DESTINATION: The Chequamegon Bay
Published: Monday, July 29, 2019
Ashland, Washburn, Bayfield, and the Town of LaPointe on Madeline Island are all located on the Chequamegon (She-WAH’-Me-Gon) Bay, an inlet of Lake Superior located in the most northern part of Wisconsin. These beautiful, small communities all have access to Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Each community has a vibrant Chamber of Commerce that promotes tourism around the bay, and each is home to its own marina. These small town marinas offer great service within close proximity to dining and shopping and amazing sightseeing!
Allow the Ashland Marina to be your starting point to sail thousands of square miles of easily navigated water. Enjoy breathtaking views of sunsets on tree lined shores. Swim in crystal clear fresh water. Discover abundant fish and wildlife. Embrace the historic city and downtown shops, along with restaurants and grocery stores – all with the appeal that only northern Wisconsin can offer and all within walking distance of the marina. While in town, check out the Trolley Mural Tours that celebrate the 20 public murals displayed on buildings in Ashland’s Historic District. Enjoy several dining options and follow them with a visit to South Shore Brewery microbrew on Main Street, authentic German Chocolate at Gabriele’s German Cookies & Chocolates, or a stop at Kravin – a fun frozen yogurt experience.
Heading north, the Washburn Marina, a protected shoreline of Washburn, Wisconsin, is a perfect community that has everything you want and need to continue your adventure. Here, you’ll find a beautiful shoreline with a hiking trail along the entire waterfront. Fantastic restaurants and novel shopping await you along Bayfield Street, also within walking distance from the marina. Enjoy great food, events, and fun at the Harborview Event Center or a delicious treat at Harbor House Sweets.
Apostle Islands Marina offers seasonal and transient dockage, a complete service department, boat supplies, and nautical gifts and clothing. Located in downtown Bayfield, you can walk to nearby restaurants, shops, bars, and the local grocery store and candy shop, giving visitors and marina residents a unique experience on Lake Superior. Make a stop at The Bayfield Inn, also within walking distance, and experience its well known roof-top “deck” – a favorite among locals and tourists alike!
Adjacent to the marina on the south side is the East Dock Park, providing a playground for the kids and picnic shelter for group outings. A lovely afternoon can be spent at the Park's fishing dock with its beautiful view of Madeline Island and Grant's Point. At your marina slip, you can watch the Madeline Island Ferry, alongside the local fishing fleet and recreational boaters, as they cross the bay outside the marina. Directly outside the harbor, fabulous boating and the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore await you.
Three miles south of Bayfield, nestled at the base of Mt. Ashwabay ski hill, Big Top overlooks Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This intimate 900-seat all-canvas tent (run by a non-profit) hosts performances by renowned national, regional, and touring musicians from mid-June to early September. The Big Top offers free shuttles that operate during evening and matinee performances from establishments throughout the Chequamegon Bay. For a list of shows and more info on shuttles, visit Big Top Chautauqua at www.bigtop.org.
When you cruise around the islands, make a stop at Madeline Island, the largest island of the Apostle Islands. The Madeline Island Yacht Club, Inc. has a full-service marina, transient dockage, the area’s largest ship store, premium gas, diesel, and pump out. They are open year-round and you can easily walk to local shops and restaurants. Savor beautifully-prepared local fare served up with a side of lakeshore views! Hike, bike, kayak, swim, canoe, golf, nap, read, or rent a moped or bike from Motion to Go and tour the island on land. It’s all here for you on beautiful Madeline Island!
Regardless of where you go, each of the Chequamegon Bay communities are rich in culinary treasures. Aside from the few fast food establishments in Ashland, all of the restaurants along the Chequamegon Bay are independently owned and operated, all with a unique flair and many with lake-to-table mouth-watering entrées such as Lake Superior whitefish, whitefish livers, and fresh salmon and trout.
Additionally, the Chequamegon Bay communities host a number of festivals throughout the year. For a complete list of all of the “goings on” in the bay, visit their websites and make a plan to visit today!
This article first appeared in the Summer Issue (Jul/Aug) 2019 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.