Art booths at Bayfield’s annual waterside festival
Art booths at Bayfield’s annual waterside festival

En Plein Air

If you’re in the mood for art in a waterside, pastoral setting, Bayfield, Wisconsin beckons this weekend as the hamlet celebrates its 50th annual Festival of the Arts. The tiny, scenic town on Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay is a bastion of the arts (Artist’s Magazine named it one of the best places in the U.S. for artists to live and work), and it celebrates accordingly July 28 and 29. In the juried show, more than 80 fine art exhibitors will show their work, including paintings, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, wood carvings, and fiber arts. In addition to the outdoor exhibition, visitors can view art-in-the-making during the Festival of Arts Gallery Tours slated for Saturday and Sunday. A dozen local galleries will host open houses and demonstrations in silversmithing, painting, quilting, and wheel-thrown pottery methods. The weekend commences Friday evening, when the Chequamegon Bay Arts Council hosts a live auction from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bayfield Lake Pavilion.

GO Bayfield Festival of Arts in Bayfield, Wisconsin. 800-447-4094, Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 28th, and 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 29th.

While you’re in the area: Not for nothing is Bayfield known as the berry capital of Wisconsin. With over a dozen berry farms and orchards in the immediate vicinity, it’s an ideal spot to pick your own fruit. Try the family-owned Rocky Acres (87340 County Hwy J, 715-779-3332, for raspberries and blueberries. At the Good Earth Gardens (87185 County Highway J, 715-779-5564), you’ll find blueberries and an array of vegetables and fresh herbs. Rather not work for your food? Take advantage of the myriad of fresh fruit stands that dot the area.

Where to stay: The Old Rittenhouse Inn (301 Rittenhouse Ave., 715-779-5111, has 20 lavish guestrooms in two Victorian-era homes with marvelous views of Lake Superior; rates range from $175 to $325 a night. The Bayfield Inn (20 Rittenhouse Ave., 800-382-0995, is within walking distance from downtown Bayfield and transportation to both Apostle Island and Madeleine Island; rates range from $175 to $250 a night.

Where to eat: Wild Rice (84860 Old San Rd., 715-779-9881, offers James Beard–nominated fine dining, including Lake Superior whitefish and, right now, desserts made with Bayfield strawberries. Greunke’s First Street Inn (17 Rittenhouse Ave., 800-245-3072, hosts fish boils Thursday through Monday and serves lots of locally sourced entrees.


Photograph: Courtesy of the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau