Celebrating Apple Season in Bayfield
One of the quintessential fall experiences in the North is spending a cool day at an apple orchard celebrating all things apple - fresh from the tree, squeezed in cider, mixed in donuts, and baked in pies. No one knows how to do apple season the way Bayfield, Wisconsin does. With their famous Apple Festival coming up, we have put together a perfect day trip to Bayfield to take in the beauty of the season.
October 6th - 8th, 2017
Hailed as one of the “10 Best Fall Harvest Festivals in the Nation” in 2015 by USA TODAY, the annual Apple Festival is a celebration of the autumn harvest and Bayfield’s agricultural heritage. It is the perfect way to experience all things apple in one place. Grab a cup of coffee from Big Water Coffee Roasters (we LOVE their Applefest blend) and stroll through downtown Bayfield to enjoy local artisans, music, kids activities, a parade, and every kind of apple recipe you can imagine. Check out the festival website for the schedule of events.
Bayfield’s infamous “Fruit Loop” offers the perfect microclimate for growing fruit - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and the star of the fall season - apples. Keep an eye on the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce’s Berry Farm and Orchard Report for when and where to find your favorite apple variety. Our suggestion is to get lost on a few side roads and find your own apple treasures (think abandoned orchards and sweeping views of the big Lake), but here are a few of our favorite apple orchard experiences:
Apple Hill Orchard: They have a great selection of fresh apples, but the real treat here is their roadside stand that sells delicious caramel apples. Farmers Bill and Claudia Ferraro are also the Grand Marshals of Applefest this year, so they have the scoop on the best of the festival!
Blue Vista Farm: Pick certified organic apples (MOSA certified) while soaking in the views of Lake Superior. Does it get any better than that? Oh wait... Housed in an old barn, their farm store is chock full of local products, cute kitchen items, and is a cookbook collector's heaven.
Bayfield Apple Co.: This organically managed farm is your destination for all things apple: apple butter, apple mustard, and apple cider. If you visit during Applefest, they are having their inaugural Art Fair at the orchard where you can visit some of the area's many creatives while you enjoy apples.
Erickson’s Orchard and Country Store: This is your stop for all things apple, especially fresh apple cider doughnuts - buy a dozen (yes, a dozen, trust us), and if you manage to drive all of the way home without eating all of them, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert or serve with greek yogurt and honey for breakfast. You won’t be sorry.
After all things apple, make one of our favorite recipes - Baked Apples Spiced Oatmeal.
Fall Color Views
A fall trip to the shores of Lake Superior wouldn’t be complete without taking in the beauty of the fall colors. We suggest a hike to the top of Mt. Ashwabay. About two miles south of town, head up Ski Hill Road. Follow the signs for Big Top Chautauqua, parking near the tent and ski hill offices. There are a few trails to the top, but we suggest hiking straight up the ski runs. Explore a bit for the perfect view of the Apostle Islands, fall colors, and neighboring farmland.
Skip the crowds of Apple Festival and head past Bayfield to one of our favorite hidden spots - Cornucopia. Stop en route for a hike at Meyers Beach to walk above the famous sea caves, then hop back in the car and continue along the shore to tiny Cornucopia (or “Corny” to the locals). Stop at Cornucopia Coffee + Sweet Shoppe for a cup of coffee and something sweet. Bonus: you can stay overnight at their Sweet Retreat, an adorable apartment above the shop. End your trip at Ehler’s Store, the perfect place for organic produce, delicious homemade treats (we love the blackberry balsamic jam for our cheese boards), and souvenirs.
On the way out of Town
If you are not completely filled up on apple goodness, make a stop at Wild Rice Restaurant to sit at the bar and enjoy appetizers + a glass of wine. This is going to be your last chance to check out their incredible atmosphere for fine dining; they are closing their doors on October 14th. Finally, stop by the little store called The Hitching Post just south of Bayfield. It is truly a hidden gem for finding a unique gift for family + friends (or for yourself!). Run by two retired school teachers, George and Kathy Klein, Kathy makes quilts and George creates wood carvings. Ranging from realistic to whimsical, George’s creations are absolutely incredible and he is always willing to show you his workshop. Pick up an afternoon treat, stop into Tetzner's Dairy, an honor-system farm store that sells milk, ice cream, + cheese.
As always, thank you to Kelley at the Bayfield Chamber for tips on the best of Bayfield!
Photo thanks to Copper and Tin + Blue Vista Farm.