- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Point Betsie Lighthouse is a classic: A four-story white tower attached to a red-roofed keeper’s house, surrounded by a windswept vista of dunes and water.

Built in 1858, the lighthouse near Frankfort is the oldest standing structure in Benzie County, the Lansing State Journal (https://on.lsj.com/1bePNJv ) reported.

And the site also has one of the newest buildings in the area: A museum, gift shop and restroom facility. The project was funded by an anonymous donor and coordinated by a dedicated group of volunteers.

“Virtually every day that we’re open, we have people coming, many of whom have gone to quite a few lighthouses,” said Jonathan Hawley, past president of the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse and author of a book about the structure. “They stand for values that people think are very important, and they of course have a vital place in American history.”

Commerce in America’s early days depended on transportation by water. Safe navigation was so important to the nation’s founders that creating a federal program to operate lighthouses was the ninth law passed by Congress in 1789, Hawley said.



Michigan has 129 lighthouses, more than any other state. And summer offers many opportunities to get up close and personal with these iconic buildings.

Some are located near city harbors and easily accessible. Visitors will find themselves hiking to a few of them; some are on islands. Many are open to the public during the summer. Here are a few lighthouse possibilities as you plan your Michigan summer fun.

___

The 2015 version of the Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map and Circle Tour is now available. The route includes a 1,100-mile route through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin and maps more than 100 lighthouses around Lake Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac. It highlights and provides details and history of 20 of the lighthouses and includes suggestions for other stops and dining.

___

A variety of opportunities are available for people who want to spend time working at a Michigan lighthouse. A key word is working: Volunteers are responsible for conducting tours, running gifts shops and museums, and keeping historic sites clean; a lighthouse gig will not involve endless hours of relaxation.

Here are a some of the available opportunities:

DeTour Reef Lighthouse, offshore near DeTour Village in the Upper Peninsula, offers guest keeper weekends throughout the summer at a cost of $220.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse, on Lake Michigan in Leelanau State Park. Guest keepers pay $220 a week for lighthouse jobs April through December. 

Mission Point Lighthouse, 17 miles north of Traverse City: Couples can pay $200 a week to live on site and help out. 

St. Helena Island Lighthouse, in Lake Michigan seven miles west of the northern end of the Mackinac Bridge. Volunteer keeper openings are available from mid-June through mid-August, with tours of duty ranging from five days through the entire two month period. Fee is $100 to cover transportation and $20 per day for food and incidentals.

Tawas Point Lighthouse is on Lake Huron in Tawas Point State Park. Keepers pay $225 per person per week and stay one or two weeks Memorial Day through Labor Day. Applications also are available for duty in 2016.

Au Sable Light Station, on Lake Superior, 13 miles east of Grand Maris in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Program is free to volunteers; applications are accepted periodically. 

Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington North Pier Light & Little Sable Point Lighthouse, all on Lake Michigan: You must be a member of Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association. Four to seven volunteers are scheduled for each tour of duty. 

Crisp Point Lighthouse is on Lake Superior, 14 miles west of Whitefish Point. Volunteers stay in motels or tent/RV camp south of the lighthouse for one to eight days at a time in the summer.

Forty Mile Point Lighthouse is on Lake Huron, six miles north of Rogers City. Keepers live in their own RVs.

___

If you want to stay in a lighthouse without lifting a finger, there are possibilities for that.

The Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast, which features a 60-foot tower on a cliff above Lake Superior, is in Big Bay, west of Marquette. Room rates range from $129 to $194 per night, depending on the size of the room and the view.

The Jacobsville Lighthouse Inn is in a restored light station that dates to 1869, overlooking Lake Superior on the Keweenaw Peninsula. It’s open year-round and has just two rooms, with rates at $185 and $230, or $300 a night for both.

The Middle Island Light Station is located in Lake Huron, halfway between Thunder Bay Island and Presque Isle. Buildings on the island include a light tower, keepers’ quarters, an oil house, tool garage and fog horn. The conical brick tower stands 77 feet tall, with a light visible for 17 miles. Rates vary through the season and lodging can accommodate groups of up to 12 people (10 in keepers’ quarters and 2 in the bunkhouse).

___

Information from: Lansing State Journal, https://www.lansingstatejournal.com

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide