On Friday, I shared photos from our anniversary trip along Minnesota’s North Shore. We had a wonderful time exploring state parks, but that was only half of our trip. On Saturday, we piled into my brother’s car for a scenic road trip to Bayfield, Wisconsin and the annual Bayfield Apple Festival!
My brother Kristian lives in Duluth, and he knows the city and surrounding parks better than anyone else. Originally, we planned to take Kristian with us on our state park adventure and he would show us his favorite places and trails. Our plans changed when Kristian discovered our weekend up north coincided with the Bayfield Apple Festival. We didn’t know what to expect- only that my brother went with friends the year before and had a great time.
We met at my brother’s house in Duluth early Saturday morning and were on the road by 9. The drive from Duluth to Bayfield is just under two hours, but the drive was gorgeous, winding along the shores of Lake Superior on one side, and acres of farm land on the other. The fall colors were at peak, and we couldn’t have asked for a sunnier fall day. Bayfield is a small town of about 400 people, but there were crowds everywhere for Apple Fest! Last year, USA Today named the Bayfield Apple Festival one of the top 10 fall festivals in the nation, and people travel from across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Even though we arrived early, we had to park several blocks away and walk down a steep hill to the festival in downtown Bayfield.
Bayfield Apple Festival
The streets were filled with vendors selling all kinds of handmade artwork, clothing and jewelry. The food vendors reminded us of the Minnesota State Fair, except apples dominated the menus. Our favorite treat was the “Wapple Cone”- a waffle cone filled with cheesecake and apple pie. It was delicious. And of course no trip to Wisconsin is complete without cheese curds! We met up with some of Kristian’s girlfriend and some of her family and friends. Together we wandered up and down the streets enjoying the small town festival feel.
In the heart of Bayfield Apple Festival
Our favorite treat- the Wapple Cone!
Wisconsin Cheese Curds
Hauser’s Superior View Farm
My favorite part of the day was visiting an apple orchard! Festival goers are encouraged to visit one of the many local orchards, and we headed to Hauser’s Superior View Farm. Hauser’s is a short drive from downtown Bayfield, situation on top of a large hill. The property has a gorgeous view of Lake Superior and the surrounding area. Someone told us you can see up to 60 miles on a clear day! We munched on carmel apples, played on the old farm equipment and went for a hayride through the orchard. The hayride was my favorite part of the visit. We drove through acres and acres of beautiful orchards. Our tractor driver and tour guide stopped in the middle of the orchard and let everyone pick an apple off a nearby tree. My brother was a little too excited about the apple picking- he nearly fell out of the wagon! Our apples tasted delicious- nothing beats a fresh picked apple!
My brother and my husband- these two are such goofballs.
Carmel Apple Slices with all the fixings!
Apple Picking on the Hayride
Our Tips for Bayfield Apple Festival
Bayfield is a small town and Apple Fest draws huge crowds. Get there early to find a good parking spot and beat some of the crowds.
Few vendors accept credit cards, so bring enough cash for all your apple-eating needs.
Grab a Program.
Programs are available for free, and they contain lots of valuable information, including directions to all the local apple orchards and a list of festival events.
Leave Your Dog at Home
This year, the festival made an official request that attendees leave pets at home. The announcement was not well-received, but I think the festival organizers had a good point. The streets are very crowded and dogs could easily be stepped on or spooked. There are only a few grassy areas in downtown Bayfield, and during Apple Fest they are full of vendors and festival goers. My brother brought our family dog last year- he agrees that dogs and Apple Fest don’t mix, especially small or anxious dogs (ours is both). Spare your dog the anxiety and take him on a long walk instead.
Save Time for the Orchard
Last year, my brother and his friends didn’t get to ride the hayride at Hauser’s because they arrived too late. Check the festival program or website for information for exact times, and plan accordingly.
Dress for the Weather.
Our day at Apple Fest was beautifully sunny, but it was still cold and the wind off the lake was freezing! Everything is outdoors, so dress appropriately.
Beware of Poor Cellphone Reception
Cellphone reception in Bayfield is terrible. Most of our group had little to no reception in Bayfield, and we all had different carriers. We drove separately, and it was difficult to find each other without our phones.
We had such a fun day spending time with my brother, his girlfriend and her friends and family. If you’ve been to the Bayfield Apple Festival and have a favorite spot or event, let us know so we can check it out. Who knows, maybe Bayfield Apple Festival will become one of our fall traditions!