Over the weekend, Darrin and I hit the road for Bayfield, WI with visions of the Apostle Island Ice Caves dancing in our heads. Sure, my nose was stuffier than a nursing home and my cough sounded like 12 angry sea lions, but we had packed our wool socks and warm sweaters and favorite snow boots and were ready for some outdoor winter exploration. We’re Minnesotans, goll darn it! We blossom and thrive in frigid temperatures. Jack Frost says “Jump!” and we say “Over how many inches of snow?!”. A little chest and sinus cold doesn’t bother us anyway…(cue the Pixar-animated icicles shooting from my hands).
Unfortunately for us, the ice caves we had been dreaming about have yet to become a reality this year. The temperatures near Madeline Island on Lake Superior have been warmer than usual, so the ice caves were nonexistent when we arrived. Total bummer. But we had a cozy room at The Bayfield Inn overlooking a frozen Lake Superior, and the lake shore town was quiet and all kinds of charming, so we weren’t too heartbroken about the ice caves…or lack thereof.
And alright, I’ll confess that my stuffy and runny sinuses might have metaphorically dropped to their knees and thanked the good Lord that they didn’t have to spend an entire afternoon outdoors in the cold and windy temperatures. Darn you, winter illnesses…
Darrin and I spent Saturday morning at Big Water Coffee Roasters, which looks like it came straight out of a Pottery Barn magazine. The coffee was delicious, and we sat at the window sharing coffee cake and listening to the town regulars talk about the weather patterns and ice fishing and those disappointing Green Bay Packers.
That puppy in the window kept his eye on us through every sip of coffee and bit of cake. I was definitely not sharing. And he definitely knew it. There was tension.
We spent part of our morning walking through town and exploring the docks. Our cloudy morning gave us a view of vast whites and greys over the lake that was both eerie and calming. We had nothing on our to-do list but to wander and talk and wander and talk. We ducked into a local bookstore to warm up for a short while, browsed a few books featuring strangely staged dog portraits, and then ventured back into the winter temperatures for some more wandering and talking and exploring the town. Sometimes we were silent and just held hands. And that was nice too.
Bayfield is usually bustling during the summer and winter tourist seasons. People visit in the summer to ferry across Lake Superior to Madeline Island, or they’ll take a trip across the ice to view the caves. But we encountered a quiet and almost empty town during our weekend visit, which was just what we needed.
I’ve got a few more photos to share from our relaxing weekend in Bayfield, so stay tuned!