The sailing season is in full swing, and we’ve seen some beautiful boats out on the bay and in the harbors. Bayfield is the Gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, and many sailing enthusiasts consider the area to have some of the best sailing and recreational boating opportunities in the world.
As you spend time on this body of water, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the mainland and islands. Bayfield is particularly picturesque when viewed from a boat! Along with rising brownstone bluffs covered in conifers and hardwoods stands, you’ll see historic lighthouses, and spectacular sunsets. You might even find a shipwreck or two!
Bayfield is a part-time home to many sailors who dock their boats here in one of the harbors. But what if you are just visiting and want to sail the Apostles? Old Rittenhouse Inn’s guests have several options for adventure sailing trips, and most are located just blocks away at the City Dock located at the bottom of Rittenhouse Avenue.
Our friends at Dreamcatcher Sailing have 4 boats in their fleet, with 3 located at the City Dock, and one docked in Cornucopia. On the morning trip, the Island Landing Excursion, sail out then explore an island by dinghy from 9:30am to 2:00pm. There’s also an Afternoon Sail from 2:30 to 4:45pm, and a Sea Caves by Sail package that departs from Cornucopia and takes you to the famous mainland sea caves, which you can explore by dinghy. Visit Dreamcatcher Sailing online or call 800-682-1587 for information and reservations.
Another sailing charter we recommend is Animaashi (Ojibwe word meaning: to Sail Away). Your captain is a 1993 U.S. Coast Guard Retired Chief Petty Officer, and he truly knows the ropes of sailing on Lake Superior! Learn the ropes if you’re adventurous, or just relax and enjoy the sights.
Many of our guests have taken the opportunity to learn to sail with Superior Charters & Yacht Sales and received bareboat sailing charter certification in as little as two days! For this adventure with one of the best sailing schools, the sailboat is your classroom and also your overnight lodging! Hint: our guests like to “sandwich” the sailing school between a couple of nights at their favorite room at Old Rittenhouse Inn!
Below are options for Bayfield Sailing Charters and Boat Charters from the Bayfield Chamber, and don’t forget to make your lodging reservations soon! Summer is filling fast, and there’s nothing like returning to your room at the Inn and having a nice dinner after a day of sailing!
Spring Tulips at Bayfield, WI’s Old Rittenhouse Inn
It’s been a long winter in the northland, and we are excited for the annual “Bayfield In Bloom,” a celebration of all things Spring! The event kicks off this week, and runs from May 17 to June 16.
What better way to start off than with live Wisconsin Public Radio show broadcasts? WPR brings its popular “Garden Talk” show, hosted by Larry Meiller, to the Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion on Friday May 17, and you and your friends can be part of the studio audience at no charge.
In addition to the Live Broadcast, visitors will enjoy a “Bayfield In Bloom Garden Expo” with opportunities to meet and talk with local horticultural experts and see a variety of garden-themed products. We have some rooms open the night before (Thursday), so why not come early and make a long weekend out of it?
Bayfield is certainly abuzz with spring activity at the moment! Daffodils and tulips are popping up everywhere, and soon we’ll see a vibrant mosaic of roadside lupines. The rolling hills surrounding our little town are filled with apple blossoms as the local orchards and farms come to life.
Innkeeper Jerry Phillips live on air with Jean Ferraca
There are garden sales everywhere, and one of the most popular is the “Red Barn Plant Sale” at Hauser’s Superior View Farm. Here you’ll find shrubs, fruit trees, annuals, bulbs, topsoil, hanging baskets, and much more. You can also pick your own field-grown perennials, which are ready for transplant to your flowerbeds!
The Annual “Garden Tours” is set for Saturday, June 8th and Sunday, June 9th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. This is a great chance to get “up close and personal” with eleven of Bayfield’s finest “City” and “Country” gardens.
Here at the Old Rittenhouse Inn, we are working overtime to get our own gardens and landscaping in “ship shape” for the season. Stop by to see the hanging flower baskets, and chat with our master gardeners who might share a trick or two! Of course, if you’re looking for a little getaway to enjoy spring in Bayfield, we have some lovely accommodations and hearty meals waiting for you. Hope to see you here!
This upcoming weekend is the annual Bayfield Winter Festival, and we still have a few rooms available if you’d like to visit during this amazing event! Here are some of the things going on this weekend:
Downtown bayfield kicks-off bayfield winter festival friday march 1st. Businesses are open till 8, so you can shop late! Big water coffee offers treats before a candlelight walk on the brownstone trail sponsored by the Bayfield regional conservancy. Or head to the freeze your glass off party at the Bayfield inn where you’ll find music, drinks specials, prizes and more!
