Northwoods Mega-Adventure 2022

Our Up North adventures continued in mid-July as my partner and I again traveled to northern Wisconsin. We enjoyed visiting many northern Wisconsin communities and attractions in Ashland, Bayfield, and Vilas Counties. We even snuck in a quick visit to Ironwood in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Up North Communities

Wisconsin State Parks

Up North Communities


Ashland Murals and Attractions

The eight-block Main Street business district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the background for a fascinating walk through Ashland’s history as seen through the eyes of Ashland’s mural artists Kelly Meredith and Susan Prentice Martinsen. (Ashland Mural Walk website)

Northern Great Lakes Visitor’s Center

Five-story observation tower, wildlife viewing platform, 100-seat theater, interpretive and historic exhibits and regional visitor information & trip planning for Wisconsin, Minnesota & Michigan UP; educational programs; events; accessible boardwalk trail on site. The Center’s 180-acre site comprises lowland cedar and black ash, open fields, upland aspen, pine, spruce and balsam. The looped 2/3-mile boardwalk trail system winds through the cedar and tamarack wetlands. Adjacent to Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge. (TravelWisconsin)


Bayfield Sights and Scenes

The picturesque town of Bayfield, Wisconsin is a premiere Midwest tourist destination. Situated on Lake Superior, Bayfield is the gateway to the nearby Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, which has its administrative headquarters in the community. Bayfield offers quaint Victorian mansions, tempting shops and restaurants, and unmatched scenery. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore headquarters building displays the 3½ order Fresnel Lens once installed in the Michigan Island Lighthouse. Here are a few Bayfield photos which caught my eye.

Apostle Islands Booksellers

My partner and I are both readers; thus we enjoy visiting bookstores during our travels. Thankfully, Bayfield offers a nice bookstore catering to the interests of readers. Their website proclaims,

Apostle Islands Booksellers is a full-service, locally-owned, independent bookstore located in Bayfield, Wisconsin on the south shore of Lake Superior. Our collection of books emphasizes the history, cultures, nature, lifestyle, cuisine, and activities of our locale – the Apostle Islands, Chequamegon region, Lake Superior, the Great Lakes, Ojibwa Country, and the Northwoods.

Bayfield Maritime Museum

The Bayfield Maritime Museum preserves, interprets, and presents artifacts that portray the dynamic nautical history of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior.

Greunke’s Restaurant

Greunke’s  was a unique breakfast experience on our last day in the Bayfield area. As proclaimed on their website

Fine food and quaint lodgings are what Greunke’s is known for in the Bayfield, Wisconsin area (and well beyond!) Greunke’s Restaurant & First Street Inn in Bayfield, Wisconsin is recognized for its great breakfast and diverse lunch and dinner menu. Fish boils are offered throughout the summer season into the fall. Pizza is available from Sgt. Pepperoni’s which is located next to Greunke’s Restaurant.

Today, stepping in Greunke’s Restaurant is like stepping back in the ‘40’s. The Coca-Cola memorabilia, the working Wurlitzer and old soda fountain counter conjure images reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell cover on the “Saturday Evening Post.”

Joanne’s Scandinavian

My partner is of Swedish descent, so a stop at Joanne’s Scandinavian Shop was a must. Besides the appeal of shopping for her, I found some interesting photo ops to enjoy myself.

Travel Wisconsin has these words about Joanne’s:

Our mission at Joanne’s is to have our store reflect and enhance the timeless beauty, the history and the wholesomeness of Scandinavia and our home on these pristine waters. The store offers an elegant variety of home decor, tableware, jewelry, clothing, shoes and Scandinavian gift items. 


Glidden claims to be The Black Bear Capital of the World. We stopped there in search of what was once supposed to be the biggest black bear ever shot in Wisconsin. According to online information

The world’s record Wisconsin black bear was shot five miles northeast of Glidden during the 1963 hunting season. Otto Hedbany and Donald Struebel both of Milwaukee, were the hunters who bagged this trophy-size animal estimated to be twelve years of age.

