Spring Getaway in Bayfield, Wisconsin | Midwest Living
More
Close

Spring Getaway in Bayfield, Wisconsin

Before throngs of tourists descend on Lake Superior's northern Wisconsin shore, discover the natural beauty that blossoms everywhere in friendly Bayfield.

Planning your Bayfield trip

Many attractions and restaurants keep limited hours until Memorial Day. Call to check on bloom times before you go. For more info, contact the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau. (800) 447-4094); bayfield.org

 

Beat the crowds

A Memorial Day visit reveals a side of Bayfield that disappears by July 4, when thousands of visitors pour in to tour the nearby Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and hit concerts under the Big Top Chatauqua tent. An apple festival brings another wave of tourists in October. But for those riddled with cabin fever after winter, the springtime setting is just right for strolling, driving, biking, breathing deeply and noticing the pop of fresh colors.

 

Gardening haven

Dozens of Master Gardeners (and other serious gardeners) live on this peninsula 80 miles east of Duluth. For years, gardeners from as far away as the Twin Cities have traveled here for the perennial plant sale  and the annual garden tour. For other springtime visitors who miss those events, the blooms are like a private living-art show.

 

The flowers of May and June

The show starts in mid-May, when 40,000 daffodils unfurl sunny yellow petals along State-13 leading into town. That's about three weeks before bushy magenta lupines push up from the sandy dirt along the wooded hillsides. Lilacs welcome June with regal purple plumes. Colors deepen during 35-degree nights and brighten during 60-degree days.

 

Planning your Bayfield trip

Many attractions and restaurants keep limited hours until Memorial Day. Call to check on bloom times before you go. For more info, contact the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau. (800) 447-4094); bayfield.org

 

What to do: Touring

Bayfield Bike Route The shop (open seasonally) offers maps with suggested rides around the area based on skill level. For a quick but totally worth-it ride, hop on the Brownstone Trail. The trail hugs Lake Superior and includes a narrow wood bridge you have to walk your bike over—which gives you a chance to hear the shush-shush-shush of Lake Superior's waves on the beach below. See Midwest Living's review. (715) 209-6864

Bayfield Heritage Tours These 90-minute walking tours of Bayfield offer wonderful insights to the history and characters that settled this town and helped it grow. Most tours begin at Bayfield's Carnegie Library. Guides assume the identities of people who lived in Bayfield, and they dress accordingly. Admission charged; reservations required. (715) 779-0299; bayfieldheritagetours.com

 

What to do: Orchards and farms

Bayfield Apple Company This apple-lovers' haven, which also is Wisconsin's largest raspberry grower, has developed a lower-sugar version of commercial pectin that uses apple juice produced on-site. Products in the orchard's store include an apple cider with a subtle raspberry undertone, apple mustards and butters and jams. (800) 363-4526; bayfieldapple.com

Blue Vista Farm This Earth-friendly grower uses composting, organic herbicides and apple varieties bred to resist local pests. Blueberries, apples, raspberries and fresh-cut flowers are among the items sold in the on-site barn store. (715) 779-5400; bluevistafarm.com

Erickson's Orchard and Country Store You've probably had apple cider doughnuts at other orchards, but these are seriously exceptional -- crusty and juicy at the same time. Also available: garden supplies and sculptures, plus jams, ciders and pies made on-site. June brings you-pick strawberries. (715) 779-5438

Hauser's Superior View Farm Gardeners come here each spring for locally grown perennials, annuals, fruit trees, shrubs and tomato plants. You'll also find locally made apple wine, jams and jellies, plus gardening T-shirts. (715) 779-5404; superiorviewfarm.com

 

Where to eat

The Egg Toss Cafe Fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee precede asparagus omelets and the fantasy French toast, which comes stuffed with cinnamon and cream cheese. (715) 779-5181; eggtoss-bayfield.com

Big Water Cafe and Coffee Roasters House-made lavender syrup subtly flavors the lavender latte, while the grilled ham and cheese on artisan sourdough and creamy tomato soup make for a fine lunch at this downtown Bayfield cafe. See Midwest Living's review. (715) 779-9619; bigwatercoffee.com

CoCo Artisan Breads and Fine Pastries The only bakery on State-13 in nearby Washburn has an ever-changing menu of goodies. The strawberry scones' sweetness will change what you think you know about this British-imported bread. (715) 373-2253; coconorth.com
 
DaLou's Bistro For cheap but authentic New York-style, Italian-neighborhood-tasting wood-fired paninis and pizzas, follow State-13 10 miles south to Washburn. (715) 373-1125; dalousbistro.com
 
Ethel's at 250 The Bayfield Apple Pizza, topped with thinly sliced Granny Smiths and chopped Canadian bacon, is a must-try. Owners Sally and Bill Heytens share the story of how they ditched their old lives in Superior, Wisconsin, to travel all 50 states and settle in Bayfield. Opens in May. (715) 779-0293; ethelsat250.com
 
Maggie's Pink flamingoes decorate just about every part of this restaurant inside and out, a quirk of owner and local restaurateur Mary Rice. The whitefish and chicken sandwiches and crispy kettle potato chips offer satisfying local flavors. See Midwest Living's review.  (715) 779-5641;  maggies-bayfield.com

 

 

Where to stay

Old Rittenhouse Inn This Queen Anne mansion has luxe rooms and suites with fireplaces, steam showers and whirlpool tubs. No TVs. Plan to have dinner here at least one night. The $39 two-course meal satisfies, but the $55 five-course feast is splurge-worthy. From $125, including continental breakfast. The hot breakfast is worth the extra $11. See Midwest Living's review. (888) 611-4667; rittenhouseinn.com

Bayfield Inn All-white rooms are decked with duvets and whirlpools -- and have windows with screens that allow in cool Superior breezes. From $140, including breakfast. (800) 382-0995; bayfieldinn.com
 
The Pines at Apostle Highlands Built in 2005 along the Apostle Highlands Golf Course, these two-bed, two-bath condos have screen porches and decks overlooking the course and Lake Superior. From $169. (715) 779-3252; winfield.com
 
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® March/April 2010. Prices, dates and other details are subject to change; please check specifics before making travel plans.)

 

Add Your Comment