Up North! Bayfield, Madeline Island, and the Apostle Islands National LakeshoreMar 10, 2014 04:56PM ● By Julie Henning
The launching off point for both the ferry to Madeline Island and the Apostle Islands Cruises, make sure you leave enough time in your itinerary to fully explore both of these destinations. Considered Wisconsin's "Crown Jewels," the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is comprised of 21 islands known for their natural beauty, sandstone outcroppings, sea caves, and old growth forests. Thoroughly enjoying the 55 mile, 3.5 hour "Grand Tour", our boat took us past the Raspberry and Devils Island Lighthouses, standing rocks, and the historic Manitou Fish Camp. The largest of the Apostle Islands, Madeline Island is not part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Accessible by car ferry in the summer months and ice road in the winter, visitors arrive at the town of LaPointe. Comprised of a small conglomerate of artist studios, ice cream parlors, souvenir shops, grocery/convenience store, miniature golf course and Madeline Island Museum, the town also features one of the more eclectic bars in the entire state.
If you are not staying on the island, pay careful attention to the weather and the ferry schedule. We just missed an afternoon thunderstorm that makes me want a Dramamine just thinking about the rolling seas.
Known agriculturally for apple orchards, the entire region comes alive with the fall harvest. The Bayfield Apple Festival runs each October and draws thousands of visitors into town. Other popular "draws" are the Big Top Chautauqua and hiking to the famous ice caves in the winter months.