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Traveling Jo Travels to the Nature Preserve outside of Ashland, Wisconsin.

Yes, a Nature Preserve that deserves its own article. We highly recommend you stop there and say hello to our friends Leah and Adrian who will give you the skinny on the history, to the culture, to the wildlife. Seeing this preserve is like nothing we have seen, it is supported by Parks and Rec, Natural, Fish and gaming and Forestry. As you enter the building you are greeted by all of the local wildflowers in their garden, all of which have their scientific name on a plaque.

Leah, who is with the forestry, gives an incredible tour of the building included the magnificent hand-woven portraits of "women of water" history all made by a local artist, Mary Burns. These portraits depicted the woman who sacrificed their lives fighting gorillas in Honduras to women who brought water to small towns in remote villages. Each portrait has its own tribute to these spectacular women and their plights.

The tour continued to speak of the three turtles that call the Preserve home, "Queenie" (who when found was guessed to be the same age as Queen Elizabeth, "Princess" who was younger and then there is "Muffin" named by the director's daughter.

Leah stated the third floor of the building has a 360-degree radius for bird watching and confirmed, we most likely encountered an Eagle fly over, we also observed either a hawk or a falcon scoop something out of the grassy area. Leah was incredibly proud to be able to discuss what proper tree removal looked like and showed how the floor that was laid over 25 years ago has only had to be sanded twice as she showed bricks of the healthy trees.

Adrian filled us in on the water ways. There are 15 Islands called the Apostle Islands (originally, they could only see 12) Only one of the Islands is inhabited and you can take your boat, kayak or paddle board to some of them, (you must be ocean ready with ocean equipment as the water is approx. 44 degrees all year and hypothermia can set in quickly) There are also charter boats that you can use for a tour of the Islands. There are guided tours with the kayaks which is recommended, however if you think you want to challenge this Great Lake and all her power, you have to take a safety course first. The tours will even take you over some of the wrecks, and with the water being so clear, we are informed you can see them from your boat. Scuba diving does occur, it is not recommended for an amateur though. The islands are filled with caves and waterfalls. Most islands cannot be explored due to the rocks surrounding the island, the lighthouses which are not accessible as well. Oak Island has overnight camping.

Madeline island is the inhabited Island, which is accessible via ferry, while on the island one can attend a Music concerts of woodwind instruments, attend the galleries and art bars, play golf, visit the Madeline Island Muesum, tour the Madeline's Island school for the arts which is ranked one of the top five art and craft schools in the country, attend the waters resort cassino, hike the trails in the Island wilderness preserve.

There are 17 public docks at Apostle Island National Lakeshore.

Bayfield and Ashland are a host to several annual events such as Easter Egg hunt, Plant sales, Kentucky Derby Party, Island marathon (which is a Boston qualifier) and the "blessing of the feet" from the traditional blessing as boaters pass the tip of the pier, clergy grant each vessel a blessing for safe passage and a prosperous season on Lake Superior. There are additional concerts and a freshwater seek kayak symposium, and of course the Bayfield Race Week Regatta held in July. There are fishing contests, county fairs, 10K, 5K and 2 miles walk/runs, fall festivals, holiday tree lighting ceremonies, winter pow wow, summit ski races, dog sled races, and of course the winter festival.

All of this is in addition to the hiking, recreational, water recreational, skiing, snowshoe hiking, cave exploring, waterfall viewing, hunting (national park only), fishing (winter months: whitefish, lake trout and herring). There is so much to do and see in this area on pg22 of the Bayfield travel guide, they list an itinerary for the first-time visitor! I am exhausted from reading it! For more questions, contact me at

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