friends and family.

Pick Your View

From restaurants set in luxury resorts to those overlooking the lake to those in the walkable downtown area and everything in between, the choice is yours when it comes to view and ambiance. Check the detailed list of participating restaurants and their menus for a variety of fine dining, family friendly, bistros, and pub and grill options.

Plan Ahead

Reservations are highly encouraged as this event attracts thousands of residents and visitors. Some restaurants will take reservations by phone, website and OpenTable, whereas others do not take advance reservations. Details are available in the restaurant profiles on the Restaurant Week website.

Stay for a Night or Two

Several area resorts and hotels are offering special packages that include savings or extra amenities during your Restaurant Week stay. This is a reason for a long weekend or arrive mid-week for less competition for your restaurant reservations.

Support Your Favorite Cause

Lake Geneva Restaurant Week features a unique charitable aspect to the dining experience, the Charity Check, which allows you to vote for a participating charity to receive a $5,000 donation. So at the end of each meal, cast your ballot to support your favorite cause. Sponsored by Lake Geneva Country Meats, this year’s non-profit organizations are Black Point Estate & Gardens, Lakeland Animal Shelter, Lake Geneva Youth Camp, Never Say Never, Side by Side, and United Way of Walworth County.

For more information on the delicious Lake Geneva Restaurant Week or help planning your getaway, call (800) 345-1020 or go to

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About Lake Geneva

Situated on the shores of Geneva Lake in southeast Wisconsin, the Lake Geneva area is a four-season recreation, resort and meeting destination easily accessed from Chicago and Milwaukee. Steeped in rich history, the area is known for its beautiful estates built by Chicago notables after the Great Chicago Fire. Many of these early mansions, and newer modern homes, can be viewed by walking along the areas one-of-a-kind, 21-mile Geneva Lake Shore Path.

Those who escape to the Lake Geneva area find pristine surroundings in every season and a wealth of leisure activities including three season golfing, on the water options, spas, boutique shopping, events and entertainment. From luxury resorts to quaint bed and breakfasts and plenty of dining choices, there are options to fit the needs of every type of visitor. Plan your visit by calling (800) 345-1020, visiting or by downloading the VISIT Lake Geneva app.

About VISIT Lake Geneva

The official Chamber of Commerce and destination marketing organization for the Lake Geneva area, VISIT Lake Geneva promotes the economic development of the area by increasing visits from tourists and business travelers, which generates overnight lodging and increases customer traffic for restaurants, retail, attractions and events. VISIT Lake Geneva provides meeting and event support and increases the visibility of the area via and the Official Lake Geneva Visitors Magazine. A non-profit, VISIT Lake Geneva is funded through a combination of room tax, partnership dues, grants, sponsorship and advertising co-ops.

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Keefe Real Estate is a proud sponsor of Lake Geneva Restaurant Week.

Music by the Lake | 2017 Schedule


WILLIAMS BAY, Wis. — Outdoor summer entertainment venue Music by the Lake, presented by George Williams College of Aurora University, announces its 17th annual season presenting artist debuts and a range of musical genres and shows, including orchestral music, contemporary and nostalgic pop/rock, country and jazz. The summer series, which includes weekend events from June 25 through August 13, features events for all generations to enjoy.

Tickets for all events are on sale! Patrons can purchase their tickets at or by contacting the Music by the Lake ticket office at 262-245-8501. Music by the Lake does not charge a service fee on ticket orders.



Singer, composer and actor, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band will perform on the pavilion stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5. Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums over three decades. With his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician blends elements of Americana, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Whether touring as a “Duo,” with his “Acoustic Group” or with “The Large Band,” Lovett’s live performances show not only the breadth of this Texas legend’s deep talents but also the diversity of his influences, making him one of the most compelling and captivating musicians in popular music. Since his self-titled debut in 1986, Lovett has evolved into one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. The winner of four Grammy Awards, Lovett also received the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award and was named Texas State Musician. His works, rich and eclectic, are some of the most beloved of any artist working today.


