View of Madeline Island from the Madeline Island Ferry, La Pointe, Wisconsin
Madeline & Apostle Islands Directory
On most occasions when we've visited Madeline Island, we've taken our motorhome as we were staying more than one day. But if your visit is only for the day, you can cut the ferry fare by more than half by taking the ferry as a passenger without your car or motorhome. Most everything of interest is within walking distance: artisan and specialty shops, restaurants, coffee house, taverns, Madeline Island History Museum, and more. If you want to tour the island you can rent bicycles or scooters and still come out money ahead.
Madeline Island, the most southern island of the Apostles, is steeped in history - both for the Ojibway-Anishinabe peoples and Europeans who later founded trading posts, missionary outposts, and eventually the town of La Pointe. The Objibway occupied the area for several hundred years prior to encounting French exployers in the 1600s. The first European trading post was founded in 1693 by Pierre Le Sueur on the south end of the island which he operated until 1698. More than a century later the American Fur Company built their post at essentially the same spot. The Madeline Island Historical Museum now occupies this same historic ground.
Madeline Island Historical Museum
The propeller from the former tugboat Ashland decorates the front lawn of the Madeline Island Museum. The original museum buildings were created from four historic buildings on the island brought together on the museum site. It includes the last remaining structure (1835) of the American Fur Company complex, an old Madeline Island Barn, the former La Pointe town jail, and the former Old Sailor's Home. More recently there have been modern additions to the museum complex, adding the Carter Center Exhibit Hall and a Walkway Gallery.
Visitor Appreciation Weekend
Connecting Cultures: Exploring the Lake Superior Fur Trade
Commemoration of the Treaty of 1854
The sign outside of the museum stockade explains this historical site. The stockade represents the kind of enclosure commonly used around French forts and trading posts > > >
More Logging Camp tools and artifacts are displayed inside along with trades tools involved with boat building, fishing, carpentry and coopering. > > >
< < < Memorabilia from Michael Cadotte and Father Baraga.
This room is furnished with artifacts from an
early 20th century settlers cabin. > > >
Other museum artifacts include items from early Ojibwa life, including a dugout canoe that was carbon dated to between 350 and 500 years old.
Restaurant Reviews & Links
On our most recent visit to the island, we were disappointed to discover one of our favorite dining places, The Bell Street Tavern, had closed. Lots of rich woodwork and attractive ambience, plus decent food and service.
But Tom's Burned Down Cafe just down the street is still going strong.
Tom's Burned Down Cafe
Formerly Leona's Bar that did in fact burn down & then rose from the ashes like the Phoenix to become the creation of Tom Nelson.
The "classy" front lawn of Tom's Burned Down Cafe. The sign advertises "Good Fast Cheap Food." Well I think I can agree about the "cheap" but don't think I'd risk finding out about the rest! If Cafe Seiche is for the discriminating diner, Tom's is the anti-Seiche - Good fun and merriment for the indiscriminant patron!
If you drop something on the floor, someone's pooch will take care of it for you.
Cafe Seiche - www.cafeseiche.com/
Gets 4 to 5 stars for quality of food & service, but also upscale in price.
Grampa Tony's -
Mission Hill Coffee House -
The Pub Restaurant & Wine Bar - www.madisland.com/pages/pub.html
Gets 3 to 5 stars from reviewers, upscale pricing, but less than Cafe Seiche
More Madeline Island Attractions
< < < During the summer "Motion to Go" is one of the busiest enterprises in town offering scooters, bikes (including tandems), and buggies for rent. A great way to tour the Island.
Swimming and picnicing is available in downtown La Pointe only a few blocks from the dock at the public beach.
There are also nice swimming beaches in the town park and state park along Big Bay (7 miles from the dock).
Madeline Island Golf Course. Golfers will enjoy a round at Madeline Island Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones design with many unique features.
Agate Hunting, Rock Picking and Beachcombing. A remote beach on the north end of the island showed good potential for agate finds. We also met a lady and her son doing some major league agate hunting at the Big Bay Township Park beach. See more Agate Hunting Beaches here.
Links to More Madeline Island Attractions
Island Market - general store website
Adventure Vacations - kayak, boat tours, beach shop website
Horseback Riding - Hippophile Farm website
Woods Hall Craft Shop - Locally made artisan crafts, gifts, wares, and souvenirs website
Bell Street Gallery - Art Gallery, Bar, and Boutique website
Dockside Gift Shop - website
Madeline Island Candles - website
Info on Big Bay State Park & Campground
Madeline Island Links
Some helpful links for visiting and touring Madeline Island:
Madeline Islands Fall Festival
Apostle Islands Lighthouse Festival
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2017
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Lake Superior Circle Tour Route
Bayfield is the gateway to the Apostle Islands and Madeline Island.
Copper Falls State Park
is near Mellen, Wisconsin.
See the lighthouses on an Apostle Islands Cruise.
Take a scenic drive of
farms and orchards in the Bayfield area are open for fall produce.