Photo by Bob Gross
We spill the beans on everything from the new beer at the local grocery store to the opening of a flower shop.
When asked to give a tour of not-so-secret spots in my adopted home, I realized I’d have to reveal the real truth about Bayfield Peninsula: There are few secrets.
We spill the beans on everything from the new beer at the local grocery store to the opening of a flower shop in town because if we don’t, they disappear.
The shared secrets people here hold most sacred involve nature, which tells you something about the type of people who take root in this place.
Bayfield Peninsula is large and the wildlife – deer, bears and wolves – far outnumber humans. You won’t find one stoplight in all of Bayfield County and your biggest stress might be catching the ferry to Madeline Island on time.
Named for Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield, who did hydrographic surveys of the region in 1823-1825, the Peninsula is a finger of sandstone jutting into Lake Superior. About 10,000 years ago, two giant glacial lobes dumped 600 feet of sand here. The area continues to be an intersection of natural forces. The lake effect provides a moderated climate suitable for orchards and fruit in summer and for lots of snow in winter. It’s a crossroads of history where Europeans first landed in Wisconsin and met the Ojibway people, whose vital communities continue.
The Peninsula is a collection of small towns, rolling farmland and 22 Apostle Islands. My tour covers a bit beyond the Peninsula, from Port Wing to Ashland and off the mainland to La Pointe on Madeline Island.
You probably already know about the staples of the area like bicycling at Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island, tipping back a few at South Shore Brewery in Ashland, listening to music at Tom’s Burned Down Café in La Pointe and eating at the famed Wild Rice and Maggie’s restaurants in Bayfield.
My assignment is to tell something you don’t know – even if you live here. Quite the challenge in a community without secrets.
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Read the full story of the Bayfield Peninsula in the August/September 2011 issue of Lake Superior Magazine, available on regional newsstands or by subscription from the publisher. To subscribe, click here.