MMM: Bayfield and Apostle Islands

Mostly Madison Mondays* – a howdoyoudo from my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin
*The days between arctic tundra and hostile mosquito takeover are fleeting.
MMM will span all days of the week while spring remains.*

Bayfield is a picket-fenced, picturesque town on Lake Superior which in a normal year is a prized getaway – but this was no normal year.  Bayfield and her Apostle Islands are where the 2014 Lake Superior Ice Caves happened:

From The Atlantic

From The Atlantic, click for more photos.

Like the Dells and Door County, everyone I know agrees that Bayfield is a Wisconsin must-see so we were excited to add this to our Northwoods itinerary.  When the mosquitos took over Rhinelander and we got booted out of a Minocqua boat rental, we drove 30 minutes back to the cabin, threw everything we brought back in the suitcase, drove the 30 minutes back to Minocqua then another three hours up to Bayfield.  JesusMaryandJoseph do I hate long car rides.  But that is a story for another day.  Bayfield is the story here and she be a fairy tale.

Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield BayfieldBayfieldBayfield

Did you see what Arlo was wearing?  A jacket!  I never expected to seek out lower temperatures but that’s what we did and boy did it pay off.  Nary a bug to be found and comfortable temps all day long (thinking of you San Francisco).  The icebergs in the water were a spectacle, the restaurants were open and because it was cool and so early in the season, it was very, very quiet.

Hello, Vacation.

The following morning we took the ferry out to Madeline Island and rented bikes for the day.


Somehow Farrah Star fell asleep in the Burley and we parked ourselves at Big Bay Town Park, me at the top of cliff waiting her out and Kris and Arlo down at the beach.


I had my 50mm and 300mm and this view:

BayfieldBayfield BayfieldBayfield

Upon waking we met up with the fellas on the sand and spent the afternoon lolly-gagging.

Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield

I’ll never forget the image of my underpants-clad son throwing rocks in the lake with a giant iceberg floating in the distance.  What I managed to forget that day however was sunscreen.  We also ran out of water.  WATER.  On a bike ride around an island.  I tucked a pureed apple squeezie pouch into my bra, straddled the bike and prayed I wouldn’t have to drink it.

A spectacular day that took just a *little* too long.  Farrah wanted nothing to do with the Burley on the way back and I mean nothing.  She was so distraught Arlo offered to climb in there with her and let me tell you what a sacrifice that would have been because he rode on that Tag-a-long all day like he was in a parade.  With no other choice but to put her in it and go, I did and I flew.  I was sweating and crying and pedaling and cursing and suddenly this most incredible day couldn’t come to an end fast enough. Parenthood. We were all wind burnt, sun burnt (well, I was, my Indian family just got lovelier) and exhausted.  So of course we went out to dinner.

Oh god.

The food at Ethel’s at 250 was delicious and that’s all I have to say about that.  I also discovered a tick on Farrah’s scalp.  During dinner.  On my 15-month-old’s scalp.

Bedtime came late and hard but offered somewhat of a relief since I went to sleep with them at 8:30.  Sure I was up every two hours nursing Farrah in the other room but hey … VACATION.

The next morning was a three-hour boat tour of the Apostle Islands.  I was very nervous about this because I have a 4-year-old and 1-year-old, but we boarded anyway loaded with the carrier, books and lots of snacks.

Oh god.


Pictures by Kris

Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield

Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield Bayfield

It was a long, long, long beautiful cruise in a boat with very clean windows that was not appropriate for children.  Beautiful though.


Back in Bayfield I don’t even know what we did.  Things started to blur at this point.  I do know what I was feeling and that was the dull, heavy drag of monotony.  While we don’t vacation together everyday, I am with my children everyday and even in this setting I was overwhelmed with motherhood.  I needed a break from our break but I just kept shooting pictures and pressing forward.  I also did a lot of laundry by hand at 9pm.  Would it have killed me to pack another pair of pants?


Next up: wild things and big things and back on a boat.


3 thoughts on “MMM: Bayfield and Apostle Islands

  1. Pingback: MMM: Minocqua | Black Panty Salvation

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