Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Stay In Port Wing, WI

Back in the 1990's we camped on the shores of Lake Superior several times, both in the UP and in Wisconsin.  My favorite place was a small campground right next to the marina in Port Wing, WI.  Port Wing, Herbster, and Cornucopia are sort of the forgotten area between Bayfield and Superior.  Our times there were always so refreshing that I've wanted to go back, even after we gave up camping for the cabin. We spent last week at the cabin with our daughter and three year old granddaughter but decided to add a side trip to the big water.  Motels are quite confining with toddlers, so I looked into B and B's.  Garden-House in Port Wing, although not directly on the water sounded pleasant.  Their website gave me a preview of what our two-bedroom suite would look like, and children were welcomed, so I made a one-night reservation.

We had a detour for road construction and had an even more difficult time maneuvering winding dirt roads so we could make it to Meyers Beach, a wonderful sandy beach outside Cornucopia that kayakers and beah sitters frequent.  After the long drive, the detour and the afternoon beach excursion, we were ready for the comfort of a homey (but luxurious) B and B.  We were NOT disappointed. Karleen Tjepkarma and her husband are wonderful hosts.  A fragrant bouquet of pink peonies graced the desk in our suite, books and art were everywhere.  Granddaughter Lizzie loved the freedom to run across the backyard, seeking out the koi in the little pond, while I was able to just soak in the beauty of the perennial beds and flowering shrubs.

Photos of GardenHouse

Both R. and I looked through a couple nature photography coffee table books before we called it a night -- wise choices for a B & B near the big lake.  The best still awaited, though.  I've been to several B & B's in England and one in Hazel Green, WI, and all those places served great breakfasts, but everything about the morning repast at Garden-House was 5-star.  The table setting rivaled a photo shoot layout.  Even Lizzie had special dishes.  My cranberry-raspberry green tea was one of the best I've had (and I've become a little bit of a tea snob lately).  Fresh fruit medley served in crystal goblets was followed by aebleskivers (spherical Norwegian pancakes) stuffed with apricot jam, nutella, or lemon curd (my favorite) and sausage. While we ate, we were able to learn more about Karleen's art, the couple's music, and the Port Wing news.   Karleen's special homemade toasted coconut ice cream was the final course to this special breakfast, a total surprise.  Ice cream for breakfast certainly was a hit with Lizzie.

It was quite the disappointment to learn that the campground I held so special in my memory has been gone for several years, replaced by several homes.  The Port Wing art studio, formerly a small church, is now for sale.  Port Wing, Herbster, and  Cornucopia are definitely not for the tourists who want the Bayfield shops and crowds, but if you like to soak up the sight and breezes of Lake Superior with a little taste of the hard life of those early Wisconsin immigrants who settled on the shores, fished and tried to farm, then you might like to explore highway 13.  If you do, and if you want to meet some interesting hosts who will make you feel completely at home, check out  Do check their website, as their photos are much better than mine.

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