Bayfield Businesses Prep for Ice Cave Visitors

Ice Caves Open, Hotels Book up in Hours

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Winter is a time when businesses owners in Bayfield close up shop and take a break but not this year.

The small town of Bayfield is about to get overrun by tourists rolling into town to see the ice caves.

“Everybody knows they’re open now and we’re going to be pretty busy,” said Patricia Sweeney who works at the front desk at the Bayfield Inn. “The whole town is going to be really busy.”

After weeks of uncertainty the apostle islands ice caves will officially open Saturday, and Bayfield businesses can’t wait.

Just about 48 hours ago Apostle Islands National Lakeshore officials announced the ice caves will in fact be open this winter.

It doesn’t give businesses must time to prepare for the storm of people about to come into town.

“It went from quiet to wild almost overnight,” said Sweeney.

It only took a few hours for the Bayfield Inn to go from empty to booked solid.

“Now we’re filling up through the week,” said Sweeney. “Next week is getting pretty solid.”

It’s an exciting yet stressful time because much of Bayfield anticipated a well-deserved winter break.

They figure now the hotel will be fairly busy until park officials close the ice caves.

“It’s rare for the caves to be open year after year after year,” said manager of Sweet Sailing, Beta Bodin. “It’s an occasion not the norm.”

From hotels to the outfitters, business owners are anticipating streets to go from bare to bustling in a matter of hours.

“The restaurants will be full,” smiled Sweeney. “The shops that sell the outdoor gear will be full.”

With the ice caves coming to life so late in the season locals believe this weekend will be quiet compared to last year.

“Social media really took the ice caves and winter tourism to a different level for Bayfield,” said Bodin. “It’s something that we’ve never seen before.”

If Bayfield residents had to bet on it, this year’s naturally beautiful phenomenon will likely be short lived.

“It’s fun for people to get the opportunity to see what we know to be a very special place,” said Bodin.

Businesses say that one good ice cave tourism weekend can help support them throughout the entire winter.

The ice caves will open Saturday February 28 at 8:00 a.m.

They will be open on a day by day basis so if you want to plan a trip make sure you call ahead.

For more information on the ice caves, click here.

Categories: Community-imported, Entertainment-imported