Wisconsin Tour: Apostle Islands
Ate Lunch at Rocky Roccoco’s Pizzeria
Drove to Bayfield, WI from Madison (~6 hours)
Set up our tent at the Bayfield Area Campground
Ate dinner at the Northern Edge
I should have known that, as much of our other travels, the first day would not go well, especially anything planned for Friday the 13th. So we started on our journey for the Apostle Islands at the National Lakeshore in Bayfield,WI, but decided to stop at Rocky Roccoco’s Pizza to eat some lunch. The pizza was delicious, but as we got up to leave I noticed we had been sitting at Table 13. And we ended up leaving Madison a bit behind schedule around 1:00 pm or 1300 hours. Finally, we drove the last 100 miles on Highway 13. It was sort of spooky with all those 13’s in one day, I guess we survived. Well, at the last minute, we did get drenched setting up the tent in the rain, but we enjoyed a nice dinner on the lake to make up for it.
The trip up the Apostle Islands was really fun. If you ever go, then definitely take Highway 13 for part of it, it’s gorgeous and looks different than Southern Wisconsin. Boo says it all when he says the first day of getting to someplace always has a twist to it. As we drove closer to Bayfield we saw some extra large dark clouds. And then it poured! Travel guides aren’t lying when they say weather changes quickly around the lake. Needless to say, we got soaked when setting up the tent and then froze to death while eating dinner. At least we learned what we could do next time (if it ever happens again!)
Highway 13 is looking up to its name
A Storm Lurking
Grand Tour of Apostle Islands with Island Cruises on the ‘Island Princess’
Toured Rittenhouse Street in Bayfield by foot
Ate lunch at Wild by Nature
Dessert at Big Water Cafe
Toured National Lakeshore Visitor’s Center in Bayfield
Concert at the Big Top Chautauqua – ‘Wild Woods & Waters’
Our soaked campsite
The next morning after sorting through our soaked gear we ate breakfast and made our way to downtown Bayfield to take a tour around the Apostle Islands by cruise ship with the Apostle Islands Cruises. We got to see plenty of the islands and a few light houses along the way. The trip was narrated, so that made it even better. We found out the rich history that this place has and checked out some of the amazing scenery.
Touring a few of the Islands on the Grand Tour
The Big Water Cafe
While walking down the main drag in Bayfield we discovered this great cafe and eatery, The Big Water Cafe. It was a great place to grab some dessert and lunch, too. Their coffee, cakes, soups and grilled cheeses go highly recommended by me! I think that I would love to own/operate a place like this some day, but in a different location…
A concert at the Big Top
Another must see of the Bayfield Area is the Big Top Chautauqua. They had a local show performing a show which celebrated Wisconsin called “Wild Woods and Waters”. It was great folk/country music with great singing and some performance acts throughout. This place often draws famed national acts, so if you are ever in the area be sure to stop in and see what they have to offer.
Sea kayaking on Lake Superior with Living Adventures’ Shipwreck Tour
Ate lunch at Maggie’s Cafe
Toured Historic Fishing Village at Little Sand Bay
Drove Highway 13 to Meyer Beach and hiked Lakeshore Trail
Kayaking on some shipwrecks
The next big adventure on our list was a sea kayaking tour… This was probably one of the most exciting experiences of the whole trip and most grueling, too! We decided to go with a tour group called Living Adventure. The place was super professional and I had lots of fun. All the staff was friendly and the scenery was just amazing. I definitely want to go back someday and go island hopping with this group.
I really enjoyed the kayaking trip! I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but I think it’s something I would like to do eventually. The tour company was really great, I felt they really knew what they were doing and were concerned about everyone having fun and being safe. We even stopped for a while, held onto each others canoes in a big group and ate some bakery chocolate chip cookies our tour guide brought.
An old fishing village
A view of Lake Superior
The famous Red Cliffs
Meyer Beach with the red cliffs in the distance
Another highlight of the trip was hiking the Lakeshore Trail at the northwestern edge of the peninsula. This tour featured some striking terrain and gorgeous views of the red cliffs which dot the area. The hike was not all that long, about 4 miles round trip, but the trail was extremely wet. We also got the chance to visit a historical fishing settlement and walk on the piers and check out Little Sand Bay.
The hike was a nice time to get more into the wilderness, even though it begins at a convenient parking lot next to the shore. It was super windy once the trail went next to the cliffs, but I was amazed how much the trees blocked the wind. I was hot, then cold, then hot! It was pretty neat to see the red cliffs and the waves crashing against them.
Picked blueberries at North Wind Farm
Drove Star Route Road
Ate lunch at Big Water Cafe
Mailed postcards and shopped along Rittenhouse and Manypenny Streets
Drove Highway 13 back to Madison stopping at Concrete Park and Pittsville along the way
Picking Blueberries at North Wind
North Wind Farm House
We heard about the North Wind Farm while we were kayaking and decided to give it a try. Apparently, Tom, the owner, is a well renowned organic farmer and I have to say that his organic produce was pretty amazing. We picked about 3 pounds of blueberries and got a cucumber to take home. Even more impressive is the fact that this guy lives completely off the grid using firewood and solar to heat and power his home and wind to power a water pump. Even his car and farming equipment is solar powered.
Picking blueberries was awesome. It made me appreciate the food that the plant produced and made me not to even waste one berry once it got back home. I was glad we went back to the Big Water Cafe, they’re amazing! And we had a wild rice mushroom soup that was fantastic, which I’ll have to replicate sometime. And they even had homemade pickles!
Lunch and Postcards at Big Water
After picking some berries and adventuring through the wilderness, we decided to take a break and write home about our travels. We also took the opportunity to get some lunch at the Big Water. I think this was my favorite place to eat on the whole trip. I was even inspired to cook some of their Mushroom and Wild Rice soup for a dinner and a movie date which will take place later…
…and this is all they had!
To wrap up the trip we took the scenic Highway 13 back to Madison. It was a bit longer, but we were able to see a few local tourist attractions. The first was a concrete park with a lot of statues and such hand sculpted and formed out of concrete with some glass as ornamentation. I have seen a few of them around WI since I have been here and do wonder what started this trend. Also we got to see the exact center of the state