It isn’t often that I am given the chance to head out and explore Wisconsin as a solo act- but this past week I headed to Washburn and Bayfield sans co-pilots.
I arrived in Washburn at about 11:30 and decided to begin the day with a visit to the Washburn Historical Society. I had visited before, but this time I could take time and actually read some of the information! All along the walls they have created brief family trees of the pioneering families of the area. I am not sure why, but I was really drawn to the scrap book which contained a variety of photos of a couple who had documented numerous “brushes with fame.” They had met folks like Bob Hope, Farah Fawcett, and Arnold Palmer. It was a hoot!
The second floor houses the historical museum, the first floor is home to an antique shop with a nice collection of quilts. I did find some homemade soaps with different scents than the ones I usually see, so I snagged a few (Lake Superior Lathers- all organic and made with renewable energy sources, too!). I was getting hungry but the Chequamegon Bay Bookstore was beckoning louder than the peanutbutter and honey sandwhich in the cooler.
The Chequamegon Bookstore has towering bookshelves filled with fine used books. The sections are easily navigated and it is easy to find their well stocked Wisconsin section. Their selection includes classics and rare finds. My browsing was cut short by the heat in the store and the persuasive grumbling of my stomach.
On my way to Bayfield I stopped in to grab a site at Memorial Park in Washburn. Just $15.00 for a non-electric site!
I knew the perfect spot to read a bit and grab a sandwich, so I headed up to Bayfield. It was one of the hotter days of the year so the bench under the tree next to the Madeline Island Ferry terminal afforded a bit of cool and a great view of the lake. The book was great, but the folks on the beach were even more fun to watch.
I still had several hours before meeting some friends for dinner and a show at Big Top Chautauqua, so I set about exploring Bayfield further. I had never noticed all the cool little nooks for hiding from the heat of the day. I even came across one as I was looking around What Goes ‘Round used bookstore- cool and shady, with a multitude of books near by- Perfect!
Each year we visit Bayfield briefly before heading across to the island for a weekend of camping. In all those years we never headed down the street that is home to the Bayfield Heritage Center. I couldn’t believe my luck when I turned down that cobblestone street and it appeared! I only had a brief visit because it was near their closing time (4:00), but I thoroughly enjoyed their exhibit on the 1942 catastrophic flood of Bayfield. The truck buried in the garden out front really brought the theme of the exhibit home. The exhibits rotate about once a year. There are also several permanent exhibits, including a local barbershop recreated.
I slowly made my way up Mount Ashwaby to meet up with friends, have dinner, and indulge in a Great Big Sea concert. I was surprised to see several salads on the- including Caesar and Greek. The evening was warm and the sides of the tent were up to allow the evening breeze. The concert was awesome as always, and Alan and Sean were quite humorous with their between song conversations (Sean had been vacationing for several days in Wisconsin prior to the concert, but Alan was still confused having woken up that morning in Newfoundland).
My brush with fame came that evening as I was enjoying a beer at the Bayfield Inn on the deck. A storm blew through and all the folks not under the tent headed for cover. I started to help slide table together for folks when Alan came over, apologized for disrupting me, pulled over another table and chair, went to retrieve a towel and dried them all off for me. he also invied me to join the group, but it was growing late and tomorrow I was island bound! Too bad I didn’t have a camera at that moment- I could have started my own memory book to be placed in a museum some day!