Small Town America

small town America along the shores of Lake Superior dotted with fall colors

We hit the road last Monday, but before we got those RV wheels rolling again, there was one more place I needed to visit. Ok, maybe I didn’t need to visit, but I certainly wanted to visit Bayfield, Wisconsin. My goals were apple picking and photographing fall foliage.

It was the first week in October, and at 6:00 in the morning, it was only 27 degrees Fahrenheit outside. It was definitely cold and I was very grateful the furnace in the RV was running like a champ. When I looked outside everything was coated in a thick layer of white frost. And when I stepped outside, I could actually see my breath πŸ₯Ά

A frosty cold morning – Oct. 4th – 27 degrees F

Al questioned my Bayfield excursion, but I knew it would be a mostly sunny day with light winds. I had to get out and enjoy the day. The prior couple of weeks, the weather had been gloomy and depressing … typical Midwestern weather that I always hated. Thus, I was grateful for a day of sunshine and planned on taking full advantage of the nice weather.

So on a brisk fall morning, I bundled up in layers, set upon scraping the frost off the truck windshield, loaded up a picnic lunch and an extra coat, and jumped in the truck for the 90 minute drive.

A beach along Lake Superior with fall colors

Visiting Bayfield, Wisconsin

I fell in love with this captivating small American town last summer. Picturesque Bayfield, with a population of less than 500, is the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It’s located at the far northern edge of Wisconsin along the southern shores of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. The rolling hills, lush vegetation, and beautiful Lake Superior shoreline make visiting this part of northern Wisconsin well worth the out of the way drive. It’s the perfect place for me to escape everyday life and enjoy a little solitude while taking in the lovely landscape.

Blue Vista Farm

There are over a dozen orchards and fruit farms surrounding the town. My go-to orchard is the Blue Vista Farm. Considering my daughter and I had such a fun time picking blueberries here at the end of July, I was really looking forward to re-visiting and picking apples. Unfortunately, due to circumstances surrounding the 2020 pandemic, the Bayfield Apple Festival was canceled, and therefore, the owners of Blue Vista Farms decided to press their harvest of apples this season.

(To enlarge a photo in a gallery, simply click on any image.)

Oh well, not all was lost. I had a wonderful time walking around the property with my camera and then purchased some freshly pressed apple cider before heading off to my next stop. (BTW … I should’ve purchased more apple cider. It was incredibly delicious and fresh.)

Gil Larsen Nature Trail

On the north end of town, across the street from the library, is the trailhead to the Iron Bridge and Nature Trail. This was a new find for me. I absolutely loved hiking this ravine and was definitely in my happy place. It’s an out and back trail that’s less than two miles roundtrip. So it’s not a long trail but certainly worthwhile and gorgeous.

The trail meanders along a creek and passes under the historic Old Iron Bridge. The trail is a variety of wooden bridges, dirt ground, wood boardwalks, steps, and rocky creek crossings. Fortunately, my visit was during the beginning of October when the creek was merely trickling with water making the creek crossings easy-peasy. And no bugs to contend with … a huge bonus. I would imagine springtime could present a different kind of experience and challenge.

Along the way are benches for visitors to sit for a moment to admire the surroundings and take in the sights and sounds. I was thrilled to photograph the woodpecker and listen to it pecking away at a tree. The thick canopy of trees and tall earthen walls blocked much of the blue skies giving a sense of mystery to my surroundings. The cool damp air added to the unique experience.

This trail felt somewhat reminiscent to me … possibly similar to a western slot canyon. Perhaps this ravine is the Midwestern version of a slot canyon. Did I already tell you how much I loved exploring this nature trail?

Walking across the historic Old Iron Bridge – Rice Avenue

Once I completed walking the nature trail, I decided to walk around town a little bit and eventually walked over the Old Iron Bridge. The bridge towers pretty high above the nature trail as it crosses the ravine. Looking down, it was difficult to spot the trail that I had just hiked due to the dense tree foliage. The autumn colors were vibrant and I was awed by the overall beauty.

small town America along the shores of Lake Superior dotted with fall colors

Beyond downtown

Should you ever find yourself visiting charming Bayfield, Wisconsin, be sure to venture beyond the main street (Rittenhouse Avenue). I was undoubtedly in my happy place as I explored. I was delighted with the architecture, the tree-lined hilly streets, hiking a magical trail, and strolling the friendly quaint town. Basically, I loved the overall atmosphere and landscape that embodies this small American town in northern Wisconsin.

Bayfield is one of those places that has captured my heart. So I guess, it’s safe to say, I plan on returning next season. 🀞 “God willing and the creek don’t rise!”

Photo Challenges – Sunday Stills. This week, Terri asks us to share images of “Your Happy Place”. Whenever I’m out and about in nature with my camera, I’m in my happy place. Not only was I in my happy place this past summer, but northern Wisconsin also served as a great “Hideaway”. During our four-month stay, Al and I pretty much kept ourselves isolated either on remote private property or out in nature. Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway – alone in nature!

