Tag Archives: Bayfield

Leaving the North

winter sun wisconsin 3rdarm

“Slow down; leave your attitude behind; let things, including your appreciation of this region, develop gradually. Be preapred to endure, and eventually enjoy, silence.

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“This is a special place, but it must be sipped rather than slurped to be enjoyed. And like Scotch, some of it is definitely an acquired taste.”

-The Big Transition by Jim Boyd, Lake Superior Magazine, Feb/Mar 2011

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Return to Bayfield

enter the void lake superior 3rdarm winter 2014

The morning we left the temperature was around negative thirty. The pipes in the bed and breakfast froze but the fireplace kept us warm.

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Steve said that it was the coldest it had been since the very first weekend he and his wife bought the inn. It was the coldest temperatures I have experienced in my life.

white bayfield winter 2014 3rdarm

Some people go to Florida… I’m glad I got to experience it with Etta at the lake.

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Houghton Point

etta arthur lake superior winter 3rdarm

It was too dangerous to head out onto the pack ice, so we followed along the coast of Lake Superior.

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Ice fishermen dared the dropping temperatures and thin ice.

houghton point lake superior winter 2014 3rdarm

The sun set over Lake Superior as the polar vortex pressed down into the prairie.

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Houghton Falls

houghton falls hike wisconsin 3rdarm

We rented snowshoes in Bayfield and set off towards the lake on the Houghton Falls hiking trail.

limestone houghton falls winter 3rdarm

The ravine carved a passage through solid limestone.

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I sensed the presence of animals and knew they could sense a slight limp in my snow shoeing.

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The temperature was 0. The trail passed through the ravine, over ancient rail tracks and passed a frozen waterfall.

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Dalou’s Bistro

gelato black licorice dalous bistro 3rdarm

Steve, an owner of the Pinehurst Inn, recommended Dalou’s Bistro, and so that’s where we had our first night’s dinner. It was amazing. Dalou’s is a small family run restaurant built around a wood-burning oven. The pizza was thin crust with delicious homemade sausage: reminded me of home in New Haven in the best way possible.

wood-oven roasted brie 3rdarm dalous bistro washburn wisconsin

By far the best bites I had on my whole Wisconsin winter vacation (and that includes the amazing restaurant Forequarter in Madison) came before the pizza. That night’s special appetizer was wood-oven roasted brie in local maple syrup with blueberries, served with a salted homemade puff of pizza dough. The sweet and salty flavors and perfectly balanced textures of the crispy puff of dough with melty brie and gooey syrupy berries were heaven.

For dessert we had the gelato, also made in house. The flavor was black licorice: it was so creamy yet had the herbaceous anise notes. Amazing place.

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Pinehurst Inn

snowy backyard pinehurst inn  bayfield wi 3rdarm

We stayed at an amazing bed and breakfast in Bayfield: the Pinehurst Inn. The owner Steve was a great storyteller and over delicious breakfasts cooked with seasonal ingredients delighted me with all kinds of Lake Superior information. The room was fantastic, with a large tub, 3-sided fireplace and filled with good energy and aromas from the spa two floors below.

fireplace reading 3rdarm bayfield pinehurst inn wisconsin

I started reading, “The Devil in the White City” and “Lake Superior Magazine” by the fire. Because of the thinness of ice on Lake Superior in January, hiking to the ice caves along the lakeshore was impossible. Instead I picked up “A Voice Within” by photographer Craig Blacklock, and took the trip in my imagination.

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A Voice Within

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A frigid splash hits my naked back. Muscles clench in surprise. A gasp freezes inside my chest. In order to hold my pose I cannot flinch and I’m not supposed to breathe! I am in an unstable balance between leaning and sitting on this cold, wet basalt. My arms are raised above my head to keep them out of the camera’s frame, so I can’t hold onto the rocks for support. To keep from slipping or swaying as waves break, I grip hard with my toes. Only my legs are in the frame of the image, but in these conditions my entire body is rigid.

“OK, relax, that was great! I have to change film,” Craig says, as his curly head dips beneath the dark cloth of his 4×5 view camera, where he retrieves a metal holder with its two exposed sheets of film. He replaces it and takes another light meter reading.

Relax! That’s easy for him to say, he’s fully dressed and standing dry on the cobblestone beach. At least for a moment I am free to cautiously stretch between waves. I feel strain from immobility and cold’s tension in my neck and shoulders, yet I remain in position. Moving would only prolong this experience because it takes too long to re-create my position and pose, and I’m anxious for this to be over! Cable release in hand, Craig tells me he is ready. I nod, steady myself, and grimace as more icy fingers find me.

-from A Voice Within – The Lake Superior Nudes, by photographer Craig Blacklock and his wife Honey

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Bayfield, WI

town of bayfield wisconsin 3rdarm winter

We arrived at our destination, Bayfield WI. Unfortunately, due to the Republicans in Washington determination to cut government spending, the National Park was closed for the winter.

lake superior winter 2014 wisconsin 3rdarm

Lake Superior, embodying both beauty and instant death, lay to the north. The town of Bayfield, home to such gems at Greunkes Inn, lay quiet under a blanket: just a few days in January and they had already gotten 5 FT of snow.

greunkes inn bayfield wi 3rdarm

Greunke’s Inn was the first restaurant in the area to start serving whitefish livers, decades ago. This local delicacy is available during warmer months, when the fleet goes out beyond the protected area of the National Park to fish. The whitefish too were wintered under the pack ice.

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Coco North

snowman cookie coco washburn 3rdarm

We finally arrived on the shore of Lake Superior in the town of Washburn. The internet told of a must-stop bakery called Coco Artisan Breads and Fine Pastries.

lake superior mural washburn coco

We were not let down: the place was magnificent. I got a griddled ham sandwich with melted, velvety Wisconsin cheddar on homemade bread, and a rich buttery snowman cookie.

saturn ion washburn wisconsin 3rdarm

The blue / green art in the washroom was a frothy mural of the Apostle Islands: the blacker art on my car was a log of the miles on icy Northern roads.

coco artisan breads fine pastries washburn wi 3rdarm

Coco, the kept promise of satisfying and artisanal food so close to the void, made the trip seem worthwhile.

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