Bayfield is a captivating village on the south shore of Lake Superior. It is home to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a beautiful enclave of enchanting islands. The largest of the islands is Madeline Island, which I visited a few weeks ago. http://bayfield.org/what-makes-us-special/
This weekend I hoped the border and into Wisconsin so I could board an Apostle Island Cruise for their most popular narrated cruise which sailed around Wisconsin’s “Crowned Jewels” for 55 miles on majestic Lake Superior. I was delighted with extraordinary scenery, beautiful rock formations, and historic lighthouses on both Devil’s Island and Raspberry Island and got within reach of sea caves.
Basswood Island: Basswood has steep, rocky shores, forested with hardwoods about 50 years old. Off The northeast shore is a picturesque rock the Indians used for a look out.
Hermit Island: Site of the Frederick Prentice’s Excelsior Quarry during the late 1800’s, Hermit Island was so named after Mr. Wilson was exiled from Madeline Island. Ten years after his exile, Mr. Wilson was found murdered by his bootlegger friends. Lumber from this island was commissioned to build PT-109, the patrol torpedo boat used by John F. Kennedy in the Pacific.
Stockton Island: The second largest of the Apostle Island, Stockton is home to more black bears then any state in the U.S. including Alaska. Yet, it is a popular seasonal camp and visitors spend time on the island harvesting blueberries, fishing and hunting side-by-side with the docile bears.
Manitou Fish Camp: The fish camp has been restored to its time of use in the 1930’s when the camp was actually used by local fishermen. They depict the fishing industry in the area from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. A ranger lives on the island, alone, year round earning $1 a month and living off the land. I’m sure she’s happy when boaters visit.
Devil’s Island: The most northern point of the cruise, Devils Island, has dramatic rock formations and sea caves that wrap around its northern shore. Ice finally left these “ice caves” as of June 28, 2015. The Indians dubbed this Devil’s Island due to the sounds created by the winds and caves. In some places the sandstone cliffs look honeycombed and lacy. It was very beautiful. Devil’s Island Light sits on the northern end of the island and was built in 1898 and later automated in 1978.
Raspberry Island Lighthouse: The “Showplace of the Apostle Islands” is actually a channel marker built in 1863 to mark the entrance to the West Channel. This lighthouse served as home to several lighthouse keepers through the years until 1947 when the light was converted to automatic operation. It has recently undergone a complete interior restoration.
Sadly, we didn’t view any wildlife in their natural habitat and only a single sea stack rock formations on today’s tour. However, I learned that Lake Superior’s water is both 4 feet higher than normal and 2 degrees colder than normal. Today the lake temperature was 49 degrees. http://www.apostleisland.com/
All the fresh lake air put me in the mood for fresh, local specialty Whitefish and Greunke’s Restaurant didn’t let me down. Dining in Greunke’s was like stepping back into the 40’s. The Coca-Cola memorabilia, the working Wurlitzer and old soda fountain counter making the perfect malt to waiting customers conjure images reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell cover on the “Saturday Evening Post.” One of their specialties is Whitefish Livers but I didn’t have the courage to spend money on trying it.
The Bayfield area is home to many apple orchards and berry farms where visitors are encouraged to pick pails of raspberries, strawberries, cherries and blueberries in summer and apples, squash and pumpkins in the fall. I’m already looking forward to my next visit for Bayfield’s annual celebration of autumn’s harvest and apple festival in a few weeks. Fall flavors and leaves should be peaking about then!