Cold but Scenic in Bayfield, WI

“Holy crap, you hit it! I can’t believe you ran over that log – you smashed it!!”

We were half way up to Bayfield WI, driving up from Milwaukee. It’s a long drive – about 7 hours – and exactly at the other corner of the state. I don’t know how I did it, but while trying to avoid a log that looked like a big piece of firewood sitting in the road, I instead perfectly aligned the front-right tire with it and proceeded to not slow down at all.

Town of Bayfield in Northern Wisconsin

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I was trying to avoid it.” I didn’t want to swerve too quickly since we were going about 80 mph and the roads were wet. “I thought for sure the tire was lined up next to it, not inline with it – I’m so sorry. If any thing is damaged I’ll pay for it.”

This was our first trip together – Becki(my lovely girlfriend) and I – and after stopping at her friends wedding in the center of the state, we decided to head all the way up to Bayfield. Becki frequently professes her love for the place(good thing I’m not the jealous type), so she wanted to take me up there and show me around her favorite piece of Wisconsin. Luckily, it turns out I’m something of a professional-smasher, and no harm was done to the car while the log was obliterated. Andy smash gooood… :)

Closing in on Lake Superior…

Pretty flower in Bayfield WI

Slowly the landscape began to change: dark limestone covered in electric-green mosses started to rise and fall along the roadside. Stands of tall, thin birch trees and matchbox-pines did their best to blot out the sun, and what they couldn’t block the mist took care of. Everything, cool, green, and wet with brilliant purple flashes from the stands of lupine wildflowers dotting the roadside. We were obviously closing in on Lake Superior and it’s rugged, ethereal woodlands.

When we got to Bayfield, I almost couldn’t believe it. It seemed as though I had found a new Door County to replace the one that I was loosing. Bayfield was chock-full of cute old houses perched on the steep slope down to Superior, with beautiful and organic looking landscaping (read: not the gaudy crap you see at home-builder expos) tastefully spread everywhere it would go. The marina was full of white sailboats, and everywhere we looked were Subaru’s and Jeeps with sea kayaks strapped to their roofs.

We quickly found  and settled in to The Garden View which is a separate building owned and run by The Bayfield Inn. It is an impossibly quaint cottage with a lovely garden, nice view of Lake Superior, and a full kitchen. We even made romantic steak dinner to celebrate our first vacation together.

The next day was spent cruising around the area and checking out the little locally-owned businesses. We had a great time perusing the books at What Goes ‘Round, an awesome used-bookstore. We drove out to the Bayfield Winery and had a great time sampling their wines, preserves and spreads. After this we drove around a bit, just checking out the countryside and looking at land for sale. We even got to check out The E.D.G.E, which holds a special fascination to us since we’re interested in all things green and eco-friendly, including eco-tourism, personal items, building materials, etc. Wish we could have gone in, but it was still cool to visit it.

Madeline Island Will Have to Wait For Next Time

We where hoping to spend Saturday night camping on Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Island chain, but Mother Nature wasn’t playing along. Not that camping in the cold and wet is the worst thing in the world, but when you’re trying to have your first weekend getaway in a new relationship, rough camping conditions just aren’t in the cards. So we stayed another night in Bayfield, this time at the Seagull Bay Motel. It’s your basic motel, only with a million-dollar view of Lake Superior. Friendly owners made the stay a little extra-special, and it has a walking trail into town so you can get your fill of margaritas and sweet-potato fries (the best I’ve ever had) and safely stumble back to your hotel room.

After this it was time to say goodbye, but definitely not forever. It’s a long drive to Bayfield from Milwaukee, but I’m sure I’ll be making many return trips to this quaint and adventurous town.

Subscribe in a reader and click the “share” tab below to share on Facebook or Twitter


  1. Not to be bias or anything, but this is by far my favorite post on here. You words are magic and makes me remember everything so vividly about Bayfield. I cannot wait to go back again, no log smashing this time, and see it in a new light. Thanks for making Bayfield so special to me.

  2. You have spelled Madeline wrong. Please correct.


  1. […] Bayfield is a fun and quirky town in the far-North of the state. Situated on the slopes of Lake Superior and just beside the picturesque Apostle Islands, Bayfield is home to many of Wisconsin’s ex-urban bohemians and active outdoorsy types. Take a sea-kayak out on the big lake or take the ferry over to Madeline Island and be rewarded with great shots of the trees lining the bluffs. […]

Speak Your Mind