I’m back from my trip to Northern Wisconsin and the North Shore of Minnesota and I must say this was one of the best weekend trips I’ve been on. A four hour drive from Minneapolis took me to the Apostle Islands near Bayfield, Wisconsin. My tour with the Apostle Islands Cruises started at 9:30am, so I decided to trek over the night before. The drive from Duluth, Minnesota to Bayfield was beautiful to say the least. It’s sad to admit, but I haven’t had the chance to see that many stars in a long while. Everything in Bayfield shuts down before 10:00pm and the closest gas station or restaurant is a 12-15 mile trip SW. If you ever plan to visit Bayfield (which I highly recommend), book a night at one of the many quaint little inns, eat early and grab a nice bottle of wine to help you fall into a comfortable trance.
I tend to preach about traveling cheap; and so I did! I setup a makeshift bed inside of my full sized car, made a tasty beverage and watched the stars through my sunroof until I passed off into a semi-comfortable slumber. I figured that I would be naturally wakened by early commuters or the sunrise at the very least - thankfully it was the sunrise (pictured above) or else I might have slept through my non-existent alarm. It was the most beautiful array of colors in any sunrise that I’ve witnessed. I went down to the docks and spent an hour or so photographing the sunrise until it was time to start the day.
Starting with a hot breakfast at a cafe on the main strip that runs up from the docks, I walked around aimlessly and watched the early morning local bustle of trinket shopkeepers begin to open up the town. I love little towns like this, nearly untouched and still very real - with only one gas station in the entire area, a handful of traffic lights, and simple country living, accompany it with a brisk local Canadian-esque accent and you have struck travelers gold.
(Photos by © Brandon Elijah Scott / Eye & Pen)
A scenic two hour drive west left me in Duluth. Duluth is a fine town as well, perched high to low on hills and cliffs and down to the western most edge of Lake Superior. Duluth has many beautiful aspects, but with the views from the Skyline Highway bluntly show how important of a shipping harbor Duluth has been for the past 150 years. Duluth is rarely overrun with traffic jams and boasts a population of around 86,000 which makes it the forth largest city in Minnesota. While visiting, I toured the Skyline Highway, the Leif Erikson park, the Great Lakes aquarium and the Canal Park district.
The next day I set off to explore Minnesota’s famous North Shore area. I followed the wonderful scenic highway of 61 from Duluth to Silver Bay. The route is mostly along the edge of the lake with lovely views of the Lake Superior, the cliffs and endless wooded landscapes. I found a few small towns, tunnels and attractions which were all definite treats along the way. I stopped at a lot of random off road spots seeking out a few hidden photography locations as well. There are endless sights to follow on 61 North straight up to the Canadian border - I would definitely recommend this road trip as a bucket list worthy experience.
My favorite aspects of my short 60 mile trip of the North Shore was the Gooseberry waterfall, the Split Rock lighthouse and the endless eye-catching views along the route. I will certainly be back! However the next time I visit I plan to go from Duluth again, but to continue on into Canada, but I hope it’s less foggy then. New additions from my trip will be added to the USA photo gallery sometime later this week!