Lighting the way for Pure Michigan

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Point Aux Barques Lighthouse I do love to travel!  That’s why I’m happy for the opportunity to share something on the Pure Michigan Travel Blog.  A few years ago, I did a lot of traveling, and saw a lot of things I may never see again.  I didn’t take any exotic trips, or even go abroad.  Canada was the only foreign country I visited during those “travel days” as I call them.  Mostly, we stayed in the mid-west, and did a lot of touring in my own state of Michigan.  Shortly before those trips started, I fell in love with lighthouses.  That had everything to do with the start of traveling to lighthouses.  Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron, MI was the first one I climbed.   Michigan has about 116 lighthouses, although I thought there were more.  I’ve seen most of them in my state, plus I’ve traveled to California and Canada to see a few there.  Ohio, New York, Indiana, and Illinois have lighthouses that share our Great Lakes’ borders.  I’ve seen most of them!

 Some of the lighthouses are not in commission anymore, but most are.  Many lighthouses in the United States today are run by the Coast Guard .  These majestic lights have great histories, and some are haunted!  Believe that or not.  I do because I learned about one of them through experience!  But, that’s another story.  Just imagine what it would be like to live in a lighthouse on an island during the harsh winters the Great Lakes are known for. 

Big Sable Point LighthouseThere are more and more lighthouses being preserved, and some restored lights become Bed and Breakfasts.   It would be so much fun to stay overnight in one.  Some lighthouses allow volunteers to stay for a week, and run the gift shops and give tours of the light.  The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is one of those.  When I visited, I thought it was so tall and beautiful, and I could imagine staying there for a week, a month, a summer!  After visiting hours the whole beach belongs to you!  I think this would be a wonderful experience, and I would love to do this!  

Once, I camped right beside the Point Aux Barques Lighthouse which is 10 miles east of Port Austin, Michigan.  All night long you could see the light beam shining in all its glory, and to think it operates throughout the shipping season on the Great Lakes.  Each lighthouse on the Great Lakes has its own individual flash or blink.  Getting up in the morning and seeing it standing in the fog is a sight I will always remember and yearn to see again.  Point Aux Barques is another of Michigan’s lighthouses with a haunted history.  Some wives became keepers after the death of their light keeper husbands.

 I’m totally captivated by lighthouse stories and information about the keepers!  Have you ever stayed overnight at a Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast?  Have you volunteered at one?  I’d be very interested in knowing what it was like.

Mary J Dressel

Mary J. Dressel is a published author and is currently working on her third book in the Enchantment series.  She makes her home in West Michigan.  If you have questions about this post, please leave a comment.  You can also contact the author via Twitter (@maryjdressel).

  • Theresa Reiter

    I am so wanting to see as many lighthouses as a week will allow. Do you have any suggestions where I should start? Thanks for the wonderful article. It has definately added fuel to the fire for me!

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  • Eric Riback

    All the lighthouse locations are listed on our map of US Lighthouses. Another great source for lighthouse locations is Lighthouse Friends http://www.lighthousefriends.com/

  • http://www.maryjdresselbooks.com Mary

    Theresa,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for commenting. I don’t know where you live so it’s hard to suggest a place to start. I know if you go to the thumb area, you can see a lot of lighthouses all the way around the thumb, from Marine City all the way up around the tip of the thumb, and back down the other side. You can actually start in Detroit on Belle Isle. Yes, they have a lighthouse! Or you can go up along the coast of Lake Huron and hit quite a few there too. If you want Michigan’s tallest one, it’s the new Presque Isle Lighthouse near Roger’s City.

    http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/huron/newpresqisl/newpresqisl.htm

    Lake Michigan is another great place to view lots of lighthouses. Start in St. Joseph, and work your way up the coast. I suggest getting a book with lighthouses on the different lakes. That’s what I did. There are many books on this topic. Some are especially for tourning and visiting, and journaling. I can guarantee you will have lots of fun! I’d love to hear about your adventures if you do a week long lighthouse tour. Keep in mind that just because you have a map, once you get off the road, you might have some walking to do to find it. Thanks, again!

    Mary

  • http://www.maryjdresselbooks.com Mary

    Eric,

    That link you included is wonderful. I can use that myself!

    Mary

  • James

    People are always amazed when I tell them Michigan has the most light houses of any state. Great article.

    -James

  • Janice Summers

    Enjoyed reading your article. Have you written a book about Lighthouses? I just lost my precious grandson Michael. (accident) Growing up Michael collected lighthouses.
    My older sister lives in Temperance MI.

    Janice