Classic rock band America, who continues to thrill audiences with timeless sounds on cornerstone hits, takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 8. With the release of the band’s signature 1971 hit “Horse with No Name,” the group catapulted to the top of the international charts. America recorded six gold and platinum records, and produced a string of unforgettable tunes that still grace the airwaves, among them “Ventura Highway,” “Tin Man” and “Sister Golden Hair,” as well as 1982’s pop toe-tapper “You Can do Magic.” From its earliest years, America has transcended borders with its uplifting music and positive message. Embracing a rainbow of divergent cultures, the band’s audiences continue to grow, comprising a loyal legion of first-, second- and third- generation fans, all bearing testament to the group’s enduring appeal.



At 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, Preservation Hall Jazz Band transports the art form of New Orleans-style jazz to Music by the Lake. Since 1961, the group has been promoting traditional New Orleans jazz in all its authenticity and enthralling audiences worldwide. The ensemble derives its name from the venerable music venue located in the heart of the French Quarter. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British royalty or the king of Thailand, the band embodies a joyful, timeless spirit. Under the auspices of current director Ben Jaffe, the son of founders Allan and Sandra, Preservation Hall continues with a deep reverence and consciousness of its greatest attributes in the modern day as a venue, band and record label. Many of the band’s charter members performed with the pioneers who invented jazz in the early 20th century, including Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Bunk Johnson. Today, Jaffe is incorporating new blood into the touring band, bringing in some younger players with fresh musical ideas and to form collaborations with groups and musicians from outside the New Orleans tradition, such as My Morning Jacket, Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, Pete Seeger and the Del McCoury Bluegrass Band. Their latest studio album, “So It Is,” heavily influenced by the group’s 2015 trip to Cuba, will be released this April.



The Chicago Philharmonic under the baton of Artistic Director Scott Speck, returns after a triumphant Music by the Lake debut last summer to perform a program of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin classic melodies at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 12. The performance features pianist Joseph Joubert and Broadway vocalists, and will include Gershwin and Berlin favorites such as “The Man I Love,” “American in Paris,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” “Summertime,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Swanee” and more. “One of the country’s finest symphonic orchestras,” (Chicago Tribune), the Chicago Philharmonic is a collective of more than 200 musicians of the highest-level performing in the Chicago area today. Joseph Joubert has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, with numerous American symphonies, and abroad at The International Festival of Two Worlds. On Broadway, he conducted “Motown the Musical” and was the assistant conductor for
“Billy Elliot” and “The Color Purple.” The son of immigrants who left school at 15 to play piano professionally, George Gershwin made an indelible mark on American music during the 20th century. From his early success as a popular songwriter (with older brother Ira) to his enduring orchestral masterpieces Gershwin continually challenged himself and his art to produce some of the most memorable and beloved works. Irving Berlin’s music served as a social barometer for much of the 20th century: It marched to war with soldiers, offered hope and inspiration to a nation in bleak times, and rejoiced in the good things embodied in the American way of life. It also provided anthems for American culture in such standards as “White Christmas,” “God Bless America” and “There’s No Business like Show Business.”


With their blend of classical music and contemporary pop, The Tenors have thrilled audiences around the world, performing shows on five continents since first taking the stage in Canada in 2008. The trio brings their undeniable charm and outstanding harmonies to Music by the Lake at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 22. The multi-platinum selling trio has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music — including Paul McCartney, Elton John and Andrea Bocelli — in venues from Bangkok to London, and New York to Israel. Hailed as musical ambassadors and one of Canada’s national treasure, they have performed for many world leaders, including the last four U.S. presidents and Queen Elizabeth.


Geneva Lake turns into Bear Country at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, when everyone’s favorite furry family visits the Ferro Pavilion. The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in “Family Matters, the Musical” takes audiences on an adventure, expressed through song and dance, to learn important life lessons. Entertainment for mamas, papas and young cubs of all ages, this live musical production uses the iconic stories and imagery of the books beloved by so many since they were published in 1962.


