Holidays and Glass Blowing


(December 2018) On this episode of Bayfield County Wild, Nancy Christopher talks with co-host and Director of Bayfield County Tourism, Mary Motiff, about holiday shopping and where to go for unique gift ideas. Our special guest Sue Vojacek, owns a family-run business called Oulu Glass Gallery and is inviting everyone to the family’s Finnish enclave to watch the art of glass blowing and to sign up for classes over the holidays. Plus, get into the holiday spirit with festive events and get ready to ring in the New Year at the Top of Wisconsin. 


Mary takes us on a circle tour, starting in the northern part of county. Bayfield has plenty of orchards, like the Bayfield Apple Co., that are open year-round and offer delicious, home-made jams, jellies, mustards and ciders. The downtown streets are lined with decorative gift shops that include the Apostle Islands Bestsellers, Bayfield Wine and Spirits, Keeper of the Light,  Joanne’s Scandinavian and the  Brownstone Center and Sweet Sailing. In between shops, there are plenty to places to relax and refuel. Not too far down the road from Bayfield is Washburn with its delightful shops including: Chequamegon BooksKarlyn’s Gallery and Lake Superior Drifting Stone Jewelry. You’ll also find great stocking stuffers at Coco’s Bakery and Harbor House Sweets. If you time things right in Washburn, take in one of two holiday shows at Stage North – “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” put on by the Groundlings and “Blue Canvas Christmas,” performed by the Big Top Blue Canvas Orchestra.

Next, Mary says head west to Iron River and stop on the way at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center in Ashland on Dec. 1. They are having a homemade holiday bazaar featuring locally-made gifts for everyone on your list. In Iron River, don’t forget to visit  Angie’s BakeryJim’s Meat Market and  This Old Bunkhouse. You’ll want to time it right to grab a bite at the Delta Diner and then head over to Benoit to browse the tremendous selection of cheeses at Benoit Cheese.

When you get to the southern part of the county, you’ll be in the Cable area, where Mary says places like My Villa, Circle North, Whispering Pines Gift and Gallery and Redbery Books make your shopping experience the exact opposite to shopping in a mall. Shopping in Bayfield County for the holidays is relaxing and beautiful, as all of the communities embrace the holidays with festive decorations.


Oulu RockIf you’re looking for that special Christmas ornament, you might find it in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at the Oulu Glass Gallery, just north of Brule. Run by a family of artists, Jim Vojacek blows glass, his wife Sue Vojacek makes stained glass and their daughter, Tonja makes jewelry. Sue says they built their studio in 1972, which many say looks like a mushroom house. You’ll find just about anything you can make with glass there, including jewelry, ornaments, goblets and bowls.

Sue says this time of year to mid-January, you can come to see her husband, Jim, blow glass during their holiday shows. Jim takes audience requests and creates beautiful blown glass items in minutes. The entire glass blowing process takes considerably longer. According to Sue, Jim loads the furnace with 50 to 200 lbs. of raw glass materials. Its takes about three days to get the furnace hot enough to melt the material, then Jim blows glass for 6 to 8 weeks. The blown glass is put in a second furnace, where it is reheated, and then placed in a lair to cool down.

For $35, you can take a glass blowing class, but Sue suggests you check the website for availability at or call 715-372-4160 to leave a message. Most of the time the family members are in the studio creating beautiful works of art. The studio is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and from Noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Mary says if you are heading there from Hwy. 2, look for the Oulu Rock, a giant, painted rock. It’s been there for more than 50 years. How it got there and who painted remains a secret. Sue knows, but she’s not saying a word.  


Nov. 30 - Dec. 1: Christmas in Cable Celebration

Dec. 1:  2nd Annual Holiday “Bizarre” in Washburn

Dec. 1:  Holiday Spirit Gallery Tour in Bayfield

Dec. 1 – Dec. 23:  Wassail Dinner Concerts at the Rittenhouse Inn

Dec. 6: Breakfast with Santa at Lakewoods Resort

Dec. 8:  Holiday Boutique at the Washburn Cultural Center

Dec. 8: Dickens of A Christmas at White Winter Meadery, Cidery & Distillery

Dec. 8:  Santa Arrives on the Ferry in Bayfield

Dec. 12:  Iron River Holiday Gift & Craft Show

View the full schedule of events on our website and Facebook page.


Ring in the New Year with Joe Groshek and John Murphy, who will be talking about Fat Biking in Bayfield County.


Siskiwit River Cabins
Looking for cabins to rent on Lake Superior? Siskiwit River Cabins offers clean, charming, year-round, fully-furnished, two-bedroom cabins located across from beautiful Corny Beach.

Artesian House B&B
Innkeepers Christine Markley & Dennis Clark welcome you to the Artesian House Bed & Breakfast near Bayfield. Located at the gateway to the Apostle Islands and the Lake Superior National Lakeshore, the B&B offers contemporary, eco-friendly lodging & comfortable furnishings.

Second Wind Country Inn
Come catch your breath at the Second Wind Country Inn.  Located just minutes from Lake Superior on the Chequamegon Bay, the Inn is just a short drive from the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, Washburn, Bayfield and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Robinson Lake Resort & Bar
Looking to escape to the city for a week? Come enjoy a relaxing week in Barnes at Robinson Lake Resort and Bar. Now under new ownership, the resort has two lakefront cabins for rent with all the amenities you’ll need!