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102 thoughts on “Small Town America

    1. I’m always up and having coffee by 6 am. and usually lounge around. That particular day, I left the RV for the drive around 7:30 😁 When we used to go to Texas during the winter, I would occasionally be out and about with my camera between 5:30 and 6 a.m. for sunrise and birding. Early to bed and early to rise!

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  1. Hi Ingrid, Your goals sound like perfect Fall goals, β€œapple picking and photographing fall foliage.” The frosty morning photo is beautiful! My arms are getting goosebumps. I love the unique effect with the apple tree and the building behind it. I can see how this area was your happy place and has captured your heart.❀️

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    1. Thank you Erica. I certainly felt content and happy. Since I’ve moved around a fair amount, being back in the Midwest felt a bit like a ‘homecoming’. I’m already making plans for next summer 😊

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  2. Thank you for all these beautiful fall colors. Since I won’t be heading anywhere north, thank you for taking me to small town America.
    Looks like the new WP editing tool z(blocking) gave you lots of flexibility. I will learn that one day, when I have to urge to write a post.

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    1. I do miss your wonderful posts and photos, but understand it was time for a break. I’m getting used to the new block editor and actually like it.
      I’m so glad we stayed north long enough to enjoy the beautiful fall colors, and we left just in time. My SIL sent me pics of 6″ of snow covering the ground where our RV was parked all summer. 😯
      Let’s get together in November. 😊

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  3. I truly beautiful post Ingrid – good for you for braving the short-lived cold! Your image of the frosty morning is breathtaking (as was the temperature I suspect!). Your wish to visit this amazing place was well-rewarded!

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    1. Thank you Tina. It appears we left northern Wisconsin just in time. The past two days it has been snowing … leaving about six inches on the ground as we speak. I’m so glad the weather cooperated during my visit and I was able to enjoy autumn foliage in all her beauty. 🍁

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    1. Yep, it’s a pretty small town, and from what I’ve gathered via speaking with local merchants, it’s a tight-knit community. Everyone takes great pride in their homes, yards, and town. 🍁

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  4. Ingrid, I hope for the sake of Al’s fragile ego that you let him get the last word when you told him you wanted (needed) to go to Bayfield … “Yes Dear!” We enjoyed a similar Fall experience driving through the golden aspens near Clear Creek Falls just West of Creed, Co. Will share them with you when we see you again at Pioneer! Hugs to you both, and thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures with us and your many followers! πŸ™‚

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    1. I always enjoy hearing from you guys and that part of Colorado is beautiful. I’m glad you were able to enjoy some CO gold. As long as it didn’t involve him, Al didn’t care much that I was off on another one of my little photo outings. 😏

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    1. You are very welcome! Northern Wisconsin is absolutely beautiful in Autumn. Fall colors were vibrant the last two weeks in September and apples were abundant.πŸπŸ‚πŸŽ I’m already looking forward to returning!

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  5. Ingrid, I enjoyed your walk through Bayfield and its surroundings. It is a lovely small town, especially pretty in the fall with all the beautiful color.

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    1. It was a wonderful time to visit and see the little town decked out in autumn foliage. During the summer, the gardens around town are amazing. I so appreciate the flower gardens and do my best to get my visual fill knowing I don’t have to get on my knees to weed 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ingrid,
    I am so glad I subscribe to your blog.
    I feel as if I am actually there your descriptive writing style is a gift.
    Your photographs are beyond gorgeous.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    I’m hooked. ❀

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    1. Just made it back to Phoenix. It was a long haul traveling in destination mode, but glad to have the 1,900 miles behind us. We had a great summer and will most likely return next summer. Safe travels to you two as you head south.

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    1. Thanks Cindy. Usually, by mid-July, the mosquitos aren’t too bad and will continue to wane. Mid-August into September is a great time to visit this part of the country. Less crowds and fewer bugs. I know you’d love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, oh, oh! A money shot was your lead capture! Gorgeous my friend!
    And the frost on the area in front of your RV was another gorgeous beauty. Actually all your photography is gorgeous!

    I think you may be close or are here… we are very dry! The super bloom from the spring is dead and dry…! And a fire at Crown King… 😒
    So I sure hope you brought some cooler and wet weather with you.

    Hope to chat soon.

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    1. Thank you Nancy. We drove down the hill on Saturday and could see the smoke over Crown King. I sure hope the town survives. Now it’s time for Al and me to get caught up on responsibilities 😏 … dentist appts, eye and car appts etc. Should be able to breathe in a couple of weeks.🌡

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed the photos. Unfortunately, my attempt at apple picking wasn’t as successful as yours. Plus, it’s always more fun picking with friends and I was alone that day. And what a beautiful day it was!

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  8. While I don’t miss the cold and snow, it is still fun to experience it on a temporary basis. In fact, it’s almost like being a kid again!!
    I love how you enjoy exploring these places. The MidWest is certainly full of these wonderful towns.
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. We just arrived back in the valley and I’m already missing the lush vegetation, but sure not missing the impending winter weather. Thus, I feel very fortunate to be able to split my year between two very diverse landscapes. Now it’s time to get caught up on responsibilities and get settled in πŸ˜€

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  9. Thank you for taking us to beautiful Bayfield! Great nature – and I am with you on going alone…Several of these images could easily have been taken in my part of Sweden, so I felt totally home and safe with you in your hideaway! Even the woodpecker looks exactly like ours…
    And Ingrid – that is a Scandinavian name I believe – do you happen to have ancestors from here?