The popular, enriching and educational event series Sundays at 4 will now be offered throughout the calendar year, kicking off this summer with events in from June to August. For the past two years this series has connected the community through a journey of special presentations, concerts and lectures, featuring today’s leaders in arts and ideas sharing their thoughts and talents. The Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra kicks off the Sundays at 4 series returning to the Ferro Pavilion at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, in a celebration of American music. The program features works written by popular 20th-century American composers, such as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, John Williams and Duke Ellington, as well as patriotic tunes. Now in its 17th season, the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director David Anderson, boasts talented musicians from southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Speaker Richard Louv shares research confirming the importance of nature in our lives at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 23. Louv is a journalist and author of nine books, including most recently “Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness” and New York Times best-seller “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” He is cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network and serves as honorary cochair of Canada’s Child in Nature Alliance. As a journalist and commentator, he has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Times of London, San Diego Union-Tribune and Parents magazine, and has also appeared on “Today,” “CBS Evening News” and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” This event is free, but tickets are required. Ray LaHood, former U.S. transportation secretary and congressman from Illinois, discusses his recently published memoirs, “Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics” at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13. With a 36-year career in public service, he has extensive experience on major national policy issues, including transportation and infrastructure. LaHood served as the nation’s secretary of transportation under President Obama from 2009 to 2013 and quickly became known as a bipartisan leader and skilled conciliator in a highly partisan environment. His tenure was marked by landmark efforts to improve safety in every mode of transportation, from aviation and rail to pipelines and automobiles. From 1995 to 2009 he served in the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the 18th District of Illinois. This event is free, but tickets are required.


All events are located in the Ferro Pavilion on the campus of George Williams College of Aurora University (GWC) in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Performances take place rain or shine. Free parking and shuttle service for all events is located close to campus at Williams Bay High School at 500 W. Geneva St., in Williams Bay. GWC is just seven miles from downtown Lake Geneva.

View Schedule of Events


The Music by the Lake festival appeals to music lovers of all ages, weaving together engaging events and breathtaking natural beauty, offering an unparalleled outdoor summer experience. The open-air setting of the Ferro Pavilion, which expands to pristine lawn picnic areas, takes patrons on a journey of sight and sound on Wisconsin’s Geneva Lake. Summer concerts offered on the campus of George Williams College of Aurora University (GWC) feature big band, family programming, classical, musical theatre and contemporary entertainment. Music by the Lake is part of GWC’s ongoing commitment to year-round cultural presentations, connecting campus and community. Visit for more information. George Williams College was founded in 1884 by YMCA leaders who sought to educate students for lives of service, with a focus on body, mind and spirit. Today, GWC operates as a campus of Aurora University, offering undergraduate and graduate programs. GWC’s degree programs are fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through Aurora University. Visit for more information.

Keefe Real Estate proudly sponsors and supports Music by the Lake. See you this summer for the show!

Lake & Country | A Farmland Oasis

A look into the home and life of Oprah’s former hairstylist, Andre Walker & partner David Simmons’ country estate.

By: Julie Morse

An oasis of comfort and beauty arises from a rolling expanse of cropland in bucolic East Troy, Wisconsin – a one-of-a-kind country home that reflects its owners’ deep love of both design and nature.

Originally created eighteen years ago as a restful escape from a high-octane life of international celebrity and glamour since one of the owners was Oprah Winfrey’s personal stylist for twenty-five years and both are internationally-known design experts — the fabulous 5,000 square foot custom home is now their primary residence.  Amidst these beautiful surroundings, the two work and thrive as successful global businessmen and also local farm owners.d

“This land, this community, stole our hearts.  The home is True North for us,” said Andrew Walker, whose work with Oprah won him 7 Emmy Awards for hairstyling, among other accolades in fashion and design.


Walker is now the owner and founder of the highly successful line of hair care products, which bears his name.  (Andre Walker Hair products are available locally at Target and Sally’s Beauty Supply stores, among other locations worldwide.) . His partner, David Simmons, is a design and renovation expert with a background in the luxury hotelier business.  Together, they have formed Walker Simmons Design, serving clients near and far.  While the larger business operations are based in California, the two are usually able to telecommute locally from their favorite executive office – the one that looks out on the one-of-a-kind “farm” they have created on a sixty acres of Southeastern Wisconsin land.

