Madeline Island Slowdown

Niles, Mike and I caught one of the last trips of the ferry from Bayfield to Madeline Island on the 11th after flying from Bozeman, Montana to Minneapolis, MN. The ferry operator was super efficient in affect and motion to guide trailers, cars, bikes and pedestrians on and off the boat in the the dark. You can tell locals from tourists easily by T-shirt age, posture and affect. We had our phones out snapping the moon. Gawking and ahhhing. Full tourist mode in new clothes and excited faces.

The Ferry empties it’s tourists straight into La Pointe. We stayed a block from where we landed. We joined in with groups of family finding what they wanted in and out of the shops and bars, woods and water. From the condo porch we could see the town’s main bar. Story has it that the bar burned enough times that now just the large tarp is the roof solution. Lots of happy noise comes from the place, live music. There was also live music in the park in front of the Tavern and an open market.

The goal of this trip was to get with family and do a lot of visiting while celebrating Andrea and Bob’s wedding. Andrea and Bob come regularly to the Island to get away. Their wedding and party was held at Joni’s Beach a short walk from where we stayed at the Bell Street Tavern. Bob and Andrea said their vows privately on the dock while the wedding party clapped our support.

My favorite private moment for myself was at the Ojibwe burial ground saved in the 1980s from development. Mike and I had a good sit there by the marina. Under a tarp, there is a carved canoe. The signage there prompted me to find this website to read more about the significance of the Island and its people:

From where we stayed in La Pointe, we could also walk from the condos to a Wilderness Park within the Casper trails which we started calling the Fairy Forrest. There is a kid camp that had built lean-tos on deadfall all over the understory giving the feeling of otherworldly inhabitants.

For us, the significance of this trip was being plucked from our tasks of make-ready for our upcoming trip to South America and instead be with relatives, make meals together and listen to family stories. I’m thankful to Andrea and Bob for making this possible.

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