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Madeline Island

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Madeline Island, WI

About Madeline IslandMadeline Island is east of the Bayfield Peninsula in Lake Superior. The largest of the Apostle Islands group, Madeline has a permanent population of about 250 residents. The island was the focus of some of the earliest trading, missionary activity and commercial fishing in the interior of North America. It is possible that Etienne Brule visited the region as early as 1622 in his attempt to find the mythical Northwest Passage to China and the East Indies.

The French explorers Radisson and Groseilliers explored Madeline in 1659. Trading posts were established by the French in 1693 and by the British in 1793. La Pointe became headquarters for a post of the American Fur Co. in 1816. It currently serves the thousands of summer visitors to the island. Big Bay State Park is on the east shore of the island. Just across the lagoon is Big Bay Town Park.

Ferries operate between Bayfield and the island town of La Pointe daily from early May to early January (weather permitting). They run about every 30 minutes during the peak season, mid-June to early September; phone (715) 747-2051. In the winter a motorized windsled offers transportation to the island until the lake freezes and cars can travel on an ice highway.

Free guided walking tours of downtown La Pointe depart Monday through Friday at 11, late June through late August, from the Madeline Island Ferry Lines office at the junction of Main and Le Sueur streets near the ferry landing; phone (715) 747-2051 or (715) 747-6801.

Self-guiding tours:Maps outlining walking tours of the island and Capser Trail are available at the Madeline Island Information Station at the ferry landing on Washington Avenue in Bayfield. A free self-guiding driving tour CD also is available at the information station, chamber of commerce and Madeline Island Ferry Lines office.

ShoppingDuring the summer Woods Hall Gallery and Studios, 3 blocks south of the ferry landing at 712 Fort Rd., features craftspersons displaying their wares; phone (715) 747-3943.

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Madeline Island, WI

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