When snow covers the Bayfield Peninsula, attention turns from Lake Superior to the hills. That's where there are miles of trails for skiing, snowshoeing, mushing and sledding.
Events to catch: March 3-5, Winter Festival.
Details: For more, see Bayfield in winter.
Past fast plans: Gunflint prime time, Madison for kids, Fun around Ely, St. Paul carnival, Wausau winter
International Eelpout Festival in Walker, Minn. It's fun just to wander (or drive) around Leech Lake during this event, which includes mechanical bull riding, bikini ice fishing and a beer pong tournament. Be sure to have some 'pout nuggets, which are as tasty as the fish is ugly. Feb. 2326.
Grumpy Old Men Festival in Wabasha, Minn. There's always good eagle-viewing in this Mississippi River town, and during the festival, there will be an ice-fishing contest, polar plunge and minnow races. Feb. 25.
Bockfest at Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wis. This Madison-area brewery celebrates with the Running of the Blondes 1K race, a fish throw, music, costumes and, of course, beer. Tickets sell out, so buy early. Feb. 25.
International Festival in Madison. Dancers, musicians, storytellers and puppeteers representing traditions from around the world converge on the Overture Center for the Arts on State Street for this free festival. There's also food and a global bazaar. Feb. 25.
For more, see our Events Calendar.
Even if it looks like winter outside, you can count on maple trees to know otherwise.
In late February, their sap starts to run, and that's "the sweet good-bye of winter,'' writes naturalist John Burroughs.
Indigenous people were first to tap trees, inserting hollow reeds, letting the sap drip into troughs and boiling it down over a wood fire. The process isn't much different today, except most people use metal taps, plastic tubing and buckets to catch the sap.
It's still a lot of work; it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. But most people think real maple syrup is worth the effort.
Eagles don't really have lovable personalities. But, man, are they fun to watch.
Those haughty pale eyes, that 6-foot wing span, those wicked talons and the flesh-shredding beak eagles are just plain cool.
Everything about them is larger than life, right down to their nests, which are so big and sturdy that bears sometimes climb into them to hibernate.
While people in cities to the south are looking for crocuses, folks on northeast Minnesota's Gunflint Trail are enjoying some of the best skiing of the year.
It's not that the Gunflint is so much colder. It's that there's so much snow it keeps itself refrigerated, like glaciers.
"We have a really good base,'' says Heather Telchow of Golden Eagle Lodge. "Even after these warm days, the snow is like brand new. I grew up in Faribault, and I'm used to it disappearing in a few days. But we don't lose snow like that up here. We keep it forever.''
Looking for a reprieve from spring slush? Head for the 57-mile Gunflint Trail, which dead-ends in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
In the northeast Iowa town of Decorah, a pair of nesting bald eagles have become an international phenomenon.
Not only do they have a constant stream of live video, but avid watchers are snatching the best episodes and posting them on YouTube.
In January, the eagles court and get the nest ready. In mid-February, mom lays the eggs. In March, the eggs hatch, and in April and May, viewers can watch the eaglets grow.
In the north woods, irruptions of owls make birders ecstatic.
When food is scarce in far-north forests, owls fly south to look for it, many along the shores of Lake Superior.
I don't have the patience to watch birds. But when they come right to me . . . who can resist?
When anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine's Day roll around, swains everywhere wonder where to take their sweethearts to celebrate.
Of course, it has to be somewhere romantic. But what's romantic? To many, it's the floral Laura Ashley look, with lots of lace, patterned wallpaper and antiques.
To others, it's a rustic cabin in the forest, minus the heart-shaped whirlpool but with loads of privacy and atmosphere.
Minnesota has a variety of downhill areas for skiing and snowboarding, including the largest and highest destinations in the Midwest.