Friday, May 12, 2017

A Bayfield Weekend - 4 Wheels

Up until just a short month or so ago, this first weekend in May was scheduled to be another spring Slimey Crud Run.  It's during this time of year that we've often made a family trip up to the shores of Lake Superior.  The last couple of years Peg's rental of a condo in Bayfield, WI has been on the same weekend as the Slimey Crud Run.  This year I thought it prudent and wise to join the girls, head north on 4 instead of SE on 2.

What's a trip north without a stop at a special Mario promotion at Target for last minute supplies??

We arrived in Duluth just a bit after noon and went straight to the Glensheen Mansion, historical home of the Congdon family.  Completed in 1908 on 22 acres of land, the property is a testament to the great wealth that was being accessed by the early entrepreneurs in northern Minnesota.  Their success came from ground floor involvement in the mining and lumber industries.  I won't go into the details here other than to say the grounds, the home, the successful family and their philanthropy are all quite amazing subjects.  Peg had done the tour last year and I can see why she was very willing to go again and share it with me.

We took the tour that included the 3rd floor, the boys' floor.  The architecture, so many of the home's design features were far ahead of their time.  Amazing thought and planning went into most every detail and I won't pretend to show or highlight anything more than a small sample.  There is a great deal of detailed info available if you're curious, photos and facts, etc.  The family basically willed the home, the property and contents to the University of Minnesota.  Most everything was left as the family had lived with it.

Ticket booth at the end of the parking lot, the Carriage House to the right.

 Carriage House.....

Main entrance.....

 A LOT of Italian marble and a LOT of silver.....

The view from in front of the formal garden.......

 Turning 180 degrees, their boat house which housed their 55' yacht.

After a hearty lunch at Grandma's Saloon in Duluth, we dipped into Wisconsin for the drive along the South Shore, ending up in Bayfield at our condo.

From our deck.....looking lake way.

From our deck, looking uptown.

 Hanging in the hallway.....

 Friday evening in front of our rented condo.....

Saturday was a busy day for the Marina folks, parking lots full of sailboats waiting to get wet.

I try and get up the hill to the Bayfield Carnegie Library each time that we visit.  We made it again but our stay inside was short.....had to make the next ferry over to Madeline Island.

Leaving Bayfield....

 Arriving in La Pointe, Madeline Island.

We saw many signs saying, "Open May 12" both in Bayfield and on the island.  Many businesses were open but just barely.  There was activity everywhere as the business owners were scrubbing, painting, getting things setup for the new season.  The reason we go when we do is for the lower lodging rates and honestly, without ALL of the tourists, we get to see a bit more of the working town, especially once the weekend is over.

Back in the early 2000's when our daughters were attending music camp on the island, I had an afternoon to kill and rented one of these.  When I learned that I'd be joining the girls for the weekend, I right away got online to see if I could rent one again but came up with the same answer...."Open 5/12".  Back then, I hadn't twisted a grip for almost 20 years.

 There are some Free Spirits on the island.....isolation can bring that out.

5 Star dining establishment......If you look closely you'll see the "For Sale By Neighbor" sign.

The park signs are all in both Anishinaabe and English.

  We visit the Town Park (eastern end of the island) whenever we take the car across, something that doesn't happen every trip due to the cost.  The hike along the String of Pearls is worth it though.  We start at the north end (top of this view), walk into the bordering State Park and then around the eastern tip of that park's peninsula where the beach is more rock than sand.



 Nice walking temperatures but anytime that we were not in the trees, the 40 degree temps and wind made the warm sun almost mandatory.

To the lagoon.....

Looking the other way....

Lauren and I on the rocks....

Storm damage from a '91 wind storm, gusts of over 100mph.

 After a coffee and cookie break in La Pointe, it was back on the ferry to cross the channel to Bayfield.

 Almost back to the mainland.....

You can see our condo unit here through the trees.  The little park commemorates this area that once was strictly the last home of watercraft no longer fit to be on the lake.  Topiary, formal gardens, paths, a bridge over a small pond.....I even took the time to watch tadpoles sun themselves in the shallow water.  A very nice place to sit; I spent time there more than once during our long weekend.

When I got up, I headed down the Brownstone Trail, a collaborative project with lakefront property owners.  The trail follows the old rail line that carried goods back and forth between Ashland and Bayfield.

On the Brownstone Trail, looking back to the south end of Bayfield

 My favorite tadpole pond.....

Early Sunday downtown....Magic Time.

 For those of us that twist, this kind of reminder can make all the difference....Lefty Loosey isn't always the path to success.

I got the impression that it might be a training weekend for the Coast Guard cadets......

Hopefully the girls just missed their sailors' return.....

Sunday our plan was to make a loop, working our way over to Cornucopia.  The Delta Diner our first destination.

 A group of riders from Duluth....

My Spiked Grilled Chez Combo.....jalapeno's in both items.

 Peg's PBLT......perch, bacon, lettuce and tomato.


From there on to Iron River, Port Wing, Herbster and finally Corny.

Smoked fish to push back starvation.....

The National Park HQ for the Apostle Islands....

I had seen some of this equipment being unloaded Monday afternoon.  Tuesday morning they were making it go.  Apparently the flags mark footing locations.  The big tapered tube has an auger inside and based on my deductions, the auger assists the "funnel" to go down 15-16 ft.  The loader dumps more rock into the hopper and as the tube backs out a couple of feet at a time, the auger reverses, driving the rock down into the sandy hole.  In those pecks, the tube pushes down, packing the placed stones down into the hole.  It was fascinating to watch.

Getting packed up and ready to head for home.....

 But not before stopping for lunch at Maggie's.....

Such a nice break and almost enough days to really get away.


  1. A large body of water, blue skies, and a barefoot walk in the sand. What's not to love.

  2. Wow, such a pretty place to get away for a few days.

    I think 'flicke'r is so much easier to say and spell, although doesn't sound as pretty as it does when spoken in the Native language I'd imagine.

    1. Brandy, I've been exposed to listening to bits of the language via William Kent Kruger's books. He's a St. Paul author that writes fiction, most of the novels happen in our northland and Anishinaabe words get spoken often in my audio books. I wouldn't pretend to be able to spell them.

  3. What a great weekend you & Peg had. I was to the Congdon Mansion back I 1994 when the Univ. of Mn was still restoring....I think that I would like to see it again. What a fun & interesting adventure matched with lot's of sunshine. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Speedy, it sounds like you'll get a nice chance to visit one more!

  4. ....seems.. someone this blog... pack my bags.. go'n on a guilt trip...

    1. I promised you a list of suggested stops to will happen soon.