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Bayfield Getaway

Bayfield Vocabulary: 8 Words And Phrases Every Visitor Should Know

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

If you’ve been to Bayfield before, you may already be familiar with these phrases, or perhaps you heard them, but never knew exactly what was meant. We are here to help you out with your Bayfield vocabulary and make you feel like a local – just in time for your next trek north.

When visiting Bayfield and the surrounding area, here are a few phrases and vocabulary words with which you may want to be familiar:

Chequamegon Bay where Bayfield is located1. Chequamegon (prounounced “shi-wa-me-gone”) is a Ojibwe word meaning “place of shallow water” referring to the Chequamegon Bay on which Bayfield sits. The Red Cliff Reservation, home to the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and its rich history provide many of the area’s names for places and sacred heritage locations throughout the peninsula. The Legendary Waters Casino, just three miles from Bayfield, offers an exhibit area showing Ojibwe history for those interested in the cultural background of the Ojibwe people in the area.

Ice Road in Bayfield2. Ice Road – yes, it is a real thing. Most years, Lake Superior freezes in Chequamegon Bay to the point where the Madeline Island Ferry Line must stop running boats back and forth to service Madeline Island’s year-round population.

In a “typical” year, there is about a week or two between when the ferry stops running and when the ice road is solid enough to support vehicle traffic.  During this period, a wind sled (see definition below) is used to transport islanders to and from work and school.  The ice road, once formed, actually becomes a State highway.  Locals drag discarded Christmas trees to either the mainland or island side to assist with the marking of the road in case of blowing or drifting snow.  When conditions warrant, the road is plowed.

Whitefish Livers in Bayfield3. Whitefish Livers are a local delicacy in Bayfield. A strong commercial fishing industry operates nearly year-round, providing Lake Superior whitefish and lake trout to nearby restaurants and shipping other catches such as herring and smelt to far-flung outlets. Whitefish livers really are the liver of the whitefish, similar in size and texture to a chicken liver, though known for their unique taste.

Livers (as locals shorten it) are often prepared by dredging the liver in flour or cornmeal and frying them until crispy on the outside.  Try them served with red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, and dipped in special sauce for the ultimate experience.  Maggie’s and Gruenke’s in Bayfield are just a few spots offering the delicious treat.  At least you can say you tried them!

Mushing in Bayfield4. Mushing is the term used to describe the activity of dog sledding. What’s the best way to enjoy a winter thrill you ask?  We’d assert that one way to enjoy winter is by whizzing across the glistening snow behind a team of dogs who just want to RUN! Check out the Old Rittenhouse Inn mushing packages in coordination with Wolfsong Adventures in Mushing and make plans to come see what all the fun is about!

Ice caves in Bayfield5. The famous ice caves, made popular via social media when they were accessible in the winter of 2013-14 and again the following year, are sea caves in the summer and are located on the northern tip of the Bayfield Peninsula. The caves do form each year, but as they can only be seen from the water, conditions must be just right to form ice strong enough to hold the walking public hearty enough to make the one-mile (one way) trek across the ice to view the caves.

During the summer, the mainland sea caves are accessible by boat – kayak, sailboat, motor boat – and often draw large crowds. Similarly formed caves can also be seen on others of the Apostle Islands, most notably Devil’s Island. Visitors see the Devil’s Island caves on the Grand Tour of the Apostle Islands Cruise Service.

Wind sled in Bayfield6. The wind sled is used to transport Madeline Islanders to the mainland on those years when the bay freezes enough to force the Madeline Island Ferry Line to stop running its boats. The wind sled is used in the short time (about a week or two, depending on conditions) in between the time when the ferry stops running and until the ice road opens.

The wind sled is a boat with a large motor (think of the air boats you might see in the Everglades) meant to skim across the top of the ice but will float if met with thin ice. It’s a noisy operation, but those living full-time on Madeline Island depend on this important form of transportation to go between the mainland and the island.

