Bayfield: Smithsonian names Bayfield, Wis. as one of “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2015”

Media Contacts:
Name: Kelley Linehan
Title: Marketing & Events Manager,
Bayfield Chamber & Visitor Bureau
Phone: (715) 779-3335
Email address: [email protected]

Bayfield, Wis. – The town of Bayfield in northern Wisconsin has grabbed national attention once again, this time as one of “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2015,” according to

Bayfield Mayor Larry J. MacDonald is thrilled, along with many other local residents, that more than 3.9 million Smithsonian readers across America will notice what a gem Bayfield truly is.

“The recent designation from Smithsonian reinforces all the qualities of the place we call home,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald believes the residents of Bayfield place “people, the environment and our businesses in high regard,” making it a community that stands out from all the rest.

“We are lucky to have a talented community that chooses to be both supportive and protective of our many assets, including both Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands” said MacDonald. “It is hard to imagine a better place than Bayfield.”

For the past fours years, Smithsonian Magazine has highlighted their choices for the top 20 small towns in America as a way to encourage their readers to “take the path less traveled.”

A three person selection committee at selected this year’s top 20 towns from a pool of approximately 13,000 small American towns with populations of 20,000 people or less. According to Smithsonian Writer and Editor Bess Lovejoy, the committee used a geographic information service, ESRI, to narrow down their selection.

In the “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2015” article, Lovejoy states that “Mother Nature is the undeniable draw in Bayfield.” The town, which sits on the pristine south shore of Lake Superior, is the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. She added that Bayfield’s increased visitation due to the the Ice Cave phenomenon of 2014, initially brought the town to the committee’s attention. However, it was Bayfield’s rich cultural history, local art and music scene and plethora of local food producers that really piqued the committee’s interest.

“There are so many great activities all along the National Lakeshore,” Lovejoy noted. “There are some interesting developments around town.”

Lovejoy added that certain cultural aspects of Bayfield – such as the celebration of Big Top Chautauqua’s 30th anniversary this year- really made the town stand out.

“There is this unique combination of natural wonders and cultural wonders,” said Lovejoy.

Kelley Linehan, marketing and events manager at the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau, is proud that Bayfield has been recognized by Smithsonian as small town hub for culture, history, scenery and the arts.

“Clearly, the Smithsonian is a very well-respected institution, so this is a high honor for Bayfield,” said Linehan. “One of the aspects that I found to be particularly interesting is that their definition of a small town is 20,000 people or less. With Bayfield checking in at population 487, we were up against communities much larger than us, yet we made the final list.”

Bayfield is host to four major festivals each year including Bayfield in Bloom, Bayfield Festival of Arts and Gallery Tour, Apple Festival and the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race. Home to 14 orchards and fruit farms, the town has also been dubbed the Berry Capital of Wisconsin.

Lovejoy said that although she hasn’t had the opportunity to visit Bayfield yet, she hopes that she – and readers of the magazine – will take advantage of all Bayfield has to offer in 2015.