It’s way, way up there on Lake Superior. Bayfield, Wisconsin is a delightful little town that once served as a thriving fishing village. Now it’s home to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with 21 islands and over 12 miles of peninsula shoreline. Here you’ll find nine lighthouses on the world’s largest freshwater lake. It’s also well known for its popular Apple Festival, charming Madeline Island, thrilling dog sled races and famous sea caves. With a population of just over 500 people, Bayfield has a “can do attitude” that makes you feel like a local, no matter where you’re from in the world.
The thing about Bayfield is that it’s blessed with an abundance of natural resources that make it such a great family destination throughout the year. Take your kids on an Apostle Island cruise, pick your own sweet, juicy blueberries, walk through the charming downtown area and bring home some of their homemade jams and other delicacies. Catch the ferry over to Madeline Island and discover the charms of this village with galleries, shops, hiking trails and beaches. Or just enjoy a little peace and quiet in one delightful B&Bs or cottages.
Fall brings the annual Apple Festival, which has been hailed as one of the “Top 10 Autumn Festivals in North America” by the Society of American Travel Writers and the most popular festival in Wisconsin. Think apple everything….from pies and tarts to fritters, sundaes and dumplings. If you want to feel like a local, come dressed as an apple. Probably Johnny Appleseed would do, too! There’s a parade, carnival games, arts & crafts and lots of music.
If it’s winter, come to the 20th annual dog sled races which will take place February 7 – 8, 2015. Whether you plan to just watch or volunteer, you’ll have an unforgettable experience. Pick your favorite dog sled team and cheer them on as they race around a challenging course of hills, forests and over the ice. There are a number of races taking place, creating a real sense of excitement in the air.
Throughout the year, the famous, water-sculpted sea caves are known as a calm, serene place to kayak. Come winter, the sea caves form thousands of icicles on the inside of the caves allowing Mother Nature to create quite a spectacle. Last year for the first time in half a decade, Lake Superior froze solid, which enabled visitors to actually walk out on the ice to the sea caves, and literally put Bayfield on the map. Over 130,000 people from across the globe ventured out to the mile-long walk in extreme weather to experience this miracle. Contact the National Park Service to see whether the lake has frozen this winter.
No matter what season you visit, you’ll find Bayfield warm and welcoming! For more information, go to travelwisconsin.com or bayfield.org
Mira Temkin is a Chicago-based freelance writer who lives to travel and discover new experiences throughout the world. Her stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, What’s Happening, Lakeland Boating, Chicago Upscale Travel Examiner, Jetsetter Extra and Business Travel Destoinations.com. She can be reached at[email protected]