7. Off-season is the term used to describe the period of time, typically between the Annual Bayfield Apple Festival and Memorial Day (give or take), when life slows down in Bayfield. Areas businesses move to weekend hours and special rates on overnight stays go into effect.  Winter activities and festivities fill many weekends throughout the off-season.  Some visitors specifically plan their trips to the area for the off-season to avoid the large crowds and the risk of sunburn…

Ghost Boat in Bayfield8. Ghost boat refers to the last Madeline Island Ferry Line trip of the night – often an unscheduled boat allowing the MIFL to put their boats in place for the next morning’s trips.  As these trips are unscheduled, it’s not recommended that visitors count on their being “one last boat” either to or from Madeline Island.  However, those in the know can be saved from being stranded on one side of the water or the other by the ghost boat on any given summer night.

Once you’ve mastered your Bayfield vocabulary (these terms and phrases being only a few), be sure to plan your next trip north to try out your new-found knowledge on the locals. Unless we happen to glimpse your license plates or detect a hint of an accent, we might just think you’re a summer local who knows their stuff!

When think you’re ready to try out your Bayfield vocabulary, book a getaway to our elegant Bayfield bed and breakfast. And of course, any time you have questions on terms or are looking for recommendations on what to do in the area – any time of year – the friendly staff at the Old Rittenhouse Inn stand ready to assist! Book online today!

Three Day Itinerary for Family Vacations in Wisconsin

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Day 1

Bayfield, WI family vacation ideas
Day 2

  • Enjoy a two-course gourmet breakfast, included with your reservation
  • Pick up your picnic lunch from the Rittenhouse kitchen before you leave or from Wild by Nature Deli
  • Take in the lake breezes and beautiful island views on the Apostle Islands Cruises Grand Tour, or get dropped off by the Apostle Islands Cruises shuttle at the Raspberry Island Lighthouse, take a tour, and a quick hike to the beach before catching the return boat
  • Have lunch at the Pier Plaza restaurant overlooking the Bayfield dock and marina
  • Head back to the Old Rittenhouse Inn for a nap, reading, and relaxing on the front porch or meander back through the designated favorite shops in downtown Bayfield
  • Jump 15 minutes down the road to Washburn to enjoy a wood fired pizza and other delicacies on the outdoor patio of DaLou’s Bistro

luxury getaway in Bayfield, WI with lake-view rooms
Day 3

  • Take a hike and let the kiddos work off some energy on the Brownstone Trail (a short trot from the Inn) or for those more adventurous, the Frog Bay Tribal National Park, Jerry Jolly, Houghton Falls or Meyers Beach trails
  • Experience lunch at Maggie’s where there’s plenty to look at and daily specials abound. If you’re brave, try the whitefish livers appetizer, a local delicacy
  • Head into the Bayfield hills where you will find a variety of orchards and, depending on the time of year, either ready-picked or pick-your own berries and fruit. Take in the views from Blue Vista Farm, visit the Country Store at Erickson’s Orchards or sample local wines at Hauser’s Superior View Farm
  • Make any final purchases at Bayfield’s finest shops or visit the Apostle Islands Visitor’s Center, only a block from the Rittenhouse Inn, to learn even more about the area and the Apostle Islands
  • Sit back and relax over a leisurely dinner at our Landmark Restaurant (either a night out for mom and dad or a one-of-a-kind experience for the whole family). Options include a la carte ordering or the signature five-course gourmet meal for a fixed price.  The pork chop is a long-time house favorite!

Wisconsin berry orchards
Day 4

Nosh on one final Rittenhouse Inn breakfast before checking out and heading home with all memories, photos, and list of things to do on your next visit in hand!

Five Ideas For the Perfect Romantic Getaway in Wisconsin

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Are you celebrating an anniversary? Or are you looking for the perfect place to propose? Whatever your special or romantic occasion, Bayfield has a lot to offer. Here are our top five suggestions for your perfect romantic getaway in Wisconsin!

