In addition to the berry farm trail and beauty of Bayfield Peninsula itself, the big draw to the northern region of Wisconsin was the opportunity to see and photograph the Apostle Islands, a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior.  Our favorite light for photography is the golden hue cast by the sun just before sunset, so we opted to take the 3-1/4 hour, 55-mile narrated Grand Tour sunset cruise offered by Apostle Island Cruises.

As we headed out to the furthermost islands we cruised by Manitou Fish Camp, which was built in the 1930’s and used by local fisherman.  Since then, it has been restored and depicts the fishing industry in the area from the 1930’s through the 1950’s.


The most photogenic highlight of this cruise was located at the most northern point of the islands at Devils Island.  We arrived during the prettiest golden light, so the photography was fantastic.  Between “sea stack” rock formations and extensive sea caves, I shot more photos per minute than I could remember shooting in a long time!  (Thanks to digital, it didn’t cost any more to do so like it had back during the film-shooting days.)









As we cruised back to Bayfield we saw the Raspberry Island Lighthouse that marks the entrance to the West Channel.  Built in 1863, it served as home to several lighthouse keepers through the years until 1947 when the light was converted to automatic operation.



Throughout the cruise, we enjoyed the informative and entertaining narration while we took in the views from the open-air deck.  Once the sun set, though, it got too cold to stay up on top.  I did manage to brave the cold out on the aft deck for a few final pictures:






Gloomy skies and occasional light rain showers continued during our drive from Ashland to Bayfield, so we went straight to Winfield Inn to pick up our key to the rental we would be staying in for the next two nights.  After settling in, we decided to spend the remainder of the late afternoon exploring the area.


Click on the picture, and read the “instructions,” because they are a hoot!

Bayfield is Wisconsin’s self-proclaimed “berry capital,” so we headed out to the berry farm trail located just up the hill from our apartment.  Our plan was to return in the morning to pick berries for breakfast; however, we found a pick-your-own berry farm that was still open, and the blueberries looked too delicious to wait until the morning!  Compared to the blueberries we pick every June in our area of Georgia that tend to split from the heat while they are still small, these berries were HUGE, and the bushes were LOADED.  We grabbed a box and went to it, ignoring the rain and mud.


The weather forecast looked promising for the following day, so we planned to return in the morning to pick more, and then see the other farms on the trail.

Meanwhile, after enjoying our afternoon snack of delicious blueberries while gazing at the view of Lake Superior from our rental, we headed back down the hill to town.

Located on Lake Superior, Bayfield is small and hilly; however, the town is attractive and quite nice to stroll around.  It served as a perfect base, too, for exploring the area.  They even had a community center with a 25-meter swimming pool!

The following day, we woke up to sunny skies and a beautiful day, perfect for the outdoor activities we had planned to enjoy, including exploring the remainder of the berry trail.  We returned to Rocky Acres Farm to pick more blueberries, and picked some raspberries as well—the best I had ever tasted.  It was such a beautiful setting, too!



This is one of the other farms we stopped at along the trail (the one with the self-kicking machine):


After our breakfast of fresh-picked berries, we enjoyed the gorgeous day poking around town, doing some photography, and visiting the excellent Bayfield Maritime Museum.







My mid-day swim at Bayfield Area Recreation Center was wonderful—and, much needed.  It was my first opportunity to swim on this trip since we were in Minneapolis, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Bruce, meanwhile, returned to the maritime museum to see the remaining exhibits.


Having worked up an appetite, we were ready for the picnic lunch we had planned to enjoy at a table overlooking the marina.  Bodin Fisheries, located near the pool, had a nice selection of tasty-looking fish, so we picked up some smoked salmon and white fish, as well as a filet of sugar-cured smoked lake trout.  Ritz Crackers claims that everything tastes better when it sits on a Ritz, and we both agreed.  That fish tasted great sittin’ on a Ritz!

It’s amazing how thoroughly enjoyable such a simple experience can be.  Start with a beautiful day, add a pleasant setting with a lovely view, toss in some delicious smoked fish and crackers, and then finish it off with some fresh Wisconsin tart cherry juice.  Life is good!

It was also good that our Apostle Island sunset cruise that was scheduled for the same evening rather than the rainy evening before.  We had waited to book the cruise until the 10-day forecast clued us in on what to expect for weather, and the gamble paid off.  Fortunately, the cruise hadn’t yet sold out, and the weather forecast was spot-on.  What a beautiful evening!  Check it out in my next post!