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    1. There are a lot of northern Europeans who settled in this part of the country … upper Midwest, probably because the weather and landscape are very similar to where they came from. My parents were from Germany and I’m first American born. Even my brother was born in Germany. Ingrid Bergman was extremely popular at the time I was born, and thus, my name.😁

      Glad you enjoyed my day excursion!

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      1. Ingrid Bergman was an excellent actress, but very controversial as she left her family for another man. Those were the days …today we would not have thought about that for a sec!
        In Sweden we have alot of “Elvises”…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Ingrid,
    Helen and I are among the fortunate that have visited Bayfield. Thanks for taking us back. Your pictures are fabulous. Stay safe going home.

    P. S. I have a hoodie that I bought in a sidewalk sale there. It is among my most prized possessions.

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    1. I know that store and bought a few T-shirts there. πŸ˜ƒ Such a fun little town. Even though there isn’t much there, I always find something entertaining. We just made it back to Phoenix, and now it’s time to get settled in and get caught up on responsibilities. πŸ₯΄

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    1. Thank you! The majority of the time, I hike by myself especially if my goal is photography. If I want to do something challenging or remote, then Al will go along. He and I have different interests plus there’s a ten-year age difference between us. We each make compromises and found a way to make our lifestyle work for both of us.

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    1. The heat actually feels good. I’ve been chilled for the past month+ 😏 Now it’s time to take care of responsibilities … doctor, dentist, eye, and truck appointments. If you’re out walking and our door is open, stop by and say hi and I’ll do the same.

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        1. Yeah, but this is what I have to click before accessing your site, and I’m already using chrome as my browser …

          “By clicking the button below, you’ll go through a standard security check to confirm you are not a bot. You will also be redirected to the Chrome Store and will be given the option to either install Search Helper extension, or navigate directly to your destination. This extension will offer you a safer web search experience by giving you control to easily search through a variety of providers.”

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  11. The trail looks lovely. I love woodpeckers! Apple cider reminds me that we were planning on being in Pennsylvania this October but changed our plans due to the pandemic. When were in PA last October my cousins were telling me about apple cider donuts. I wonder if they make those in Wisconsin.

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    1. You guys would love the Bayfield Peninsula. They make just about anything from apples so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do make apple cider donuts, but I didn’t look into all the various treats available for fear of indulging πŸ˜†
      So where will you winter this season?

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      1. If the world isn’t still falling apart next fall we will have to do some exploring in Michigan and Wisconsin.

        We don’t really have any plans for the winter. We will be in Tucson at some point. We have friends there and they have an empty lot we can stay in. We might spend some time in southern Arizona, California, or Mexico. We will see how things go.

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        1. Yes, we’re living in a time where we need to make travel decisions based on the latest happenings. I think you’d be fine planning on visiting Michigan and Wisconsin next summer. I know we’ll return and I plan on making some reservations (we’re bigger than you) in the UP and MN. Lots of lush remote terrain to stay socially distanced.

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  12. Oh how I miss going to Apple Hill in our area this year, Ingrid. So close, but too hot to enjoy, plus we are just too busy with the house and move. Your photos are glorious and I can see why you “needed” to go and enjoy a happy place! Those trails and beautiful leaves make me happy to see them! Keep your fingers crossed for this move. We already had a day’s delay with Uhaul.

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    1. You do have your plate pretty full right now. I’m sure you’ll enjoy a beautiful autumn next year in your new location and have lots to explore including apple picking. Safe travels up to Spokane!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It looks like you were able to get a little “Fall On” before you starting meandering south. Beautiful pics, for sure. I believe we will see you, in January!

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    1. Yay! I look forward to seeing you. There won’t be any Photo Club this year at the RV Park. Bob sold the RV and is living in Albuquerque and I won’t head up the club. So unless someone else steps up, it has run its course. You and I will need to go out shooting together πŸ“·. I’ll have lots more time this season since I won’t be working.πŸ˜€

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    1. It is a beautiful low key place to visit. I’ve done a few other posts on Bayfield including our boat tour around the Apostle Islands. Lots of cute lodging options if you don’t RV. Even my daughter has fallen in love with the town and hopes to return with her boyfriend next summer to stay at one of the B&B’s and kayak the sea caves.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is the first blog post I of yours that I have received. It brought a big smile to my face! Your images are beyond lovely and your writing is both charming and brilliant! As a novice blogger, I think you set a very high standard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe, thank Alfie. The shores of Lake Superior are stunning. Even though it’s a lake, it feels like an ocean with lighthouses dotting the landscape. I never tire of the scenery!

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    1. Thank John. We made it back to the SW and I’m finally feeling warm again. As much as I love and already miss the lush landscape in that part of the Midwest, I know I wouldn’t want to live there for any length of time. It’s the perfect place to visit!

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