Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bayfield for the Weekend


Don't mind me, just over here reliving the memories of an awesome weekend spent with Andi, Tory, Aden and my mother-in-law, Janie. The five of us soaked in every moment of the gorgeous fall weather this weekend on the shores of Lake Superior in Bayfield, Wisconsin. Our lake cabin is in the midst of remodel, so mid-last week Andi and I decided spur-of-the-moment to take a mini weekend getaway somewhere new to relax and reconnect as a family.

If you've never been before, Bayfield, WI is an awesome place to visit. Its shoreline views of Lake Superior are absolutely breathtaking and make it feel like you're on the ocean. In reality, you're no more than four hours away from the Twin Cities. Bayfield's small-town charm, quaint restaurants, shops and harbor area are unforgettable. Seriously. I'd only been to Bayfield one other time (last summer on our RV adventure) and even though the weather was so gloomy and cold during that visit I knew, without a doubt, I wanted to go back to Bayfield one day.

Sunday morning sunrise over downtown Bayfield

Our first stop Friday afternoon was by the lake cabin to meet with our contractor and get an update on the remodeling process. The new flooring, paint, doors and trim are coming together so nicely! Andi and I are really anxious for everything to be completed in the next few weeks. My MIL, Janie, drove up separately from the Cities and met us at the cabin Friday evening, then the five of us together drove North to Bayfield. We pulled into town around 9:00pm that evening and it was really a shame we couldn't see the beautiful view as we entered into town. The kids were so great on the drive up -- Aden slept most of the time and Tory played with Janie in the backseat. Of course, she drifted off to sleep just as we were pulling into Bayfield but it didn't mess up bedtime too much. Everyone was dog-tired, so we crashed into bed soon after our arrival.

The summer and fall seasons in Bayfield are super busy and the town's not very big, so we were lucky to score an amazing house to rent in downtown Bayfield. It was called The Hendrickson House and is just four blocks away from the water front. In fact, when Andi and I woke up Saturday morning, we gazed out the wall of windows in the upstairs master bedroom and saw a gorgeous view of Lake Superior. The house was cute and modern, clean, and had all the amenities we needed for the kids. Perfect!

The Hendrickson House - Lake Superior Rentals

Tory and Aden awoke bright and early Saturday morning, so the five of us ventured a few blocks down the street to Egg Toss for a hot breakfast. It was a quintessential breakfast joint. Eggs, hash browns, toast, omelets ... blue hairs as far as the eye could see. The food was made from scratch and super hearty; service was fast and friendly. Egg Toss was a great place to start our day.

Morning walk to breakfast

I dressed everyone warm (well, the kids and I -- Andi dresses himself) because I did not believe temperatures up North on the water would be as warm as they were predicting. But, surprisingly (happily! wonderfully!), the weather was warm and sunny and perfect for a day spent exploring in a new town. Tory and I quickly shed these layers on the walk to breakfast.

Later Tory said, "One day, we can go to breakfast at the egg place again." Big round blueberry pancakes the size of her head must've made a good impression on our girl!

After breakfast, Janie offered to take Aden back to the house for his morning nap while Andi, Tory and I explored downtown Bayfield together. Have I mentioned how convenient it is to travel with Grandma? So thankful for Janie! So, Andi, Tory and I set off to explore. We spent some time down at the pier and found a kid's playground nearby overlooking the water. And, of course, we stopped by The Candy Shoppe on our walk back to the Hendrickson House. We bought a few chocolate turtle clusters and sea salt caramels, and Tory was so excited to bring them back to Grandma. Andi and I had a fun morning with our little-big girl.

The weather was more beautiful than we could've ever hoped for a late September day on the North Shore. After our walk down by the pier, Andi was itching to spend time on the water so he phoned PMG Charters and arranged a private boat tour of the Apostle Islands for the afternoon. With our last minute booking, the only time available was 11:30pm - 2:30pm which fell right over nap time (of course!), but Andi and I decided to roll with it anyway. What's the worst that could happen? The kids scream and carry on while being strapped in life jackets on the middle of Lake Superior? Ummm...

We rented a 22' Boston Whaler which was perfect for our small group. It left from the boat landing in downtown Bayfield and we toured several of the Apostle Islands including Basswood, Oak and Manitou. We stopped on Manitou and hiked for a bit, then continued on our tour to see a few sea caves and rock formations. It was an amazing way to see the islands up close, and so different than our foggy visit to Madeline Island last summer.

