Early morning walks have their rewards, don’t you think? This was our view in Bayfield, Wisconsin as we meandered through the town. Admirably, the locals were also up and hard at work tidying up after the weekend’s invasion of Applefest tourists.
Located on Lake Superior, Bayfield is an artsy town of 500+ and is referred to as the Gateway to the Apostle Islands. We quickly realized that our 2-day stay wasn’t going to be enough. Mental note: Next time, 3-4 days, minimum.
Here’s the Grey Oak Guest House where we stayed. It was gorgeous! Historically preserved, beautifully decorated and immaculate, I tingled with excitement the minute we stepped in the door. And how about this: It’s on the corner of 7th and Manypenny. Mannypenny! With a street name like that how could it be anything but magical? Innkeepers Susan Larsen and Neil Howk made sure our stay was just that.
Madeline Island is the largest of the Apostle Islands and the only one open to commercialism and private ownership. Our 20-minute ferry rides there and back were accompanied by a semi hauling sand, several woman loading large tubs (maybe fish?) and school-age children toting lunch boxes. Once again, we couldn’t help noticing a way of life quite different from ours in the farmlands of Wisconsin.
Caveat: Madeline Island is not for everyone. If you’re into the Wisconsin Dells kind of vacationing, you’re on the wrong boat. Instead, the island offers a school of arts, a museum, yoga and beautiful hiking trails. Think of taking a glorious breath, slowing down and donning a pair of boots.
As much as we enjoy our hops, we’re certainly not opposed to sampling fermentation of the “other vine.” Back on the mainland and just up the hill from Bayfield, we found All Sisters Winery. It’s a mother-daughter owned and operated winery in this cute house out in the country. They’ve only been open a few years but their lineup is pretty impressive, all crafted from Wisconsin-grown varietal grapes. We came away with a smooth, dry red and two stemless wine glasses that just may become my favorite sippers.
Bayfield’s peninsula is scattered with CSAs, orchards and berry farms like this Good Earth Gardens. We indulged in Cortland apples, apple juice and charcuterie sausages that only hands-on, local food artisans can produce.