The bear dressed out at 665 pounds and required seven men to pull it out of the woods. The bear’s height was 7 feet 10 inches. The world’s record black bear was purchased by the Glidden Chamber of Commerce and has been on permanent display in the Log Cabin Home since 1964.

While in Glidden, the veteran’s monument and mural found their way into my camera’s viewfinder, and I couldn’t resist snapping a shot of the Dead Squirrel Bar & Grill. We also discovered that even the trash cans in Glidden have bears painted on them.


Ironwood Sights and Scenes

While in Ironwood, we turned into typical tourists and took in a few of the local sights.

Stormy Kromer Store

Checking off a unfinished item from last year’s Up North bucket list, we made our way to the Stormy Kromer store in Ironwood. Stormy Kromer’s famous caps, made here since 1903, are legendary in the Upper Midwest.

The Stormy Kromer website tells the whole story:

Since 1903, the Stormy Kromer brand has come to embody the independence, wit and grit of the upper Midwest.

It all started with a cap. George “Stormy” Kromer, a semi-pro baseball player and railroad engineer, kept losing his hat on the train. He asked his wife, Ida, to sew an earband on his favorite ball cap to keep his ears warm and the hat snug. It worked.

Over the past century, many brands have come and gone, yet we’ve survived and thrived — thanks to the adventurers, the workers, the dreamers, and all the excellent people who value style, durability, and a sense of fun.

You turned a simple wool cap into an icon and the cornerstone of a brand that remains fresh and authentic more than a century after Ida’s very first stitch.

Lac du Flambeau

Lac du Flambeau (Lake of Torches) has been a permanent settlement of the Chippewa Indian Nation since about 1745, when Chief Sharpened Stone led his band to this lake. Nearby lakes furnished a fine setting for Indian life, with wild rice in season and plentiful fish which were taken at night by the light of flaming torches, hence the name “Flambeau.” The tribe was loyal to the American colonies, never taking sides with the British or French, and fought with the Union forces in the Civil War. Old Abe, American Eagle mascot of the Eighth Wisconsin in the Civil War, was captured a few miles below this point by a Flambeau Indian. In 1792 the Northwest Fur Trading Co. established the Lac du Flambeau department for the Wisconsin River area trade. Forts and posts remained on this shore for about fifty years.

The United States Government, in a shameful episode of American history, involuntarily removed Indigenous children from their native families and placed them in boarding schools to acculturate them to 19th and early 20th century American culture. The government cut their long hair and made the children wear “American” clothing and learn to speak English. Wikipedia explains:

The Government Boarding School at Lac du Flambeau in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin was a school where Native American children of the Ojibwe, Potowatomi and Odawa peoples were taught mainstream American culture from 1895 to 1932. It served grades 1-8, teaching both academic and practical subjects, intended to give children skills needed for their rural societies. The school was converted in 1932 to a day school, serving only Ojibwe children and those nearby of other tribes.

Madeline Island

Madeline Island Ferry

Getting from Bayfield to La Pointe on Madeline Island and back requires a 25-minute car ferry trip on Lake Superior. The Madeline Island Ferry Line website states,

Madeline Island Ferry Line provides transportation between the picturesque towns of La Pointe and Bayfield. The 25-minute voyage provides spectacular views of the Lake itself and several of the 22 Apostle Islands.

Town of La Pointe

The historic town of La Pointe, Wisconsin awaits you upon arrival of your ferry from Bayfield. The population is around 420 people (2020 Census data). Its name in the Anishinaabe language is Mooningwanekaaning, meaning “the place full of Yellow-shafted Flicker”.

Madeline Island has been home to many cultures throughout history. The Ojibwe and other tribes made their home here for hundreds of years before European contact. La Pointe was the site of a fortified French trading post from 1693-1698, and 1718-1759, and the Town of La Pointe today was founded more directly as an American Fur Company outpost, beginning in the late 18th century under the leadership of Michel Cadotte.