“It was February when I first saw this property, raw farmland on a cold bleak day, but it immediately resonated with me for its terrain and its panoramic views of the countryside…Andrew was in California at the time, but he trusted my gut.  We never looked back,” said David.

Andre Land

In fact, the two looked boldly forward, with a design vision equal to their deep appreciation to the land and its history.

Their sixty-acre homestead was once part of a much larger farm.  The original weathered barn and vintage farmhouse still stand sentry to the north of the long, winding private drive that now leads through trees and fields to their inviting new home.  Inspired by the serene historic beauty of the English Cotswold’s, and deftly meshed with more modern influences, the designer’s country house is simply stunning.  Superbly sited on a gentle rise of rolling land with sweeping nature views, the ultra-private retreat is surrounded by old hardwood forest, meadows, an apple and peach orchard, flower beds, organic vegetable gardens, water elements and native perennial landscapes worthy of an arboretum.  This heavenly homesite, encompassing about ten acres of grounds, is further encircled by about fifty acres of cropland, which the owners continue to farm for corn and soybeans.

Andre Home

From inside the house, grand tall-windowed views showcase the many awe-inspiring landscapes, hardscapes and garden areas that have been carefully crafted around the home.  These in turn give way to the larger outdoor views of open countryside, forest and farmland.

The home itself, designed by noted Miami architect Peter Hawrylewicz, is an extraordinary as its surroundings.  A bluestone walk leads up to the welcoming residence, its clean and classic architectural lines enhanced further by an open-air, pillared porch extraordinaire, offering panoramic views of natural vistas and sensational sunrises.


An artful richly-hued front door, handcrafted in solid wood, accented with slatted insets for natural light, opens to an inviting entrance.  This area, in turn, gives way to a breath-taking two-story-high, rotunda-styled foyer, with inset wood floor and balconies above.  Straight ahead is a long gallery of captivating artworks, which the owners have collected over many years, the space is further enhanced by towering ceilings and timeless detailing.

To the right of the foyer, is a living room worthy of Architectural Digest – superbly appointed and graciously furnished, with soaring ceilings, a large fireplace, custom millwork and floor-to-ceiling windows, framing engaging views of the great outdoors.  Large enough to accommodate two distinct seating areas, the room embraces fine living and entertaining with deep-comfort seating options that define relaxation.  Its clean-lined design reflects the owners’ own refined and intuitive senses of style, merging extraordinary fabrics and colorful accents with neutral foundations.


From the living room, one steps up to an unforgettable octagonal dining room, gleaming with high-lacquer walls in pure white.  Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors afford panoramic views or the private orchard, gardens, trees and open lands beyond, with access to outdoor patios as well.  At night, landscape lighting further enhances the home’s ambience, inside and out.

Down the hall from the dining room is a grand, gourmet’s delight kitchen, rendered in light colored custom cabinetry with dark stone accents.  Highlights include a massive center island with seating for many, a clever curved-wall preparation area and plentiful customized storage.  Highest-end stainless appliances complete the perfection – along with a built-in, wood-fired pizza oven for restaurant-quality creations.

The kitchen is a favorite gathering place for parties – but there is even more beauty and comfort to be enjoyed around the corner.  Here, all relish the recent addition of a sensational Great Room, with an expansive fireplace, custom built-ins and state-of-the-art audiovisuals.  The fabulous space is extended further seasonally, when doors open to a huge beamed and comfortably-appointed screened porch with garden-inspired furnishings that blend in naturally with the surrounding gardens and landscapes.  There is also outdoor access here, with paths leading to beautiful nature spaces in every direction.


Another first-floor highlight is the master wing, with its tall-ceilinged master bedroom and elegantly-appointed master bathroom – light, inviting and spacious.  The bedroom, with glass door access to dedicated outdoor patio space, offers private views of the grounds and is the ultimate haven to retire to each day.  Also, not to be missed on the first floor tour is the warmly-appointed library and home office, rendered in French White Oak with floor-to-ceiling handcrafted bookcases that hold an impressive collection of reading materials and awards.  Here, executive business is transacted, amidst all the comforts and treasures of home, with amazing nature views to inspire.

When guests visit this special country home, they are lucky enough to be able to choose from three luxurious bedrooms upstairs, each designed with its own unique style, and all focused on great comfort inside, and wonderful nature views outside.  The well-appointed guest bath, with its large soaking tub and rain shower, adds to the enjoyment.

But, for those visitors who want the ultimate get-away experience, there is also a “hidden” guesthouse and studio, with a vaulted ceiling great room, kitchenette, full bath and screened porch.  It is nestled deep in the woods behind the house – a short hike away, down a long footpath through the forest.  A campfire pit adds to the outdoor enjoyment of this special “neck of the woods” – so close, but yet seemingly so far.

According to Andre, “It’s our take on a Northwoods cabin, a true escape, without another building in sight.”

“Our guests love the cabin, but we do as well,” adds David.  “It’s the perfect place for creative inspiration.”

Indeed, to this visitor, the duo’s entire homestead is an exceptional place for creative and inspired living, a country retreat which blends in seamlessly with the quiet beauty of the surrounding landscape.  It truly is an oasis… a refreshing, unexpected find amidst the wide-open farm fields of historic Walworth County.


Welcome Diamond Mortgage

Earlier this year, Keefe Real Estate entered into a strategic partnership with Diamond Residential Mortgage Company.  Diamond has been a part of the Keefe family over the past two years and, moving forward, they will become an increasingly more prominent part of our office.

Christine Clark, Division President, and her team at Diamond have developed relationships with many of our agents and have already worked a number of deals with them.  In addition to our agents trusting Diamond, the Keefe leadership team has gotten to know Diamond’s senior management team and both are excited about this partnership.

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Christine Clark, Division President


Diamond began on the foundation of creating a more family-orientated business.  This family-focus made the partnership between Keefe and Diamond an easy decision.  Both companies are family owned and share similar missions of providing top notch service to customers, while making a difference in the communities we work in.

Additionally, Diamond provides a focus on creating products that agents AND customers are asking for.  To top it off, they provide great service and ease of access.  We couldn’t ask for better partners to help both businesses move forward.

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We’re looking forward to a strong partnership with Keefe and Diamond!




Ring in the New Year

If you're still searching for the perfect New Year's Eve plans, look no further!


The Geneva Inn

Enjoy a relaxing New Year’s Eve with the Geneva Inn.  Indulge in a luxurious six-course menu, celebrate with a midnight champagne toast and stay the night in one of The Geneva Inn’s beautiful rooms. Full package details below:

New Year’s Eve Package

  • Accommodations for one night
  • Delicious six course dinner
  • Jazz music by Walter Thomas from 9pm – 12am
  • Champagne toast at midnight
  • Continental breakfast from 8am – 10am

Call (262) 248-5680 for rates and availability

 Santa Cruise

Santa Cruise

The Santa Cruise departs from the winter harbor, located at Gage Marina/Pier 290 at 1 Liechty Drive, Williams Bay.

Enjoy spectacular holiday lights along the Lake Geneva shoreline on your way to see Santa Claus at his North Pole Hideaway.

More information and pricing can be found here

Pier 290


From 9pm – 1am, Pier 290 is the place to be to ring in 2017!  Check out everything included in their Celebration Package below:

  • DJ from 5pm – 9pm
  • Open “call” bar from 9pm – 1am
  • Michael Whalen Band 9pm – 1am
  • Late night snacks
  • Party Favors
  • Midnight cruise includes an open “call” bar and music
  • Champagne Toast
  • Balloon Drop and Streamers

New Year’s Eve Celebration Package – $75 per person (all-inclusive). Call ahead for group rates (262)-245-2100

Cafe Calamari

Cafe CalamariNYE

Enjoy all of the luxury Cafe Calamari typically offers, plus a special New Year’s Eve Menu.

