Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Apostle Islands and Northern Great Lake Visitor Centers

The day after we arrived at the Apostle Islands, I drove to the two local visitor centers while Scott worked.  The first one was the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitor Center and Headquarters is just a mile from our campground at 415 Washington Ave in Bayfield.  It is located in what was once the old Courthouse so the building is quite nice and historic.  The Apostle Islands are located on the northernmost point in Wisconsin.  It consists of 21 separate islands and the mainland shore and is dedicated to preserving and these national recreational resources in both Ashland and Bayfield counties.
Inside the center is small but adequate with a reception desk and small shopping area.  I did buy some Wild Rice and a Recipe book while there.  I've noticed the Great Lakes region is known for their wild rice and Scott made some Wild Rice and Mushroom soup that was delicious!
Besides the info desk and gift shop is a theater and small exhibit about the lighthouse keepers and lifestyle in the Apostle Islands.  The Apostle Islands has 7 lighthouses.  There have been 4 shipwrecks in the Apostle Islands over the years.  Click on each link to see the ship and about the shipwreck. 

  • Lucerne (Schooner Sail carrying Iron Ore; Built 1873; Sank 1886, Lives Lost 9; Depth 20')
  • Fedora (Steam ship carrying Iron Ore; Build 1889; Sank 1901; Lives Lost; Depth 0-10')
  • Sevona (Steam ship carrying Iron Ore; Built 1890; Sank 1905; Lives Lost 7; Depth 20')
  • Ottowa (Tug; Built 1881; Sank 1909; Lives Lost 0; Depth 2-20')

It also listed things to do in the Bayfield area along with the map of the Apostle Islands.  There are many brochures to selectBoaters Guide, Camping in the Apostles, Paddling the Apostles and 5 island brochures and Points of Interest brochures such as the Raspberry Lighthouse, Sea Caves, Julian Bay Trail Guide and Hokenson Fisheries Guide are all available.  If you go, I'd suggest renting a boat or Kayak especially if you want to go to the Stockton Island Visitor Center.  Also, if you can, you can see the calendar of events and tours from June to September of lighthouses and other cool things on the island if you check ahead.
After I went to the visitor center, I drove down to the docks to see where to park.  We were going on a cruise of the islands and wanted to see the best place to park.  After that, I drove over toward Ashland, about 20 minutes out of town, to the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.
The Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is completely different than the main visitor center.  This one focuses more on the history of the land and the people who lives in the Apostle Islands as well as fishing, logging and trapping of yesteryear.  Up on the third floor are these murals, an eagle!
From the 3rd floor, I walked out and round the cupola for beautiful views of the property AND if you look, you can see Lake Superior!
Ariel Web Photo
Back on the 2nd floor is the Dagmar Plenk exhibit of beautiful quilts that reflect her emotional connection to the landscapes of the Northern Great Lakes.  Her work has been all over the world to countries as as France, New Zealand and the Republic of George.  For more information on Dagmar, go to her website at www.dagmarplenk.com.
The exhibit area of the visitor center, as mentioned earlier focused on the 18th century voyageurs and trading post, logging and trapping to iron mines and activities for today.
I really loved all the lighthouses I discovered near the pathways as I exited the visitor center.
Next, we're off to cruise the Apostle Islands!  Also, Bayfield has a wonderful Visitor Guide.  This areas is rich with things to see and do!

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