There are few places in this world that I love more than Bayfield, Wisconsin. It is chalked full of nostalgia for me — 27 years of it to be exact. 27 years with only a few years missed. Growing up my family went the weekend before their biggest celebration of the year come sun, rain, sleet, or snow. (And let’s be real, we saw it all.) Thousands of people flock to Bayfield from around the region for its Apple Festival each fall + if you haven’t yet – grab your calendar and mark the date: October 6th-8th, 2023! You officially now have someplace to be and it’s full of fall in all of its glory. Think: hot apple donuts just out of the fryer, orchards galore, an old fashion candy shop, winding roads of flaming orange tipped trees, and more joy than I could possibly pack into one blog post.
But I’ve put my sharing cap on and I’m letting you in on a few of my most favorite things.
1. The Candy Shoppe
Small towns don’t need fancy pants names. Just do it the good old fashion way, and at The Candy Shoppe they do just that. You can watch them make their homemade pies and fudge through the glass window. It is like stepping back in time and I still remember being a kid and hoping they had lots of “lego” candy in stock. Now I bring my brood of kids there and walking through that swinging screen door brings back a slew of sentiment.
2. Erickson’s Orchard + Country Store
Freshly made apple cinnamon donuts. Do I need to say anymore? Just go. And take home a jug of their cider. And pick a bushel of apples to eat plain or turn into amazing baked goods. And lay under the trees and breathe in fresh air. We’ve been taking family photos at the orchard for our Christmas cards since it was cool to all wear matching denim from head to toe. And I would spend all day there if there wasn’t so many other places to love also.
3. Hauser’s Superior View Orchard and Bayfield Winery
Apple wine mamas. I mean come on. Donuts and apple raspberry wine in one day? Please and thank you. And the cutest red barn you ever did see. Plus they do wagon rides + a bunch of other cute family fall things that will make your PSL loving heart flutter.
4. Wonderstate Coffee
Small towns that have cute coffee shops are a winner in my book. Wonderstate Coffee has swoon worthy coffee and beautiful natural light that streams through the big windows. If you’re looking for a souvenir from your day away but don’t want one of those touristy looking neon tees – go here. You will not regret it. Mine was so cozy that my best friend wore it home and hasn’t given it back.
5. The Park by the Water
Take a stroll down from main street to the playground and park by the water. It is a gem. And with Lake Superior as the backdrop, you just can’t go wrong. Bring a picnic blanket and a football, and let your crew go to town.
6. The Marina
If you walk out to the pier you can get one of the best views of this seaside town. I recommend you go around sunset, as the light bounces off all the colorful trees and sparkles in the water. You can also catch a ferry to Madeline Island or just wave across the water to the Apostle Islands that you can see from here.
7. Bed + Breakfasts
There are too many to name. And honestly, if you’re looking to book now for this year – you might be out of luck but give it a try anyhow. Yet it is one of the many many reasons to go back to the area, in case you need an excuse. My husband and I took a mini-moon there and have since gone back for anniversaries. I love the quaintness of it all and meeting the owners and hearing more about the history of the city.
There you have it. I could write for hours and hours and only scratch the surface on all the areas gems, but these are a small start. Check out the official website for a full calendar of events, locations, and times. If you are like us, and love all the autumn glory with a few less (couple thousand) people – check out the area the week before. It is a short and rather stunning drive along the South Shore, with a few parks along the way to stop for a picnic or a stretch — our favorite is the beach in Cornucopia, WI. Come back and tell us about your favorite memories made or places that you’d have on your “do not miss” list. Happy apple everything!
**Gorgeous fall photos courtesy of Along an Inland Sea Photography