Call now for reservations – (262)245-9665

Lake Geneva Country Meats

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Sparkling Wine Tasting
11:00am – 3:00pm

Discover Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and American sparkling wines at Lake Geneva Country Meat’s annual New Year’s Sparkling Wine Tasting.

Cheers to a prosperous New Year!



A Story from Christmas Card Town

by  / 

“Why is Elkhorn called the Christmas Card Town?  The title dates back to 1952, when the March of Time television series chose Elkhorn as the setting for one of its shows to feature a small American town during the Christmas season.  In 1958, the Ford Motor Company commissioned New York artist, Cecile Johnson, to paint a series of six watercolor paintings to illustrate an article for its company magazine.

Johnson, who had recently spent Christmas in Elkhorn, chose the town for the setting of her paintings, being inspired by its small town charm and spirit.  Ford donated one of her original paintings to the City of Elkhorn, and four more of the original watercolors were eventually purchased by the city.


The sixth painting has never been found.  Later, a major publisher chose five of the six paintings as artwork for Christmas cards, which have been printed and reprinted by the hundreds of thousands.

Local artist, Jan Castle-Reed, was later commissioned by the Elkhorn Chamber to continue the yearly tradition through oil paintings that depict the Christmas spirit of Elkhorn.  Jan Castle-Reed completed her series of 15 paintings in 2011.  In 2012, a new artist, T. James Carson, took over the Christmas card paintings starting with his rendition of the 1887 Building and working in his own renditions of Elkhorn history and landscapes.  All original artists’ paintings are on display at the Matheson Memorial Library.”

card house

Keefe Real Estate is honored to announce that Keefe Agent, Rob Edwards, based out of our Elkhorn Lakes Area office, listed and recently sold the first house to be featured in the Christmas Card series.

This Queen Anne Style Victorian Home and Carriage House has maintained a high level of historic and architectural integrity and is one of the most important and beautiful historic properties in the city of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Constructed in 1890 the 2 1/2 story home has been lovingly restored and maintained offering a bright and warm ambiance to it’s new owners.

Rob specializes in the purchasing and selling of historic real estate in Walworth County including Elkhorn, Wisconsin and the surrounding Lauderdale Lakes area. Rob is a valuable resource if you’re looking to buy or sell  historic home with vintage charm.

Gifts of the Heart

The Legacy Tradition of Keefe Real Estate

Janis L. Hartley

A community is measured by the generosity it bestows upon those in need…

With nearly 75 years of history, roots in farm auction and sales, and as a direct contributor to much of the major commercial and residential real estate development in the area for the past 50 years, we at Keefe Real Estate are proud of the role we have played in building the great Walworth County community. The generosity of the Keefe family is well known, however the origin of what has evolved into the Keefe Kares Foundation remains untold. The story began one cold November day over 25 years ago, in downtown Lake Geneva…


Lael Vandenburgh, a broker who has worked at Keefe for almost 30 years, fondly recalls how a personal experience opened her eyes to the needs of Walworth County foster children one Christmas, and how that knowledge evolved into one of the company’s most cherished annual giving opportunities.

“About 25 years ago, when I was the managing broker at Keefe and my daughter, Charlotte, was in junior high school, she had a friend who went into foster care.  He seemed to be having a positive experience, and yet I wondered what would happen at Christmas. Would he receive gifts from his foster family?  I really had no idea how the system worked, but he was a nice boy and so I contacted the head of Walworth County Foster Care.”  As it turned out, the children in the foster care program did not receive Christmas gifts, back then. While some foster families had the means to be generous with their kids, others had more challenging financial situations.  “It broke my heart,” says Lael. That’s when she decided to ask the Keefe agents if they would like to play Santa and make the holidays special for foster kids in the community.  The generosity of Keefe staff and agents was overwhelming that first year, and that abundant kindness has lasted for over two decades.


One year, Lael was invited to participate in the distribution of the gaily wrapped Christmas presents to the foster children.  “It was such a touching experience…actually being there and seeing how important this was to not only the children but to the foster families as well.” Working with the foster care program opened her eyes to how important it is for the older children and young teens to receive gifts as well. While it’s always fun and exciting to donate a “first” bicycle or baby doll, gifts for kids ages 12-18 are incredibly important. Initially, foster families were asked by the program to submit ideas of 1 or 2 items their foster children needed; through the years that request has grown to include both “needs” and “wishes”.


