Authentic Bayfield Peninsula
By Jessica Luhning | Photos By Jim Klousia 1
By the Shining Big Sea Waters
In the early days of summer
When we bask in pleasant sunshine
And enjoy the cooling breezes
On the shores of Lake Superior
When our pine trees all are glorious
In the richness of their verdue
And all nature seems rejoicing
In the beauty of the landscape,…
In the healthy town of Bayfield
In the pretty harbor city
On the shores of Gitchie Gummee.
Author unknown, The Bayfield Press, February 1908
The clear and fervently blue waters of Lake Superior hold the communities of Wisconsin’s north shores in a comforting, timeless grip. Born out of spirit, thriftiness and a survivalist’s will to not only carve out a life amid the cold, grey winters and boom and bust hardships, but to proudly assert this place as one of the most historically significant and ecologically diverse in the upper Midwest. The communities of the Bayfield Peninsula embrace their earth-given natural resources which both define and transcend each generation’s imprint, further strengthening the link of past, present and future in this truly authentic region.
Like the landscape, the people who make this place home are also discernibly authentic with an intense entrepreneurial spirit. Their lives are marked by moments of celebrating the successes and mourning the losses of thy neighbor. Rarely in my travels do I find myself witness to the truly authentic. This journey north was an unexpected exception.
Seeking a respite from the daily grind, I hitched a ride with a close friend embarking on a whirlwind mid-winter get-away to the land “where the water meets the soul.” My soul wanted to be enveloped in these waters, like the verdant Apostle Islands, to feel the deeprooted energy of this place. But since the waters are cold and often frozen, my feet instead stayed firmly on the shore exploring the best of equally soul-soothing sleep, drink and bite in this “more than a destination” region.