Bayfield Winter Dash
It’s time for the bayfield winterdash sponsored by canal park brewing. Complete a 5k winter obstacle course at mt ashwabay on Saturday, March 2nd. Climb, crawl, and scramble over obstacles on your way to the finish. No equipment needed. Register here. No guts, no glory at the winterdash!
It’s back…bigger and better than ever: Bayfield Winter-Bash at Mt. Ashwabay. Live music 5 to 9pm Saturday, March 2nd. Featuring Barnby Daniel Walkner, the Ringtones, and Lords of Baltimore with sound by JD Bass. Local beer, sleigh rides, luminary lit cross country trails, food, tubing, giant bonfire and fun.
Run on Water
It’s time for Bayfield Winter Festival’s Run on Water…on Sunday, March 3rd, prepare to run, ski, snowshoe or skate this 4 mile race across the Lake Superior ice from Bayfield to Madeline Island and back! Prizes given for the fastest runner and finishers in other categories. Register here. Note: Race is weather & ice dependent, so entrants are welcome on race day.
Bayfield Polar Plunge
Get your tutu’s and floaties ready! It’s time for the 8th annual Bayfield Polar Plunge. On Saturday, March 2nd, 100 costumed locals plunge into lake superior to raise money for the Bayfield Recreation Center. Spectators gather at the Bayfield Inn and Pier Plaza or warm up with Rittenhouse Inn fish chowder. Sponsor a plunger today, or Register here.
Ah, the “Quiet Season.” It’s always one of our favorite times of the year. For the Bayfield visitor, this is a time when you can find everything, or nothing, to keep you busy! Here are 21 suggestions for things to do while you’re here, but the list goes on! You’re sure to discover a few things on your own as well!
Snowshoeing: you can bring your own, or rent them at Sweet Sailing. There are several amazing trails within walking distance of the Rittenhouse Inn.
XC Skiing: the Jerry Jolly trail is amazing, and can be accessed from Mt. Ashwabay or Star Route. Or, you can ski across frozen Lake Superior to Madeline Island!
Downhill Skiing:Mt. Ashwabay features a chair lift and rope tow servicing 11 runs. This is family skiing at its best, with both gentle runs and more challenging terrain.
Hiking: Several great trails are within blocks of the Inn, including the Brownstone Trail and the Nature Trail.
Snowmobiling: while there aren’t many trail IN Bayfield, there are many miles of trails all around us, and snowmobilers are always welcome at the Rittenhouse Inn!
Take the Ice Road to Madeline Island: drive to the City Beach and you’ll find the start of Wisconsin’s only temporary County Road! The path is well-marked with recycled Christmas trees, and at the end of the road you’ll find beautiful Madeline Island, ready to show her winter splendor!
Visit the Frozen Sea Caves: just 19 miles north of town lies one of the most mystical splendors of Lake Superior: the Sea Caves. Carved into the native brownstone by 10,000 years of wave action, these caves can by kayaked by summer and (when it’s cold enough) hiked by winter. Take the trail from the Apostle Islands Meyers Beach parking lot, but be sure to check conditions!
Snuggle up with a good book: Bring your own, borrow one of ours, visit the Carnegie Library, or one of Bayfield’s bookstores.
Enjoy a warm, bubbly whirlpool: we provide the bath salts, robes, and snuggly oversized towels!
Have some coffee: at Big Water Coffee Roasters, you’ll find a professional coffee house and bakery plus something more: a quintessential small-town hangout!
Browse the wares at Apostle Islands Booksellers: they have a great selection of local and regional authors, plus best sellers and popular titles.
Go Dogsledding: For one of the most exciting adventures of your life, call Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing. Not only will you fly through the woods like a cannon ball (the dogs know the way!) but you’ll also get the full experience of feeding and harnessing the dogs. A true winter rush!
Visit Wolfsong Wear: and shop for the ultimate in cold weather comfort and style. Located across from the Bayfield Inn.
Ice Fishing: Lake Superior is full of massive trout, salmon, pike, and smallmouth bass, plus panfish, perch, and walleye.
Try your luck: at Legendary Waters Casino, just north of town, you’ll find a wide variety of slots and table games, plus great entertainment.
