Breakfast in Garden

Posts Tagged ‘Madeline Island’

Riding through a field of diamonds… on Lake Superior of course!

May 10th, 2012 by Nancy Sandstrom

(Written by Kristen Sandstrom)

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about “the ferry.” It’s no secret that our family has been riding the Madeline Island Ferry for many many years now. Of course, Nancy remembers riding the original Nichevo which you had to back off of! I personally remember riding on the Nichevo II as a child, but to this day I have a soft spot for the Island Queen. The Queen has this little deck off of their passenger cabin that can only seat about 5-6 people comfortably. My sister and I would always race up there – to “our spot.” I still to this very day, love sitting there. It’s as if we have our own private balcony for that 25 minute ride.

lake superior bayfield photoToday is one of those days that I’d really rather be riding the Ferry. From Bayfield the lake looks like a field of diamonds with all of those sparkles. It’s virtually impossible to capture those diamonds in a photo, but trust me, they’re there. I see this lake everyday, yet days like today make me feel so very fortunate that I live here. It makes me want to be a “visitor” again. I want to go down and hop on the next Ferry scheduled. I would start by staying on the main deck of the boat. I would lean over the edge to see the bow of the boat breaking through the calm waters – creating its beautiful wake. If I’m lucky enough to be riding on the Island Queen, I would run up to “our spot” and sit and enjoy the cold (and it is cold at this time of year) wind on my face. From the boat you can see a few of the Apostle Islands: Basswood Island, Long Island, Ashland and more. Look at a map and try to identify which is which.

So, yes, the Ferry is for many simply a mode of transportation – a way of getting from the mainland to Madeline Island, and back. No matter how many times I ride those boats though, it’s more than that for me. It’s a short and sweet adventure. It’s 25 minutes where I can just sit and enjoy the view! Which is something we all could do a bit more of.

 

Bayfield and Pinehurst celebrate the blessing of the fleet

June 8th, 2011 by Nancy Sandstrom

blessing of the fleet imageAs spring is coming to an end and summer is rapidly approaching so comes the boating season upon Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Every year the Bayfield community offers a blessing to all of the boaters for a safe and plentiful season – this is called the Blessing of the Fleet.

History comes to life with the traditional Blessing Ceremony this Sunday, June 12th at 1:00pm: commercial fishing boats, tugs, powerboats, sailboats, excursion and transportation craft, and rowboats parade through Bayfield’s City Harbor. As they pass by the tip of the pier, clergy from the Apostle Islands community grant each vessel a blessing for safe passage and a prosperous season on Lake Superior. Lake Superior is Bayfield’s lifeblood. The Lake has drawn countless people to this area, from the Ojibwe, to the fur traders and missionaries, to commercial fishermen, and finally to tourists and pleasure boaters. In the late 1950′s Bayfield inaugurated the Blessing of the Fleet to honor its fishing families who formed the backbone of the area’s economy.

This event is open to all boaters, from kayaks and rowboats to fishing and sailboats. The Ferry Line has even been known to bring a few of their boats through for the annual blessing. Come to Memorial Park for a brief ecumenical service before the ceremony and then enjoy seeing the variety of boats get their blessing for a happy, safe and bountiful boating season.

If you are interested in participating in the Blessing, feel free to contact the Bayfield Chamber with any questions at 715-779-3335 or email Erin at erin@bayfield.org.

A Road Less Traveled

February 12th, 2011 by Nancy Sandstrom

Madeline Island Ice Road Well folks, the time has come for the residents of Madeline Island to gain true freedom from the life of living on an island. The ice road from Madeline Island to Bayfield has been declared “open.” What is this ice road? If you haven’t heard of this, it is simply the path that the Ferry would normally take in the summer, but it is frozen enough that cars and “small” trucks are able to come and go as they please. Yep, driving on ice. While many may find this as a crazy practice, those who live on Madeline Island cherish these few weeks a year when they are truly free to travel as they please and not at the schedule of a boat or windsled.

Big Bay State Park in WinterWhat does that mean for those of us who live on the mainland? Plenty. Many of you may have hiked through Big Bay State Park during the beautiful Summer or Fall months, but have you seen it while snow and ice covered? The State Park is a whole different world at this time of year. The quiet and peace will take your breath away. Since the mainland ice caves are not accessible this year, take advantage of the views from the rocks and cliffs of this location. Chances are you’ll even see some open water from this side of the island! Imagine that… you drove across this same lake just a few miles to the west. It truly is a magical place.

Once you have explored to your heart’s content, be sure to stop by the Bell Street Tavern or the Island’s coffee shop for a little warm up before heading back over to Bayfield. There is plenty of quiet and peace on Madeline at this time of year, but truth be told, many of us are looking for just that. A little peace and quiet.

Want more? Check out this video!

So, what do people do on Madeline Island anyway?

July 15th, 2010 by Nancy Sandstrom

Madeline Island Museum

Madeline Island Museum, just a short walk from the ferry dock.

Once you have made your way across the Chequamegon Bay on the Ferry to Madeline Island many people wonder what they should do next. In a previous post we mentioned having a meal at Lotta’s Lakeside Cafe, which is of course a culinary delight including local foods and a fabulous wine list.

But there is so much more. Just a few steps from the ferry dock you’ll find the Madeline Island Museum. This small museum will show you so much about the history of Madeline Island and the Village of La Pointe. Did you know that La Pointe was founded before Bayfield? There are amazing fur trading exhibit, Ojibwe exhibits and a wonderful short film for all to watch with music provided by the performers at Big Top Chautauqua.

What’s next?

Madeline Island Town Park

The bridge over the lagoon at the Madeline Island Town Park

Why not drive or bike out to the Madeline Island Town Park? Here you will find some of the most beautiful beach on the Island. The water at the town park is generally quite shallow and perfect for the kids to play.

There is also a breathtakingly beautiful lagoon perfect for canoeing and birdwatching – there is a certain serenity and peacefulness in this area that truly takes you away from the outside world. The other great thing about this lagoon is the warmth of the water. If you are not the type to enjoy the “refreshing” coolness of Lake Superior, try the lagoon!

There are many other wonderful places to explore on Madeline Island – the shops, the state park with its brownstone cliffs, the golf course and the restaurants. These are just a few of the things that our family loves about Madeline. Most of all it is a great place to escape to and enjoy the history and beauty of this area that we are so very lucky to call home.

The Magic of the Madeline Island Ferry

July 8th, 2010 by Nancy Sandstrom

Located at the gateway to the Apostle Islands on the south shore of Lake Superior in Northern Wisconsin, Madeline Island Ferry Line provides passenger, bicycle and car transportation between the picturesque towns of LaPointe and Bayfield. The 25-minute trip provides spectacular views of the Lake itself and several of the 22 Apostle Islands.

As a child, my family spent part of every summer on Madeline Island. And as our girls grew up, they too experienced this magical time each summer. One of the most exciting parts of our trips was the increased anticipation as we drove onto the Madeline Island Ferry to make our voyage across the bay to Madeline Island.

Now we watch our guests come and go, most making a decision to take this same journey over to Madeline Island. And many come back expressing the same joy at this unique form of transportation. It seems that the ferry ride is the transport to a bit of another world.

  • From the ferry, you are able to get a completely different view of Bayfield and the hills surrounding this small city – amazing in the fall!
  • Taking the ferry in the evening for a quick dinner at Lotta’s Lakeside Cafe can be amazing with the sunset over the mainland as you return to Bayfield.
  • Rough water? No fear – the captains maneuver these “boats” with amazing skill.

Madeline Island Ferry Line is also Travel Green Wisconsin certified – working on incorporating sustainable business practices that improve their bottom line. Examples include solar panels on the Ferry Terminal, use of biodegradable, vegetable based hydraulic fluids in engines and more.

Yup, taking the Madeline Island Ferry never ceases to give me joy. But then we get to Madeline Island itself….ah, there’s more to the story.

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