I travel frequently for work, and lately I’ve been traveling the weekends when I’m home. I guess travel is in my blood. My husband humors me and tells me to just pick a place and we’ll go.
As I’ve mentioned before, I no longer try to put off things until “someday.” So, a recent 6-hour drive took us to somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, to the Apostle Islands, the tippy-top of the State of Wisconsin.
Mother nature provided us with quite the show that weekend. Not only did we have perfect scenery from our hotel room, overlooking Lake Superior, but there happened to be a surprise in store.
The big news while we were there, was the prediction for a strong showing of the northern lights. We sat on the patio off the back of our hotel room and watched the spectacular display in the cool night air.
Fortunately for us, we had chosen a hotel out of the city, away from the light pollution. Unfortunately for me, cell phones don’t take very good photos of the northern lights, and out of convenience I left my good camera at home. You’ll have to take my word for it, regarding the display.
I guess it’s better that way, the northern lights have always evoked a feeling of awe and majesty within me that cannot be captured in a photo. For me, it has been better sometimes to remember the feeling of an event, rather than the visual.
The next day we explored Ashland WI, with its picturesque downtown and decapod steam train display. One weekend was not enough to explore it all.
We visited the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center – well worth the trip – and we waded in the chilly waters of Lake Superior at Maslowski Park. It was one of those places where one is meant to just sit, relax, look out over the lake and take in the beauty of it all.
We then headed up to Bayfield, WI where we had an incredible lunch at The Pickled Herring, consisting of delicious whitefish and tender trout. I love exploring the local fare, rather than eating at chains. Feed me your local specialties!
After lunch we hopped aboard a glass-bottomed boat called the Superior Princess, for a tour of the Apostle Islands. While many people chose to sit below to be protected from the wind and sun, we chose to sit above and enjoy the chilly lake air and watch eagles dive for fish, as we motored from island to island.
It took us about an hour and a half to finally reach the upper-most point of Wisconsin, Devil’s Island. There, we enjoyed views of the lighthouse which opened in 1901 and is still staffed with volunteers from the National Park Service.
On the north side of Devil’s island, is a bounty of “sea caves” carved out of the rock from the relentless pounding of the waves. When it is calm enough, kayakers weave in and out of the caves to explore.
The “golden hour” was beginning as we continued on with our cruise. We puttered past several other islands until coming to Raspberry Island and its lighthouse which opened in 1863.
During our tour, our captain told humorous stories of the region, such as Bayfield’s infamous sinking house – a vacation home that sunk as it was being moved across the ice to Madeline Island.
He was also knowledgeable of much of the history of the area, being a life-long resident. I can’t remember enjoying a boat tour and the accompanying stories as much as I had this one.
All too quickly, our weekend was over, but we were left rejuvenated and relaxed with plans to return in winter, to visit the area’s famous ice caves.
Summer may be over in the north, but soon my travels will bring me to the brutal heat of the south, with its deserts, snakes and scorpions. Let’s hope a bit of the north travels with me.