Have lunch at Maggies: Here are some of our favorites: flamingo tenders, black ‘n’ blue burger, chicken fajitas, Late Night Special pizza.
Explore the Great Lakes Visitor Center: located where highways 2 and 13 meet, this visitor center offers great information and events year round.
Have a pint o’ Guinness: at the area’s only Irish Pub, the Snug. Located in Washburn, this cozy little pub features great beer on tap, your favorite spirits, and some great fish and pub chips!
Take in a show at Stagenorth: this theater, located in Washburn, features a full bar and almost always has something going on: plays, bands, lectures, open mic nights, etc.
Drop in for a Yoga class at Humblebee: this yoga studio also offers classes ranging from African drumming to Ninjitsu!
Go sledding at Valhalla (Hell Hill): only for the brave! Up Hwy C between Washburn and Cornucopia is a great spot for sledding if you dare… there are actually two hills. The first is a somewhat mild bowl with a fun jump at the bottom. The other is a former ski jump, and is basically straight down! There’s also great snowmobiling and xc ski trails at Valhalla.
Enjoy a 5-Course Dinner at Rittenhouse Inn’s Landmark Restaurant: we don’t like to brag, but Chef Matt Chingo is special! If you are looking for a fantastic meal in a romantic atmosphere, look no further. During the quiet season, we are open for dinner on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Get Married: Innkeepers Jerry and Mark Phillips are licensed ministers, and the Inn offers special wedding and elopement packages. Contact Events Director Wendy Phillips
Wassail! This old English word was a greeting or salutation on festive occasions such as the holidays and Christmas Eve. It was also a toast, wishing good health and prosperity to a friend or neighbor. “Wassailing” usually involved spirits: spiced ale carried in a “Wassail Bowl,” (especially spiced ale), singing carols and making merry.
At Old Rittenhouse Inn, the word takes on a life of its own: Wassail Holiday Dinner Concerts, held each year in December, are 3-Course Luncheons or 5-Course Dinners paired with a concert of holiday music performed by the Rittenhouse Singers, a professional vocal choir backed by local musicians and directed by Innkeeper, Jerry Phillips.
The Inn is fully decorated for the season: her pillars are wrapped in ribbons, evergreen boughs and twinkling lights. A massive Christmas tree greets visitors in the front hall, and the holiday decorations continue inside the dining room, which seats up to 64 concert-goers.
The meals are described verbally by the maitre ‘d, and include tasty soups and salads, entrée favorites like Roast Pork Loin with Apple Cider Glaze or Champagne Chicken, and desserts like decadent Turtle Sundaes, fresh baked pies, and the classic Figgy Pudding with Crème Anglaise (laced with bourbon). There’s also the famous Rittenhouse Wassail Punch, made with Cider and cranberry juice, bourbon and spices.
Leading the show is the exuberant Jerry Phillips, who conducts his choir with seemingly limitless energy, often keeping time on tambourine, wood blocks, or bells as the singers perform throughout the Inn’s dining room and hallways.
Asked where he finds the energy, Jerry claims it comes from the audience. “They give us so much and we connect with them as well. For me, it’s a total rush. It usually takes me a week or so to come back to Earth afterwards. The singers have a lot of fun performing too. For many, it makes the holiday season. It wouldn’t be Christmas without Wassail.”
Next time: How it All Started: the History of Wassail!
Don’t miss this summer’s premier event, Concerts by the Lake, a free concert series in Memorial Park hosted by the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau. Concerts run from July 10 to August 28 on Tuesdays, 7-9pm.
Whether you like bluegrass, rock and roll, pop or indie music, Concerts by the Lake features local talents of every genre, offering a relaxing and enjoyable evening for every musical taste. Space is limited, so get to Memorial Park early with a blanket or a few lawn chairs, set up camp, and enjoy the music. After the show, swing by the Bayfield Inn’s rooftop bar for drinks overlooking Lake Superior, or take the family for ice cream at the Candy Shoppe in downtown Bayfield.
Concerts by the Lake Schedule:
July 10: Sean Okamoto (Americana)
July 17: Foreign Object (Alternative/Power Pop)
July 24: Hoff Stevens (Doo-Wop/Punk/Folk)
July 31: Yazmin and Beat Zero, featuring Bruce Bowers (Latin, Indie)
August 7: Alpha City (Alternative/Rock/Dance)
August 14: Andy Noyes and Stevie Matier (Acoustic/Groove)
August 21: Orienta Carwash (Honky Tonk/Country)
August 28: Liz Woodworth Trio (Indie/Power Pop/70s Gold)
For more information, call the Bayfield Chamber at 800-447-4094 or visit www.bayfield.org.
