I applaud your choice of Madeline Island as the best weekend getaway, it's pretty daring to send people on a 4 hour drive anywhere for just a weekend. But, as anyone who has been there will agree, the drive is half the fun, and arriving at the ferry dock is better than unwinding with a six pack of beer and a loaded bong. The stress relief is immediate.There is one little error in the description of your recommendation though. You can't mention the attributes of Madeline Island without including it's twin, Bayfield. Of course, you talk about staying there to save money on lodging, but the little town that could (and does) is packed with wonderful places too! Consider the fact that the minders of the city have prevented any changes to occur since forever, but that the amenities are as up-to-date as anyone would expect. Shops offering food, clothing, gifts and supplies for the trip over to the island or on your sailboat are well stocked and manned by some of the nicest people you'll meet.There are facilities in Bayfield that cater to most of your personal needs too. The library is welcoming, there is an indoor swimming pool. You can buy fresh whitefish caught that day. There are fruit growers, pie bakers and sandwich makers all situated within biking distance.In Bayfield you can catch a cruise out to other Apostle islands, tour the caves that line the shore, take a kayak ride, a sailboat ride or rent a boat.I guess what I'm saying is, Bayfield is not a conduit to getting to Madeline Island, it's a compliment that makes our claim to being "Twin Cities" seem like a challenge.
BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY Minneapolis 2010 - Madeline Island, Bayfield, Wisconsin
A good Minnesotan has already ventured to the north shore of Lake Superior. While we are always partial to our home state, you're missing out if you ignore the southern side of the lake along the Wisconsin border. For the ultimate Lake Superior weekend, head to Madeline Island, just 90 miles east of Duluth. It's the biggest island in the set of Apostle Islands just off Bayfield, Wisconsin, on the northern point of the state. To save some money, find a place to stay in Bayfield but spend your days on Madeline Island. Most tourists access the island by taking the 25-minute ferry ride. Once you're on the island, ditch your car and rent a bike to get the full feel of the slow-moving, peaceful, and quaint town. Explore the beautiful Lake Superior shoreline along a city park and state park. Visitors who want to spend time on the water can rent kayaks or canoes, or join tours to see the other islands, sea caves, and shipwrecks.
You can also ditch your car in Bayfield, and come over and rent a bike, moped or kayak for a daytrip. You'll have more spending money that way. If you want to stay on the island, you could come with a group, share a rental, and bring only one car to the island to save on expenses. Wander the town on foot all along the waterfront--there are shops, restaurants, art galleries and studios along the way. Also be sure to visit Tom's Burned down Cafe on block off main street, on Middle road. Known as the "Carnegie Hall of junkyards", it features local art, local music, and....lively local FUN!