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Travel Log

Escape to Madeline Island

By Halle Martin

Full of charm and mystery, Madeline Island is the perfect destination for a weekend away. Its remote location creates an air of escape from the Midwest, despite being only a short ferry ride from Bayfield, Wisconsin. From the moment you step foot on the ferry, you will find yourself overtaken by the quaint, whimsicalness of the island, while still being able to enjoy all of the things you love about the area. Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend away or a fun trip for the family, Madeline Island welcomes you.

Getting there:

Madeline Island is a drive just shy of five hours from the Twin Cities, and only an hour away by flight, though taking the scenic route is always recommended. The road trip is part of the experience and is especially breathtaking during the change of seasons. Take US Highway 63 North, until you reach Bayfield. Then it is time to catch the ferry.

Where to Stay:

  • Airbnb: Madeline Island is the kind of destination you go to find home away from home, and that just isn’t something you are going to experience in a hotel room. Because the winter months are so cold, and the location is less than practical, many homeowners do not actually live on the island, offering up a range of Airbnb’s.
  • Inn on Madeline Island: The Inn on Madeline Island offers a diverse selection of room and board. You can choose to go the traditional route and rent a room or condo, or if you’re looking for a more authentic, island-feel, the Inn additionally rents out houses and cottages.

See the Sights:

  • Tom’s Burned Down Café: Once you’ve set foot on the island, your next stop is Tom’s Burned Down Café. Formerly known as Leona’s, Tom’s Burned Down Café is exactly as the name describes. Shortly after purchasing and renovating the bar, owner Tom Nelson, received shocking news that Leona’s had gone up in flames. Rather than letting devastation take over, Tom took what remained and made it work, creating an outdoor bar unlike any other. After a long day’s travel, make sure to stop by and grab a drink or snack at the unique café.
  • Madeline Island Museum: In the mood for a little culture? Stop into the Madeline Island Museum for a history of the island.
  • Big Bay State Park: Truly take in the beauty of both the island and the famous Lake Superior that surrounds it. Spend a day or an afternoon at Big Bay State Park and see what the island truly has to offer, whether you go for a hike or take out the kayak, you’re in for a day of outdoor fun.

Fairy Hunting: Madeline Island is full of magic and mystery. Located somewhere inside the woods is the island’s best kept secret, an entire village of tiny houses, perfectly sized for the likes of a fairy. While you may come across a whisper here or there, only few actually know where the village lies. Don’t bother asking, as no one is willing to give up that information, but keep your eyes peeled as you’re out exploring; You might just find a fairy.

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