*In case of rain, concerts will be held at the Madeline Island Ferry Terminal.
Come celebrate the 50th Annual Festival of Arts on the weekend of July 28th and July 29th in Bayfield, Wisconsin. The festival is held at Memorial Park in downtown Bayfield and hosts over 90 Midwestern artists and a variety of events, including a live art action, fine art vendors, and local gallery tours and demonstrations.
Whether you’re an art aficionado or a newcomer to the artistic scene, the Festival of Arts is a unique and exciting experience for all. Along with selections of pottery, painting, jewelry, sculpture, glass works, wood carvings, and photography, the Festival of Arts features live music performances by festival artists and local talents, as well as festival food vendors. Enjoy the art, the music, or a snack by the lakefront. The Festival of Arts has something for everyone.
Festival of Arts Outline of Events:
Chequamegon Bay Arts Council‘s (CBAC) Live Auction: Friday, July 27th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion
Festival of Arts: Saturday, July 28th, 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, July 29th, 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Memorial Park in downtown Bayfield
Festival of Arts Gallery Tour: Saturday and Sunday at various gallery locations. Contact individual galleries for more information. Participating Galleries: DONALEE DESIGNS Silversmith, Eckels Pottery and Fine Craft Gallery, Orchard’s Edge Quilt Shop, Bates Art Barn, Water Music Jewelry & Art, Stone’s Throw, Kerr Studio & Gallery, Oulu Glass, Bayfield Inn Art Gallery, Washburn Cultural Center, Native Spirit Gifts, and Bayfield Artists’ Guild.
Come join us for a fantastic weekend of arts, music, and local culture! All events are free and open to the public.
We had such fun at our spring Red Wine Weekend on April 13-14, 2012. These are always fun events for us because the wine hosts we work with, Dennis Kohl and Gary Binter, bring so much knowledge and passion as they share their accumulated experience. This is a way to learn a great deal about wine in a short period, and have lots of fun!
The weekends always begin with a Friday night tasting party complete with appetizer buffet. This weekend, the theme was “Five Different Grape Varieties from Five Different Countries.” (Try saying that 3 times fast, after tasting five wines!) We tasted Sherwood Pinot Noir (Austrailia), Achaia Claus Domestica Red (Greece), Wollersheim Domain Du Sac (Wisconsin), Rio Perdido Malbec (Argentina) and Cepa-21 Hito (Spain). The appetizer buffet featured Flank Steak with Olive Relish, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Artisan Cheese & Sausage Platter, Bleu Cheese Torta with Red Wine and Roasted Walnuts, Brownies and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.
The grand finale to each Red Wine Weekend at Old Rittenhouse Inn’s Landmark Restaurant is the Six-Course Wine Dinner. This time, it was “Life is a Cabernet,” which pretty much speaks for itself, I think.
For the first course, we paired Santa Julia, an Argentinian (Organic) Cab, with a Grilled Scallop and Mushroom appetizer with arugula and lemon vinaigrette.
The second course was a classic Minestrone soup, a specialty of our sous chef. This richly flavored broth is filled with fresh vegetables and slivers of pasta and was a great match for the N X NW, King Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State.
The third course was an arugula and spinach salad with dried cherries, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. The spicy arugula was nicely paired with the Ferrari Carano, Sonoma cab.
Fourth course, a palate refresher! Wild blueberry port sorbet played a sweet blue note that cleared the stage for the main act.
The fifth course was a choice between savory chicken or spring lamb. The Saltimbocca di Pallo is an old Roman specialty that starts with sliced breast of hen sprinkled with sage and topped with sliced prosciutto, then sautéed in butter and braised in white wine. It’s served with a puttanesca-seasoned Rosti potato cake and lemon wine pan reduction sauce. The BR Cohn, Silver Label Sonoma cab was a good foil for a very flavorful dish!
The second entree choice was prime rack of spring lamb brushed with olive oil and crusted with herbs and Porcini mushrooms, then char-grilled to perfection and served with sweet potato gnocci and red wine demi glaçe. We served that with another favorite Cabernet Sauvignon, Buehler from Napa Valley.