#1 Indulge by adding the Romance Package to your stay

Upon check-in at the Old Rittenhouse Inn, you will find a fresh floral arrangement to surprise your sweetheart. Enjoy chocolate-dipped strawberries as you toast sparkling wine and celebrate your special occasion. Take in a delectable meal in the Rittenhouse’s Landmark Restaurant with a voucher included in your package. Then take dessert back to your room to further sweeten your romantic evening.

champagne and strawberries

#2 Book a sailing trip and cruise around the islands

Your Dreamcatcher Sailing captain can provide as much or as little narration as you desire, allowing you to take in the pristine lake views and island scenery. Pick up a picnic lunch from the Fat Radish and delight in scrumptious food sourced right from the Bayfield area. Bayfield Wine and Spirits can help you select the perfect bottle of wine to complement your perfect romantic getaway in Wisconsin.

sailing in Bayfield, Wisconsin

#3  Rent bicycles and head out to Big Bay Town Park

After walking onto the Madeline Island Ferry, rent bicycles or mopeds at Motion to Go and head out to Big Bay Town Park. With your books and a picnic lunch in hand (the Madeline Island Food Truck is one option), walk the short distance to the pristine Big Bay Town Park beach and enjoy an afternoon of reading, lake gazing, dipping in the refreshing lake, and/or hiking between the state and town parks. Before departing from Madeline Island, grab a beverage at the unbeatable people-watching spot of Tom’s Burned Down Café or on the waterfront patio of The Beach Club.

sunset cruise on a weekend getaway in Wisconsin

#4 Take a Cruise to Raspberry Island Lighthouse

When planning your romantic getaway in Wisconsin, make sure to reserve your tickets for the Apostle Islands Cruises Raspberry Island Lighthouse Keeper Tour. The boat will take you to Raspberry Island where an Apostle Islands National Lakeshore volunteer will take you back in time with a tour of the Raspberry Island Lighthouse and grounds. Post tour, hike the twenty or so minutes to the beach before returning for the cruise home. Pack your own snacks and beverages or purchase light fare on board the cruise boat.

island visits from Bayfield during weekend getaway in Wisconsin

#5 Delight your sweetheart by shopping in Bayfield

You’ll find an eclectic mix of quaint locally-made goods at the Artist’s Guild, outdoor essentials at Howl, fine art at Stone’s Throw, Scandinavian fare at Joanne’s, jewelry at Silverwaves, unique gifts at Brownstone Centre, and books from Apostle Island Booksellers. Of course you’ll need a break, so head to  Big Water Coffee for freshly roasted coffee.

wine shopping in Bayfield

What are you waiting for? With these five ideas, your perfect romantic getaway in Wisconsin is already planned! Book your stay at our romantic bed and breakfast in one of our guest rooms or suites and experience all that Bayfield has to offer.

Top 5 Ways to Experience Wisconsin Fall Colors

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Seeing the gorgeous Wisconsin fall colors this year is a must! Once you witness the fall foliage against the backdrop of Lake Superior’s pristine blue waters, you won’t want your weekend getaway in Northern Wisconsin to end. When you stay at our Bayfield WI bed and breakfast, you can enjoy everything the season has to offer, including these seasonal activities.

View of Bayfield in the fall from a boat on lake superior

1. Bayfield’s Annual Apple Festival

Each year nearly 50,000 people come from around the midwest come to Bayfield to experience and sample all things apple. From apple cider and apple brats to apple pies, visitors will enjoy food, friends, a parade, grandstand entertainment, and the beautiful Bayfield area. The Bayfield Apple Fest 2019 will take place on October 4, 5 and 6. Lodging in town is already booking up so don’t delay!

Booking Tip: Old Rittenhouse Inn offers a variety of hotel packages to ensure a relaxing and romantic Wisconsin getaway. Enjoy discounted rates, special amenities, great hospitality, and gourmet meals.

People gathering at the Bayfield Apple Festival

2. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Cruising among the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore provides a unique way to view the seasonal foliage. In this area of Wisconsin, the trees typically change color two weeks later, which means even if you can’t get to the Bayfield area until mid to late October, you can still experience the beauty of fall on the lake.  Just don’t wait too long – it can get chilly that time of year and Apostle Islands Cruises typically stops running mid-October.

3. Walk, Bike or Hike Wisconsin this Fall

Nothing rejuvenates the spirit like hiking or biking through a bounty of fall colors. The Bayfield area offers many adventurous hiking and biking trails for a variety of skill levels. Each hike or bike trails provide guests with plenty of opportunities to see the fall colors up close and from high-up viewpoints. When you stay at Rittenhouse you are just a few short minutes away from popular trails the whole family will love!

