Buyers just closed on their dream Lake Superior cabin

When I met Dave and Diane a few months ago, they told me they wanted to find a small cabin on the South Shore of Lake Superior where they could watch the seasons and moods of the lake. We looked at a few properties and it didn’t take long before they found the cabin with an amazing view of the lake just as they imagined.

I’m lucky to work with such wonderful buyers. Dave and Diane just closed on their South Shore Lake Superior cabin. I can just imagine the lake views they’ll enjoy.

 Thinking of buying or selling on the South Shore Lake Superior, NW Wisconsin? Call Jean Hedren, Your Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634.

Explore Minnesota: 5 ways to do Duluth

A great article from Explore Minnesota: 5 Ways to Do Duluth.

Duluth, MN has been a travel destination city for years. There’s so much to see and do in this Lake Superior port city. Something for the family, foodies, history buffs, and plenty of activities indoors and outdoors.

Duluth MN tall ships









Duluth is within an hours drive from many NW Wisconsin communities and the south shore of Lake Superior.

Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race. February 1-2, 2014. Bayfield, WI

Just listed: Custom-designed home atop the highest point on Bayfield Peninsula

Just listed: Custom-designed home atop the highest point on Bayfield Peninsula

Details: 34785 Fire Tower Rd, Bayfield, WI
Offered at $500,000

3 BR home overlooks Lake Superior

3 BR home overlooks Lake Superior

34785 Fire Tower Rd, Bayfield, WI

34785 Fire Tower Rd, Bayfield, WI

Four Types of Docks

While visiting one of my listings on Lake Superior’s Madeline Island last summer, I noticed a type of dock that’s different from anything in my neighborhood.  We’re on a smaller inland lake where most people use either floating docks or pipe docks.

So they won’t be destroyed by ice, inland lake docks are usually removed every winter and then put back out in the spring.  Some are on wheels so they can be rolled in and out of the lake in just a few minutes.  In contrast, many of the docks on Lake Superior are massive, permanent crib docks filled with granite boulders.  They’re not going anywhere.

In his book The Dock Manual, Max Burns describes four types of docks: pipe, floating, permanent, and specialty (cantilever and specialty).  (If you’re thinking of purchasing, building, or repairing a dock, I highly recommend this book from Story Press; it’s pretty much the definitive guide.)

Which type of dock is right for you?  It depends on the lake, the shoreline terrain, the depth of water, the current, and how much the water level fluctuates.  Here’s the short version: for shallow water, a firm lakebed, and water levels that don’t fluctuate much, a pipe dock is usually the best choice.  For deeper water and fluctuating water levels, go with a floating dock.

If you’re on on, say, Lake Superior, you’ll be dealing with a firm lakebed, constant water levels, and big waves from which you’d like to shelter your boat.  That makes a crib dock the best choice.   You’ll want to orient it so it provides maximum protection from waves being created by the prevailing winds.

For more details on choosing and building the dock that’s right for you, check out The Dock Manual.

If you are planning to buy a lake home or cabin this year, check out my current lakeshore listings in NW Wisconsin at

An Introduction to Madeline Island

Bayfield and Madeline Island might be a fun destination for your next vacation—or even just a weekend getaway.

Located in Lake Superior just off Wisconsin’s North Coast, Madeline Island is a popular tourist destination.  The largest of the 22 Apostle Islands, it’s 14 miles long and 3 miles wide.  It’s the only one of the islands with commercial development or permanent habitations.

You’ll be on the island’s rugged northern shore, a quiet, secluded part of the island that’s rarely seen by tourists.  Most visitors tend to spend their time in the area in and around La Pointe.  Other popular attractions are Big Bay State Park and Big Bay Town Park.  Both are on the south side if the island; they share the same 1 ¼ mile sandy beach, and offer camping, swimming, hiking, and paddling.

On the island, you’ll find a wide range of entertainment and dining options.  Other attractions include shopping and galleries, walking tours, boat tours and fishing charters, hiking trails, a historical museum, an equestrian facility, and canoe, kayak, bike, or moped rentals.

Over on the mainland, Bayfield is home to dozens more galleries, shops, and restaurants.  You’ll also want to check out the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua and the Isle Vista Casino.  The Bayfield area is home to over a dozen orchards and berry farms; come October, you’ll want to get in on the Bayfield Apple Festival.