For the sixth course, we offered a multi layer chocolate creme torte, presented on a chocolate cherry macaroon cookie with whipped cream and dried cherry compote. The dried cherries and chocolate were delightful with the scrumptious Layer Cake Cab from California.
So, if you are a fan of red wines, and Cabernet Sauvignons in particular, I believe you would have found this weekend to be a lot of fun. I know we did!
Ah, winter. A time to stretch out and relax, and enjoy all there is to do here during the season: skiing, skating, dogsledding, ice-fishing, hiking…. or just curl up with a book! The options are endless once you settle into the laid-back vibe that is Bayfield in winter time.
Here at the Inn, we’re also using this time to catch up on some maintenance of our lovely buildings, and dreaming up more improvements! We recently replaced the tile in several of our bathrooms and whirlpool surrounds, and are very happy with the results. We’re also finding creative ways to add elegant shelf space in our bathrooms, aided by our on-staff woodworking wizard, Don German. For those who have noticed our wonderful new sign that was installed here at the Rittenhouse Inn in summer 2011, that was Don’s work!
We’re also using this time to prepare for our upcoming Bayfield, WI events: a Red Wine Tasting on Feb 3-4, and Valentines Dining and Packages from February 10-14. After Valentines Day, we look forward to Book Across the Bay on February 18th, The American Birkebiener xc ski race on February 25, and the Bayfield Winter Carnival on March 2-4. There are so many fun reasons to come to Bayfield this time of year, we hope you’ll join us!
Of course we are offering great winter rates and lodging specials. Give us a call at 715-779-5111 and plan your winter getaway in Bayfield.
Our little Innkeeping family here at the Rittenhouse Inn is very excited for Christmas Eve this year. We have given most of the staff the weekend off to be with friends and family, so our family is cooking and serving dinner this Saturday. For this special meal, we’ll prepare favorite dishes from our 35 years. In a nod to our long tradition of verbally recited menus, we decided to describe the meal in this blog entry much the way we would describe it at your table, so here goes:
We’ll start with a few delicious soups to choose from. First is Chicken Amandine, a sweet and rich cream and chicken stock with tender cubes of chicken breast, steamed wild rice, slivered almonds and a splash of Amaretto. The other choice is a long-time favorite, the Mushroom Burgundy. Here we begin with a rich beef and veal stock, adding fresh herbs, button and shiitake mushrooms, and burgundy wine. It is a clear soup served piping hot and rich with flavor.
For the salad course, the first choice is a spicy mixed greens salad lightly seasoned and tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and dressed with goat cheese, slivered almonds, and dried cranberries. The other choice is a classic spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette, hard boiled egg, purple onion, and crumbled bacon.
The sorbet course is still up in the air as of this writing, but we are leaning toward a fresh pomegranite sorbet with champagne float.
The entrée course features five selections to choose from. First, our Roast Pork Loin with Apple Cider Glaze is slow roasted till fork tender, and is one of our long-time favorites. Poulet au Fromage is another: a white breast of hen stuffed with a trio of artisan cheeses, cream cheese, fresh herbs, and spinach. We also offer one of owner Jerry Phillips’ specialties: tender braised short ribs with a red wine and herb pan reduction, roast garlic mashers, gingered cranberries, and squash soufflé. From Lake Superior, we offer our lake trout and whitefish braids, dusted with mild cajun reddening, baked, and served with lemon vinaigrete and savory wild rice. Finally, we offer our classic Steak Bercy, a pan seared filet mignon with a sauce of garlic, shallots, veal demi glacé and red wine reduction.
Desserts include our inimitable sundaes: Hot Fudge, Rum, and Turtle. We’re also baking fresh Cherry pies and Black Bottom Bourbon pies, as well as our molten chocolate truffle cake.
Top all that off with your favorite wines and spirits, and you have a Christmas Eve Dinner to remember at Rittenhouse Inn’s Landmark Restaurant.
Your hosts for the evening are the Phillips family. Jerry will act as head chef for the evening, with his son Mark serving as sous chef. The meal will be served by Julie and Wendy, and founder and co-owner Mary will also be on hand to ensure that everything comes out just right.
If you are in the Bayfield/Washburn/Ashland Wisconsin area over the holidays, we hope you’ll consider making reservations. Seating is from 5-7:30pm on Saturday, December 24. Cost is $55/person plus beverages, tax and gratuity.
We are so pleased to offer our favorite recipes from the Rittenhouse Inn and Landmark restaurant, and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.