Posted by: Kath Usitalo | September 13, 2011

Looking At Lighthouses

Mission Point Lighthouse, Old Mission Peninsula, Lake Michigan

We don’t own lighthouse-shaped salt and pepper shakers or even a lighthouse nite lite, but I do admit to a certain fascination with the structures that were built to guide sailors navigating the Great Lakes.

Michigan has more of the beacons than any other state, with 115 lights and lighthouses along its freshwater shores. I’ve been known to make a reasonable detour to visit a light and snap a photo or a few.

On last weekend’s trip to Traverse City we took a sunset drive up Old Mission Peninsula, the 18-mile finger of land that splits Grand Traverse Bay, and arrived at Mission Point Lighthouse just after the sun had gone down. The almost-full moon was rising.

We were greeted by a couple who had just finish sweeping sand from the pathway to the beach; I assume they were the volunteer lightkeepers tidying up before retiring to their temporary home on the 45th parallel. It had been a beautiful day and I’m sure they’d had a steady stream of visitors to see the 1870 light, enjoy the beach, and peak into the 1850s pioneer log cabin relocated to this site.

It was so peaceful T.J. and I talked briefly about being lighthouse keepers for a week or a weekend. Then Tucker the Wonder Dog barked and that idea flickered out.

Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival October 6-9

Old Presque Isle Light, near Alpena

Each autumn lighthouse lovers gather in Alpena to celebrate their common interest at the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival. This year’s 16th annual  event is October 6-9, and features presentations, entertainment, and vendors selling nautical-themed goods of all kinds including, no doubt, lighthouse salt and pepper shakers and nite lites.

With 10 lighthouses along the Lake Huron shore between Tawas Point and Mackinaw City it’s easy to take a self-guided driving tour to see 8 of the lights, and there are boat trips to Middle Island Station and Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse. You can even hop on plane and helicopter flights for aerial views of 3 to 5 lighthouses.

This sounds like a stellar event: Night at the Lighthouse, an acoustic jam under the stars at 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, north of Rogers City, 7 p.m. Friday, October 7. No charge; dress warmly, and bring a flashlight.

Visitor Info Clicks:

Traverse City

Alpena

Pure Michigan

Related Posts:

Attention Lighthouse Lovers

Homemade: In Stitches

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