To learn more about Madeline Island, you can visit the Chamber of Commerce website at  From there, you’ll find links to the Madeline Island Ferry Line, the Apostle Islands National Seashore, local restaurants and galleries, and various other attractions.  To learn more about Bayfield, visit

Is Lake Superior right for you? And what about Madeline Island?

When it comes to large, deep, and cold lakes, nothing can quite compare with Lake Superior.  Around here, we sometimes just call it “the big lake.”  As in… “Yesterday we took a charter boat out on the big lake.  Today I think I’ll just cast a few times from the end of our dock.”

The Lake Superior experience isn’t for everyone.  Most people who live on the big lake tend to admire the scenery more than they actually get out on the water.  To spend much time out on the lake you’ll need to either be a serious sea kayaker, or else have a large boat and a convenient spot to moor it.

Because there’s such a limited number of homes or building sites on Superior, prices can be a little higher. The good news, however, many homes have been priced to reflect the current market conditions. That means there are exceptional bargains on homes in all price ranges.

If you’re planning a weekend getaway, you’ll be driving a bit farther from the Twin Cities or Chicago.  If you have your own plane, of course, then that’s less of a problem.  You’ll find convenient airports in Ashland, Madeline Island, and elsewhere; see for details.

And speaking of Madeline Island…  If you’re willing to contend with the distance, the ferries, and some slightly higher prices, then it just may be the ultimate getaway.  Out on the island, things are different.  If you’ve been there for a visit and loved it…  Then maybe it’s time to come back for good.

Here’s an exceptional value on Madeline Island: 3 BR luxury home on 10+ acres overlooking the big lake.

Getting to Madeline Island, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

Maybe you’re thinking of checking out the island on your next vacation or weekend getaway.  The first question, of course, is how are you going to get there???

For most of the year, the island can be reached by a ferry that travels between Bayfield and La Pointe; the ferry accepts vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.  The trip is about 2.6 miles; ferries run several times a day, with the schedule varying by season.

During most years, this part of Lake Superior freezes for a few months in late winter; it’s then possible to drive across on what’s known as “the Madeline Island ice road.”  During transitional periods, residents make the trip in a special “ice sled” that can safely cross thin ice and open water.

By road, Bayfield is about an hour and a half from Duluth, four hours from Minneapolis, six hours from Madison, and eight hours from Chicago.

It’s much easier, of course, to reach Madeline Island by air; the Town of La Pointe maintains a public airport with two 3,000 ft. runways.  For location, detailed runway information, and instrument approach procedures, visit

Finally, if you’ll be arriving by boat, Madeline Island is easy to reach from anywhere in the Great Lakes.  Transient docking is available at the Madeline Island Yacht Club.

The Madeline Island Ferry

I’m currently listing a luxury lake home on the north shore of Lake Superior’s Madeline Island.  But even if you’re not looking for that sort of lake experience, Madeline Island is a great place to visit on your next vacation—or even just for a weekend getaway.

When you go, you’ll find that the Madeline Island Ferry makes getting there part of the fun.  The Madeline Island Ferry Line operates four ferries, the Motor Vessel (MV) Bayfield, MV Madeline, MV Island Queen, and MV Nichevo.  They take cars, bicycles, and pedestrians between Bayfield and La Pointe.  The view is spectacular; this is one of those times when the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.

The trip takes about 25 minutes; the schedule varies by season.  On busy summer weekends, ferries depart every few minutes.  On a weekday in the off season, you may need to wait an hour or so.  If you do, you’ll have to sit and look at the water while listening to the wind, the waves, and the gulls.  The last time that happened, I had a book with just in case.  Somehow, I never quite got around to opening it.

Loading is first-come, first serve.  The only exception is for dump trucks, large construction equipment, and other oversized vehicles; they may need to wait for the next ferry.  (And yes, if you live on Madeline Island you can expect to pay a little more for furniture and appliance deliveries.)

Madeline island has a school that educates children through 5th grade. Middle and high school-age children attend school in Bayfield; for them, the ferry is their school bus.  For those who live on the Island and work in Bayfield, the ferry is a routine part of their daily commute.  Still, I don’t think I’d mind a commute like that.


Bayfield to La Pointe

Bayfield to La Pointe