Madeline Island Museum

Madeline Island Museum is a museum owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Opened on June 15, 1958, the museum is in the town of La Pointe, Wisconsin on Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. Madeline Island Museum was developed on the former site of the American Fur Company Northern Outfit, and its main building once served as an American Fur Company warehouse. (Wikipedia)

Madeline Island Candles

A Lake Superior Magazine’s Best of the Lake – Wisconsin gift shop in 2015 and 2016. Madeline Island Candles are made from good, old-fashion, earth grown soybeans to create an environmentally friendly candle. Soy wax candles are longer, cooler and cleaner burning without soot buildup. The soy wax that we use is renewable, biodegradable, and grown in the USA. (Tripadvisor)

Manitowish Waters

Dixie’s Coffee House

Acting upon the recommendation of a friendly local person, we stopped for a refreshing break at Dixie’s Coffee House. On their website, this pleasant shop proclaims, 

Dixie’s Coffee House nourishes the body and feeds the soul. You’ll come for the coffee and stay for the view.

Manito Art League 57th Annual Art Show

In 2022, the Manito Art League celebrates 57 years of promoting Great Art in our Great Northwoods. Our league is proud to present an Annual Art Show, a scholarship program, workshops and the Northwoods Outdoor Artists plein air group that paints weekly at a variety of outdoor locations in our beautiful Northwoods. (Manito Art League)

Manitowish Waters Sights and Scenes

Captured a few shots in Frank B. Koller Memorial Park, where we stopped for lunch from a local brat stand. As claimed, the brats were great!


Minocqua Sights and Scenes

Minoqua is a popular Northwoods tourist playground providing a plethora of photo ops for any shutterbug. Here are some I captured during our Mega-Adventure. 

Schneider et Fille Pottery

A half-mile drive on a two-track trail through the woods took us to the Schneider Pottery Shop, which has offered unique pottery creations for over 45 years.  When you visit you might find a Minoc or two!

Park Falls

Old Abe the Screaming War Eagle was the mascot of the Wisconsin 8th Infantry in the Civil War. The statue of Old Abe is part of a small veterans park. (

Red Cliff

We chose the Legendary Waters Resort & Casino Hotel for our accomodations during the Bayfield phase of our Northwoods Mega-Adventure. The Legendary Waters website provides background on this establishment:

Featuring two popular campgrounds and a marina, Legendary Waters Resort & Casino is located on the northern-most shores of the State of Wisconsin within the boundaries of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  This facility is proudly owned and operated by the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.


Washburn Sights & Scenes

Washburn, Wisconsin is a small lakeside community between Ashland and Bayfield. Here are a couple of sights which caught my eye. The Washburn Chamber of Commerce website proudly proclaims,

Lake Superior at your feet, the Chequamegon National Forest at your back, with a whole lot of culture in the middle.

Chequamegon Books

In Washburn, Chequamegon Books called to us, as both I and my partner are avid readers. During our travels we love to visit bookstores, especially ones that are part-bookstore, part-museum. The store’s website boasts,


A historic brownstone bookstore located on Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  You will discover new, used, and discounted books on every conceivable subject: history, poetry, art, politics, gardening, outdoor adventure, travel, health, antiques – truly an endless list. There are so many to choose from that Richard has been heard to say, “We have books that no one has or even wants to have!” The bookstore is also a source for rare, esoteric, scholarly and hard-to-find books, along with the expertise to evaluate these treasures.

Here are a few shots that caught my eye.


It took a little hunting and assistance from an iPhone helper, but we finally found the World’s Largest Penny after failing to do so on a previous visit to Woodruff. The secret? Start at the Dr. Kate Museum and just follow the snowshoe tracks painted on the road! A Wisconsin Historical Marker tells the story: 

On this site, Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb, a well-respected and loved physician, provided medical care from her office and treatment room during the 1940s and 1950s. One of only two doctors for the vast northern Wisconsin area, she treated local residents and tourists, traveling over 300 square miles to make house calls through blizzards and subzero temperatures. Her modes of transportation included a canoe, her modified Model T car equipped with tracks and skis, on foot or by snowshoe. She delivered over 3,000 babies without ever losing a mother or baby.