Aden looks uncomfortable in his life jacket, but he was actually really happy and content all afternoon. I'll admit, I wasn't the best parent in making him wear his life vest all summer at the lake so I was nervous I'd end up holding a screaming baby the entire time. But, nope. Aden is so cheerful about most things, and he was just fine wearing an infant neck squeezer life jacket. I love my chill little dude.  

Both Tory and Aden did so well on the boat all afternoon. Half-way through the journey, Tory fell asleep in my arms and even stayed asleep when I transferred her into Janie's arms (grandma to the rescue, again!) while Andi, Aden and I hiked on Manitou Island. Shortly thereafter, Aden fell asleep in my arms, too, and both kids slept the last half-hour of our ride. There must've been something about the low vibration and white noise of the boat that put the kids right to sleep. I'll take it!

A rare moment with just our boy while hiking on Manitou Island

Tory and Andi skipping rocks by the lakeshore

After the boat excursion, the five of us headed back to The Hendrickson House to have a bite to eat. Earlier in the day, Andi had gone to the The Fat Radish to grab picnic items for our boating adventure, but something about holding two sleeping kids in our arms and the bouncing waves of Lake Superior didn't bode well for dining by boat. Go figure! No problem, though; Andi plated up our take-out items at home and we enjoyed a lovely late afternoon lunch on the backyard patio. 

We didn't want to miss a minute of the gorgeous fall weather we were having, so everyone loaded into the car and we drove about 10 minutes south of Bayfield to Bayview Park where we spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach. 

The beach was practically deserted, so we spread out a blanket and sand toys and let Tory run wild. The water was freezing cold, but the warm sunshine made playing in the sand the perfect afternoon activity. I honestly should've been more prepared because both Tory and Aden were covered in sand within minutes. Aden shoveled handfuls of sand into his mouth faster than I could stop him. 

After all the go-go-go of the day, everyone was so tired by dinnertime. Andi suggested we order take-out, and Janie and I agreed. We ordered chicken fajitas, a Mediterranean salad, and Napa pizza to share from Maggie's and walked a few blocks down from our rental to pick it up. This restaurant is one of the top-rated in town, and we heard later there was a two-hour wait for food that evening (!!!). It worked perfectly for us to grab food to-go and eat it on our backyard patio where the kids could play and the adults could enjoy dinner without the hassle. 

Andi and I did sneak away after the kids were in bed for a cocktail on the town. Neither of us were feeling loud music or dive bars, so we found a spot on the Rittenhouse Inn wrap-around porch and ordered an Old Fashioned (for him) and French 75 (for her). It was the perfect place to unwind together after a fun and busy day. 

Back at it bright and early Sunday morning.... Andi grabbed coffee and breakfast pastries from Big Water Coffee located just down the street from our rental house. Sensing a theme here? It was so convenient to walk almost everywhere over our weekend stay in Bayfield. Andi, Janie and I enjoyed breakfast on the back patio again, then Andi and I packed up our things while Janie entertained the kiddos. We drove a short distance to Erickson Orchard and spent the remainder of the morning picking apples. Believe it or not, it was my first time picking apples (I've been to orchards plenty of times, but never picked my own crop). It was as much fun as I'd imagined. 

The apple orchard wasn't busy at all on this gorgeous fall morning, and I was so surprised. Andi said it was likely because there are so many orchards to choose from in the small town of Bayfield. Whatever the case, I loved having the place to ourselves and picking Cortland apples with my little crew. 

This employee invited Tory to help pack apples. She marched right up there and stood on an apple crate to assist him. Afterwards with a tear in his eye, he told Andi and I to "enjoy every moment because it all goes so fast..." Sometimes, it can be a little annoying when people give parents this same ol' spiel, but there was something so sweet and endearing hearing it come from this big brute of a guy.

After the orchard, we headed out of town toward the lake cabin (where Janie's car was parked) and then finally in route back to the Twin Cities. Our drive home was a little long, but thankfully Janie entertained the kids in the backseat and it wasn't too incredibly painful. We stopped for lunch at the Brickhouse Cafe in Cable, Wisconsin somewhere along the way and finally made it home around 5:00pm. 

Loved our time in Bayfield, Wisconsin over the weekend! Looking forward to another visit sometime soon.  


  1. I love your fun weekends away - this one looks like it was just relaxing and yet you squeezed so much into it. Seriously your kiddos are going to have the best memories!

  2. Agreed, these pictures are great! This totally makes me want to go back and stay in town. Last time I was there we stayed in some cabins that were a mile or two out of town (they were awesome), but it's nice to stay someplace where you can walk.

  3. Such a great weekend. Love it.