Madeline Island

For September’s Something New we visited Madeline Island, just offshore from Bayfield, WI. We actually did several new things this weekend so if we miss a month in the future, this month can make up for it! Ferries, mopeds, burned down bars and island time. There could be no better way to spend a weekend.

First, Bayfield. We’ve never been to Bayfield even though we’ve lived in Duluth for six years and EVERYONE who lives here has been to Bayfield. Not us, until now. We arrived in town just at sunset and came down the hill from the north. We rounded a bend and there was the town and the lights of the marina reflecting off a perfectly calm, glassy Lake Superior. Absolutely magical. We arrived just after a ferry had left and the next one wasn’t due in for another hour so we wandered around, found some shopping and had a drink. It was dark by the time the ferry came back. When we arrived on the island we just went straight to the campsite and commenced fire-building, brat-eating and marshmallow-roasting, as all good campers do. It rained a little bit as we fell asleep, but that just made it cozy.

We woke up the next morning around 10, used my brand new JetBoil camp stove to make coffee, took showers and headed into town to accomplish another new thing…

Moped fun #islandtime #MadelineIsland

A post shared by Meg (@mstanton822) on

 

Mopeds! We rented a couple of mopeds and buzzed around the island for about three hours. It’s amazing how much fun that was. First we took the route recommended by the moped place to Big Bay State Park and spent about an hour and a half hiking around. I don’t need to say much about this experience. Just take a look at the photos:

A hike with the best view of Lake Superior on a cloudless day
A hike with the best view of Lake Superior on a cloudless day

Crystal clear waters of Lake Superior, sandstone shores and trees just starting to turn color

Crystal clear waters of Lake Superior, sandstone shores and trees just starting to turn color

Not a cloud in the sky and Lake Superior looked like a sea of diamonds.
Not a cloud in the sky and Lake Superior looked like a sea of diamonds.
Can't get enough of the clear blue and green water surrounded by gold and red shores
Can’t get enough of the clear blue and green water surrounded by red shores
Fungi polka-dotting a felled tree trunk
Fungi polka-dotting a felled tree trunk
Love these two-toned fungi rising above a soft green bed of moss
Love these two-toned fungi rising above a soft green bed of moss

After leaving the state park we rode around on our mopeds aimlessly for another couple hours before heading back into town for some food and beverage. First we stopped at The Beach Club, right off the marina, and had delicious burgers and cheese curds, and a few tasty drinks. All the while enjoying this view of the marina and Lake Superior, with mainland Wisconsin in the distance. Here we truly embraced the meaning of the phrase, “island time.”

A girl could get used to this island life.
A girl could get used to this island life.

When we told people we were headed to Madeline Island for the weekend the first words out of everyone’s mouth were, “Go to Tom’s Burned Down Cafe.” Every single person told us to go there so after The Beach Club, we walked across the street and heeded their advice. Tom’s looks like it did, at one time, burn to the ground, but was then rebuilt with anything they could find to nail together. pallets, license plates, parts of boats and tarps, which is all covered by a massive tent above. It’s a strange, wonderful place that you feel instantly at ease in. Friendly, upbeat graffiti covers every surface that isn’t already covered with signs bearing cute sayings like, “even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.” They are not stingy with their pours at Tom’s, either. You will definitely get your money’s worth!

The bar is fabulously eclectic, appearing to be built entirely from found materials, tarps, and old license plates. Not to mention a legion of clever memes written on signs all over. Graffiti seems to be encouraged.
The bar is fabulously eclectic, appearing to be built entirely from found materials, tarps, and old license plates. Not to mention a legion of clever memes written on signs all over. Graffiti seems to be encouraged.

Back to the campsite for more brats and marshmallows. This time we decided to sleep under the stars and took the fly off the tent. We fell asleep looking through the trees to a perfectly clear night sky. The silence and beauty was interrupted, however, when a couple of owls snagged something for dinner that really did not want to be snagged and the rest of the night was fitful rest at best.

My biggest regret of the weekend, and it is a big one, is that we didn’t get to do any water activities like canoeing, kayaking or SUP-ing. And it cut particularly deep when we discovered, on our way out, the beach and a gaggle of canoes and kayaks for rent, were just a few hundred feet from our campsite and we didn’t even know it. Unfortunately it will have to wait until next time.

From Big Bay Town Park head down the stairs and you will see the lagoon before you get to the beach. Here you can rent a canoe and head out to explore
The lagoon between the campground and the beach
Crossing the bridge over the lagoon to get to the beach, somehow the sun was reflecting through the water in the most vivid red and gold tones. Stunning!
Crossing the bridge over the lagoon to get to the beach, somehow the sun was reflecting through the water in the most vivid red and gold tones. Stunning!
I could have stayed at this beach forever.
I could have stayed at this beach forever.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s