By 1949 it became clear that the northern region desperately needed a hospital. Dr. Kate had to travel with her patients to hospitals in bigger communities or as far as Ironwood, MI. The Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Lions Club as well as churches, civic clubs, tourists and residents literally dug in and poured a foundation on land donated by a local couple. After funding resources dwindled in 1952, the Arbor Vitae-Woodruff High School Geometry teacher, Mr. Otto Burich, and his class came up with an idea that caught on nationwide. The goal was to collect a million pennies, and on Memorial Day 1953 The Million Penny Parade was held in Woodruff with 10,000 people in attendance to celebrate the collection of pennies from all 48 states and all continents. The Lakeland Memorial Hospital located in Woodruff opened debt free in March 1954. Community spirit, generosity, hard work, imagination and faith built a hospital for Dr. Kate.

Dr. Kate’s remarkable life has been commemorated in books, articles in Reader’s Digest, LOOK magazine, Woman’s Day magazine, US News, and publications throughout the world. She was a guest on the television show hosted by Ralph Edwards “THIS IS YOUR LIFE” in March 1954. Her unique role as a female physician is taught to today’s students throughout Wisconsin social studies classes. This site commemorates Dr. Kate’s contributions to the medical community in the Arbor Vitae-Woodruff area and in the state of Wisconsin, where her legacy lives on.

After finding the World’s Largest Penny, we came upon another Wisconsin Historical Market that explained it:

The World’s Largest Penny was dedicated on May 29, 1954 as a tribute to the staff and students of Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School. This monument reflects Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb‘s dream for a local hospital, as well as the community spirit of Woodruff and Arbor Vitae residents and civic groups who donated labor and materials and organized fundraising activities.

In the fall of 1952, Otto Burich and his geometry students led a district-wide campaign to collect one million pennies to raise funds for the hospital. Letters were mailed nationwide as part of the fundraising effort. Arbor Vitae-Woodruff grade school students even donated their allowances. In all, 1,700,000 pennies were collected in just 104 days from 48 states. On Memorial Day in 1953, 10,000 people attended the Million Penny Parade in Woodruff to celebrate the achievement.

The World’s Largest Penny is made of concrete block, and is 10 feet in diameter, 18 inches thick, and weighs 17,452 pounds. The students at Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School continued to collect millions of pennies to help fund the Dr. Kate Museum Memorial Scholarship. The enthusiastic students not only saved the hospital project, but they inspired the community and put the small town of Woodruff on the international map.

Wisconsin State Parks

Big Bay State Park

On the eastern side of Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands archipelago, Big Bay State Park features picturesque sandstone bluffs along four miles of Lake Superior shoreline. The park also has a 1-mile boardwalk, sandy swimming beach, hiking trails, large family campground and two group camps. A short ferry ride from Bayfield to Madeline Island is needed to reach the park.

Copper Falls State Park

It’s well worth your time to visit Copper Falls State Park, near Mellen, WI. The Wisconsin DNR describes the park as follows.

Ancient lava flows, deep gorges and spectacular waterfalls make Copper Falls State Park one of Wisconsin’s most scenic parks. Log buildings built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s add to the park’s charm.  The park offers camping, hiking, bicycling, picnicking, fishing and swimming opportunities in Loon Lake. The 1.7-mile Doughboy’s Nature Trail, along the Bad River, is one of the best hikes in Wisconsin.


  • Howard Vrankin

    Your all-time tour de force! Thanks for taking us along on this great experience in words and photos. Five stars! 👍👏

  • Richard Yehl

    Covered a lot of ground and captured the whole way with excellent photography. This friend is so glad for you and your traveling friend.

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