Scenic Byway and Orchards
Episode 11 Show Notes
(July 2018) On this episode of Bayfield County Wild, Co-hosts Nancy Christopher and Mary Motiff, director of Bayfield County Tourism, speak with Fred Erickson, the third generation owner of Erickson’s Orchard, one of the area’s oldest and largest apple orchards and berry farms. They discuss the history of Fred’s family business and the upcoming Strawberry Festival, as well as other fun events happening throughout the month of July.
Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway
It’s a spectacular time of year to enjoy the outdoors in Bayfield County! One of the best ways to explore the area is to drive the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway, a 70-mile stretch of State Highway 13 that goes up and around the Bayfield peninsula. But don’t just assume you’re getting the whole experience from the road alone: What’s truly magical is the natural, cultural, geographical and historical beauty surrounding it. There are kiosks within each community along the byway, which provide maps, guides and other information so take your time, pull over and explore! More at the Lake Superior byway website.
Experience Bayfield Culture
There are many ways to experience the history and culture of Bayfield County during the summer, including:
- The reservation of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is located three miles north of Bayfield. Experiencing the serenity of Frog Bay Tribal National Park, the lakefront campgrounds and the fun to be had at Legendary Waters Resort and Casino are all recommended.
- The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is open daily and has interactive exhibits, an observation tower, movie theater, historical archives, gift shop and more.
- The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is truly a sight to behold. The National Lakeshore is home to the largest collection of lighthouses in North America, and there are tours and cruises available to give you incredible views. The visitor center at the Park headquarters (located in a beautiful old brownstone building) also shows a great documentary about the islands, and offers other resources and interpretive opportunities. A new visitor center is currently being built at Little Sand Bay.
- A huge part of the history and culture of Bayfield County can be experienced at Big Top Chautauqua, a legendary music and performance venue. Their house shows are based on the history and culture of the area, telling a story and entertaining attendees with songs and visuals. This is all above and beyond their vast concert lineup every summer, attracting some of the biggest names in music!
Fred Erickson’s grandparents, Martin and Christine, planted their first apple tree around the turn of the century (circa 1910). In 1954, Fred’s parents Jim and Muriel took over the orchard, with Muriel crafting her renowned apple cider donuts. Today, Fred and his family have about 15 different apple varieties on the oldest and largest apple and berry farm in Bayfield County, as well as plums, peaches, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. They also have a couple of shops on premises, plus they make about 14,000 gallons of apple cider per year through their processing plant! Homemade jams, jellies and their new hard cider are also available.
USA Today has named the Bayfield Apple Festival one of the 10 best fall harvest fests in the country. Fred’s dad Jim had come up with the idea for the festival, which launched in 1963, due to a flat tire. While broken down in Duluth on the way to North Dakota, people gathered around to try Jim’s apples and they couldn’t believe they were grown in Bayfield. So instead of bringing apples out of town, Jim had the thought of putting on a festival to attract people to Bayfield. Now, the festival brings over 60,000 people to Bayfield and it’s truly a community-wide event.
The Strawberry Festival dates back to 1936 but had not been a consistent annual event. About two years ago, Fred brought the fest back to coincide with the peak of the year’s berry crop. The festival takes place July 6, 7 and 8 this year, and features specialty food items, vendors, artisans, live music and anything that has to do with strawberries.
There is so much to do in Bayfield County during the dog days of summer!
July 2 – 6: Bayfield is a world-class sailing destination and no time is that more apparent than during Bayfield Race Week at Wayzata Yacht Club. So take in an international sailing race on the south shore of Lake Superior!
July 4: There’s plenty of fun to be had on our nation’s birthday, so visit travelbayfieldcounty.com and click “Seasonal Fun” for a list of all the various fireworks displays and other gatherings during the Fourth of July.
July 6 – 8: The 40th Annual Red Cliff Traditional Pow-Wow features traditional drums, singing and dances, as well as delicious food, craft vendors, games and prizes.
July 7: Grab a paddle and join the five or ten-mile Vatten Paddlar Canoe, Kayak and SUP Races in Barnes, on northwestern Wisconsin’s most beautiful chain of lakes.
July 14: The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) will hold their Longass Ride through the woods and endless trails of the Chequamegon area. These 20 or 40-mile jaunts are non-competitive, so hop on your bike and enjoy without the pressure of a race.
July 21: Celebrate our big lake at Lake Superior Day in Port Wing! Everett’s Fisheries will open for tours, a Coast Guard boat will be on display and there will be bird and sea cave presentations during this festival.
July 21 – 22: Bayfield’s Festival of Arts and Gallery Tour focuses on our community’s unique connection to the arts. There’s a live art auction, fine art vendors and local gallery tours and demonstrations. Visitors will find a wide selection of pottery, paintings, jewelry, sculptures, glass works, wood carvings, photography and much more.
July 26 – 29: The annual Iron River Blueberry Festival takes place at Moon Lake Park. Check out the cardboard boat races, craft vendor market, live music, rides and games, and of course – blueberries.
July 27 – 29: Washburn will throw their community-wide Brownstone Block Party, featuring fireworks, live music, auctions, food, car show, paddleboard races and everything in between.
Throughout July and August: The Corny Summer Concert Series in Cornucopia features live outdoor music each Thursday evening from 6 – 9pm on the grounds of the Cornucopia Sweet Shop.
Be sure to check out next month’s episode where we dive into what area lakeside resorts have to offer!
If you want to learn more about Bayfield County, be sure to subscribe to our podcasts. Get a little WILD at travelbayfieldcounty.com, and don’t forget to explore our interactive map.
Morty’s Pub – A warm and welcoming old-fashioned pub, established in 1935. Located in the heart of downtown Bayfield (just a block from the lake), Morty’s serves Lake Superior Whitefish, caught fresh daily, as well as cheese-curds, fresh (never frozen) burgers and deep-fried Twinkies. Enjoy pinball, classic video games, pool, board games and cards while playing some tunes on the jukebox.
Birch Grove Campground –16 beautiful campsites nestled between East Twin Lake and West Twin Lake in Washburn. Each campsite offers parking, a fire ring, picnic tables, tent pads and RV accommodations up to 35 feet. Check out the interpretive trail for hunting, mountain biking, hiking or horse riding, and get ready to fish for bass and northern pike.
Jim’s Bait Shop & Convenience Store – Forget something, or have some last-minute shopping to do while staying in Bayfield County? No worries! Jim’s in Barnes isn’t just bait and tackle. From ice cream to recommendations, their friendly and helpful staff will be glad to assist.
Telemark Condos – A year-round Northwoods adventure destination and playground, offering comfortable, spacious and affordable accommodations as well as time-share opportunities. Condos are available for 2-6 guests, and are equipped with full kitchens, a dining area and living room. There’s plenty of adventure nearby, like ATVing, golf and biking during the summer, as well as snowmobiling, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing during the winter.