View of lake superior during the fall

4. Fall on Lake Superior

Sailing or kayaking amongst the Apostle Islands is another great way to see the beautiful changing of the leaves. As noted, with the timing of peak color about two weeks later near the islands, your adventure on the water can provide a range of color viewing. We are lucky enough to be located right on the lake, so doing these activities is easy and convenient.

5. Autumn Waterfalls

Feeling extra adventurous? Located around our beautiful Bayfield inn, several waterfalls can be found in Ashland County! Couples enjoying a romantic weekend getaway in Wisconsin can hike to a more secluded waterfall to revel in the beauty of color. For those wishing to enjoy several falls in one afternoon without the hassle of hiking, individuals can hop in their car and venture to multiple viewing areas to see waterfalls and the gorgeous foliage. Check out this quick guide for planning your Wisconsin waterfall adventure this fall!

Fall Trip Tip: Great information about when and where to see fall color is easy to find. As the fall color season nears, be sure to check out Bayfield Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Color Report. The report is updated regularly toward the end of the summer season as the trees begin to change and can provide valuable information about when and where to see the best color. Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources also provides a fall color report worth checking.

Local Bayfield Wisconsin

Whether you are seeking adventure, quiet relaxation, a chance to go birding, or just visit a place visit the Lake Superior in fall, Bayfield’s welcoming doors are open wide. The stunning fall colors offer the perfect excuse to plan your next getaway and Old Rittenhouse Inn.

We look forward to making your stay in Bayfield a pleasant one!

Five Reasons Bayfield and The Apostle Islands are Great for Kayaking

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Bayfield, Wisconsin and the Apostle Islands offer fantastic options for kayakers of all ability levels. Whether you have your own kayaks and want to venture out on your own, or you are a novice seeking a guide and package offerings, kayaking in Bayfield is a great experience for everyone! Our great town has plenty of outfitters to help you plan a memorable trip. Below are the five reasons we believe kayaking in Bayfield and the Apostle Islands is a great option for travelers.

Couple kayaking in Bayfield1.Gorgeous views… The mainland sea caves off Meyers Beach were made famous during the winter of 2013-2014 thanks to social media.  The sea caves, naturally carved brownstone, provide a beautiful backdrop to Lake Superior and offer the option of paddling in and out whole staying relatively near the shore.  Paddlers traveling on their own should exercise extreme caution when paddling in and around the caves.

2. The excitement of the big lake… Lake Superior is known as “The Boss” in these parts.  Weather and lake conditions can change on a dime.  The summer months (June – September) offer conditions ranging from calm to treacherous and everything in between.  Experienced paddlers may embrace the challenge of the big lake while novice paddlers are wise to rely on a guide to judge lake conditions and offer alternative routes in calmer waters when warranted.

View while kayaking in Bayfield3. Pristine waters… As the largest fresh water lake in the world (as measured by surface area), Lake Superior can be crystal clear on the right day.  Provided the winds haven’t whipped up the waves, paddlers can enjoy views of the lake bottom, ship wrecks, and the beauty of nature’s creations through the clear water.

4. Camping galore… The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers a variety of camping sites both along the mainland and on several of the 22 Apostle Islands. Advanced reservations are encouraged.  Paddlers may choose to reserve a campsite on one of the inner ring islands and paddle themselves or use the Apostle Islands Area Cruise Service for transport to outer islands from which further paddling adventures can be made amongst those outer islands.

5. Wildlife in abundance… The Bayfield and Apostle Islands area is home to an abundance of wildlife.  A plethora of birds, whitetail deer, fox, black bear, fish, coyote, beaver, and otter are among the wildlife making their home in the area.  Eagles are spotted often amongst the Apostle Islands and other creature sightings are not uncommon.

Group Kayaking in BayfieldExperience the beauty of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands by planning your next trip to the northern shores of Wisconsin. During your strip. stay with us at our romantic Bayfield, WI bed and breakfast. We offer 20 guest rooms and a private cottage with fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and spectacular Lake Superior views. Book online today!

Be sure to check out our great kayaking packages when planning your stay and refer to the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce’s listing of outfitters in the area. The Old Rittenhouse Inn website, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce can also provide helpful information. If you are heading out on your own please be sure to file your itinerary with the appropriate local organizations and check, double-check, and re-check the weather before heading out.