Each year, Keefe Real Estate agents and staff anxiously await the line-up of the red construction paper stockings which are “hung” in the company’s lobbies in Lake Geneva, Elkhorn and Burlington.  Each numbered stocking provides a short Christmas list. It’s unusual for a stocking to lay unclaimed by a secret Santa for more than a day or two.  By mid-December, the Keefe Christmas tree is surrounded by gaily wrapped packages, and oversized gift bags begin to magically appear until the lobby soon resembles Santa’s workshop.


Every December another agent slips through the lobby doors arms laden with stuffed animals – one for every foster child – and tucks them into the bags and boxes. One year the animals were Dr. Seuss characters and the comical faces popping out around the tree made it an unusually colorful scene. Each year the scene changes slightly, from bicycles and baby doll strollers to Lego sets and snow boots; however the sentiment never changes: let’s make the world a better place by making our community a better place for everyone – especially the children. So while Santa and his elves work feverishly in the North Pole, the Keefe elves work hard to make the Christmas season shine a little brighter here in Walworth County.


Letter from the Chairman

At the close of this year, I will be ending my 40+ career as the Chief Executive Officer of Keefe Real Estate.

It seems pretty incredible for me to say that, and even harder to imagine. However, my son Tom will be taking the reins, and I couldn’t be more proud or confident in his capability and desire. He will continue the family legacy but will shepherd our company into the new millennium and initiate new corporate frontiers scarcely imaginable all those years ago. It’s hard to recall or even imagine the evolution of real estate values from that time to today, but suffice it to say, I remember several milestones from long ago, like buying my first home in Geneva Bay Estates for $52,000, or my Dad purchasing

Michael Keefe of Keefe Real Estate, Inc.
Michael Keefe of Keefe Real Estate, Inc.

a spectacular home on the lake in Williams Bay with 300+ feet of lakefront, four or five acres of land, with greenhouses and a beautiful boat house for $325,000. And, by the way, he felt that he paid too much! If that were listed today, I’m pretty sure it would sell in the eight figures. For those who doubt the long term value of what we sell, it’s helpful to have that perspective. Being involved this long in a family company translates to a lot more than dollars and cents.

Keefe Real Estate is and always has been a home to me and many of our employees. Close associates from the early days are largely gone now, but many of their children and grandchildren are still close and some even work with us today. The wonderful memories are treasures that will never leave me, and I’m sure the same will be true for Tom and his colleagues. I still get calls from my Dad’s old buddies and children of his friends inquiring about something or the other, or just stopping by to say hello and touch base. This is always very special to me and continues to delight even as it becomes less frequent.

Keefe Real Estate
Michael Keefe and Tom Keefe


I will continue to be involved in the company as a member of the Board of Directors, and Tom has seen fit to share some office space with me. I intend to continue to show up to offer solicited, and probably unsolicited advice, and remain very active in the development side of our business as well as the management of the numerous commercial properties I have in the area. Tom will also benefit from the ongoing role that our long-time President, Steve Beers, will play in the company.


From the outside it may not look dramatically different but, believe me, there is a lot going on behind the scenes keeping our real estate company in the forefront of a very dynamic industry.

See you on the water, or in the halls of our office. I may even write a guest column now and then.

-Mike Keefe, Chairman of the Board | Keefe Real Estate Inc.

A Time to Give

Keefe Kares check presentation to LG Food Pantry
Members of the Keefe Kares Team present a check to the Lake Geneva Food Pantry #GivingTuesday

Here at Keefe Real Estate, we feel that it is important that we give back in a tangible and meaningful way to help improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. Though giving back has always been something we value, we started Keefe Foundation, Inc. in 2006 as a matching funds program. Since then the Keefe Foundation has evolved into Keefe Kares, a program that is now so much more.

