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Apostle Islands ice caves lead to brisk business

Published On: Feb 08 2014 08:34:04 PM CST
BAYFIELD, WI (AP) -

Some 4,000 sightseers are trekking to the Apostle Islands ice caves each weekend to see glistening ice caves made accessible by frozen Lake Superior. That's led to an unexpected tourism boom in otherwise hibernating villages.

A Wisconsin Public Radio report says local businesses in Cornucopia and Bayfield are generally closed for the winter. But inns and general stores are staying open to cater to the brisk business.

Mike Upthegrove runs Ehler's General Store in Cornucopia. The place usually closes until April but he says he plans to stay open this weekend because ice-cave explorers need brats and hot drinks.

The Village Inn down the road is full and its restaurant is busy. Employee Cheryl O'Bryon calls business "an economic miracle," with customers from Japan, China and Australia.

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