A big part of fundraising efforts by the Keefe Kares team at Keefe Real Estate, goes towards supporting the local food pantries in Walworth County. These local shelters help support families and individuals in Walworth County who may be going through tough times.

“I can’t thank you enough for your support. Your generosity means so much to the nearly 200 people and children we serve each year; gifts like this help families stay together and get back on their feet.” – Twin Oaks Shelter

How can you help? Contact your local food pantries in Walworth County to learn more about supporting families in need during the holiday season.


Lake Geneva Food Pantry

First Congregational United Church of Christ
715 Wisconsin Street
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

WC Resource Center Food Pantry
N3252 Hwy H
Lake Geneva WI  53147
Wednesdays 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.;
Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Serves all of Walworth County

Mount Zion Christian Church
2330 Hwy 120
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Saturday –  9 – 11 a.m.


Chapel on the Hill
N2440 Ara Glenn Drive
Williams Bay, WI 53191
Emergencies only. No regular hours.


Elkhorn Food Pantry
14 W Geneva Street
Elkhorn, WI 53121
Monday –  9.- 11 a.m.
Wednesday –  9 – 11 a.m.
Friday –  9 – 11 a.m.
Serves only people in Elkhorn Area School District


St. Catherine Catholic Church
125 Pearl Street
Sharon, WI 53585
Call for appointment


Delavan United Methodist Church Food Pantry
Delavan, WI – 53115
Food Pantry Location: 7.17 miles from Walworth Hours: Wednesdays 9:00 am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 3:00pm

St. Andrew’s Catholic Church
7th & Walworth Avenue.
Delavan, WI 53115
Saturday  –  8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
262-728-4438 or 262-728-6567 (Emergency #)


Twin Oaks Homeless Shelter
W9665 US Highway 14
Darien, WI 53114
262-882-3662 (For Shelter residents only)


2861 Austin Street – Village of East Troy Garage (rear)
East Troy WI  53120
Tuesday – 7:30 – 11 a.m.
Thursday – 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Friday –  9 – 11 a.m.


Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
United Methodist Church
518 Booth Street
Genoa City, WI 53128
Thursday –  9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. or by appointment
262-279-6448 | 262-279-3270


Corner Stone Church
1553 Church Street
Lyons, WI 53148
Call for appointment Only


Immanuel United Church of Christ
111 Fremont Street
Walworth, WI 53184
Friday –  2 – 4 p.m.
Saturday –  9 – 11 a.m.

(Fontana, Walworth, & Zenda areas only)


National Guard Armory
146 West North Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
Wednesday –  9 am – noon. Thursday –  9 am – noon. Other times by appointment. Wheelchair accessible.

About Keefe Kares:

Under the Keefe Foundation, Keefe Kares collects and matches funds from our agents and employees. Based on guidelines it has established, the Keefe Kares Board then distributes these funds to charitable 501 c 3 service organizations. Keefe Kares members also volunteer their time. They serve on non-profit boards and committees, coach or mentor others, and provide hours of service to local charities and their events.

To finish each year, the foundation hosts an annual Keefe Kares Celebration to acknowledge the hard work of the organizations that we support. The event includes silent and live auctions, food and entertainment. Though the annual event is a part of the funds that we collect and distribute each year, the primary focus is on celebrating the communities that we support.

To learn more about Keefe Kares visit our website at

Keefe Real Estate Charitable Foundation


Have you heard? When we heard we were so excited so we want to share the news with you! The Best of Walworth County 2016 results are out and we made the list: We are SO EXCITED TO be named as the #1 real estate company!

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To view the list of our award winning agents and their most recent listings check out our website at

BUT, being in the community and for our community we wanted to mention a few other amazing local businesses who made the NUMBER 1 in their category!


Four Lakes Athletic Club


Bittner’s Bakery


First National Bank & Trust Company


Next Door Pub & Pizzeria


Boxed & Burlap


Peck & Weis Heating/Cooling/Plumbing/Electric


Treasure Hut Flowers


Clear Waters Salon & Day Spa


Stebnitz Builders Inc


Lake Geneva Country Meats


Matt Mason Photography


Mary Kilkenny