Around Lake Michigan

May 2017

We were on a lighthouse hunt. There are over 100 lighthouses on Lake Michigan. We Started in Milwaukee, went up the coast to Green Bay, across the upper peninsula of Michigan and then down the west coast of Michigan. We caught the high speed ferry from Muskegon back to Milwaukee.

We started our trip at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Harley is a big deal in Wisconsin. They have them on all their brochures and big posters in the airport. Three things are big here. Harley, beer and the Green Bay Packers

I love to take motorcycle photos. Click here to see them all.

Milwaukee is a nice town with a busy downtown with many historic buildings and many new ones as well.

This building looks out over the lake

The red car was given to us at the airport. I wanted a small sedan and they gave us a 2016 Jeep Compass with 35,000 miles. It was a terrible car. I could not look forward to 10 days in it. The next day I took it to the Green Bay airport and they gave me a Toyota Corolla.

Lincoln statue

It was a beautiful day and we had a nice ride up the lake shore. Milwaukee has nice parks, walkways and harbors going north from the city. Many huge expensive homes too.

Our first lighthouse was in Post Washington. The Breakwater Lighthouse was first built in 1860.

Port Washington Lighthouse. It was built in 1949.

Sheboygan Breakwater Lighthouse. It first operated in 1839.

The Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse

It took some hunting to find the Rawley Point (Twin River) Lighthouse. It was getting late and we had an hour drive to our hotel in Green Bay.

All the tourist information in Wisconsin is dominated by three attractions. The first was Harley Davidson, The Miller beer and then the Green Bay Packers. All three show up on a lot of people's clothing. We had to go see Lambeau Field in Green Bay. It is an impressive structure and a Green Bay icon.

My friend Dave Delie and his wife Carol grew up in Green Bay. This is Carol's childhood home. It is in a real nice old neighborhood less than a 1/4 mile from the Packer's stadium. She says it was not such a big deal then. It is a big deal now.

Dave lived less than a mile away in another well kept house.

We drove east back to the coast and Kewaunee. Our plan for the day was to drive up the east coast of the Door County peninsula and then down the west coast back to Green Bay. This was a nice historic town with some nice new homes built out on the water.

All the towns had harbors

This is the new car we picked up at the Green Bay airport after getting rid of the Jeep. This was real nice almost new Corolla.

The Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse

Further north on the lake shore was the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse

Sturgeon is the largest town in Door County. It is about half way up the peninsula We had to ask how to find the lighthouses. They cut a channel across from Green Bay to Lake Michigan in 1873. There was a small lighthouse out in the water on the south side and a large lighthouse with a keeper's house on the north side. This is the one on the south side. We then drove about 20 miles to get 1/4 mile further north on the north side of the channel.

Like many of the lighthouse this one is managed by the Coast Guard under the Department of Homeland Security.

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse

The southside lighthouse viewed from the northside

At the same location there was a third lighthouse. We could not see it from the road but the Coast Guard would let us walk to it. We had to stay on our side of the yellow line.

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Pierhead Lighthouse. It was worth the walk.

Throughout Wisconsin and Michigan there were many old farms with barns. We were always on the lookout for barns with quilt squares.

We tried to find two lighthouses in North Bay. The first one was not to be found and the second required a long hike through a state park. We moved on up the peninsula to the other side to Ephraim Village.

This town was just beautiful. What a great place to vacation. Almost all the hotels and houses were old white wooden structures.

Peninsula State Park was near by. It was huge. We drove around the coastline to the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. It looked out over the ship channel for ships heading to Green Bay.

A tourist. They were no others there. This was a good time of year to come. It was a nice day but we had coats on most of the time.

Many old farms with tractors and barns

The next day we headed north out of Green Bay. Dave had told me how to find the house that he and Carol had built about 32 miles north of Green Bay in the woods. Dave commuted to Green Bay. I was taking pictures when the present owner came out to see what I was up to. They gave me a tour of the yard and the house and gave me a jar of maple syrup they had made from the trees. Dave says it takes 55 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup. Nice people and nice country.

There are not many people up here in the woods.

We continued up the bay to Menominee Michigan and onto the Upper Peninsula. We stopped at a visitor's center and they gave us more lighthouse maps. This is the Menominee North Pier Lighthouse.

We continued north to Escanaba. They had a nice park with an off shore lighthouse.

On shore there was a nice park with the Sand Point (Escanaba) Lighthouse

Next we came to the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse. We missed a couple that required going many miles out of the way and taking long hikes.

This one did take some extra driving. The Seul Choix Point Lighthouse. It was down some dirt roads to the far end of a point.

There was small gift shop. We did not get to go in many as it was a week too early for the Memorial day start of the tourist season. I looked in a window and a woman came to the door and invited us in. They were just getting ready.

Then the husband opened up the light keeper's house and gave us a tour. The locals had donated antiques to furnish it.

Then we had a few miles to go to our bed and breakfast in St. Agnace on the north side of the Mackinac Straits and the Mackinac bridge.

This was the first day they were open for the season. They have 12 rooms, all on the top floor. We had their best room in the front looking over the water. It was our cheapest room as well.

The lighthouse was right off the pier in St. Ignace.

It was May 19th and our 39th wedding anniversary. We left the car behind and took the ferry to Mackinac Island.

This ferry took a detour under the Mackinac bridge

There are two lighthouses approaching Mackinac Island. This is Round Island Lighthouse.

The Round Island Passage Lighthouse is also in the channel approaching the island

It was a fantastic day. We had sweatshirts and parkas on all day but did not really notice. We had signed up for a carriage tour and for entrance to the fort. There are no motorized vehicles on the island. There are a lot of horses and bicycles everywhere.

The island was first occupied by the British army prior to the war of 1812. Later the US Army occupied the fort.

The Grand Hotel is the jewel of the island. It has the longest covered porch in the world. It is over 600 feet long. It costs $10 just to walk on the property. We didn't.

We were there before the tourist season. There were a few tourists and a few school field trip groups. In the summer this place is jammed with people. We went at the right time.

The Grand hotel keeps their own carriage house and horses. They have a collection of antique carriages.

This is a very special place for young people to work. They come from all over the country and live for the summer on the island. They are assigned horses and responsible for their care and feeding.

Jan wanted some of these tin flowers. I would not pick her any. What kind of anniversary is that?

There is a state park on the island with many natural sights.


This is the old fort

The views were terrific. It was clear and we could see forever.

There are the two lighthouses out in the bay

We sat out on the deck and had our anniversary lunch.

The next morning we crossed the bridge into Mackinaw City. (Sometime they spell it Mackinac and sometimes Mackinaw)

This is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse Which is right under the southern start of the bridge. It was completed in 1851.

It is a park now

We drove on looking for a small town on the north western point of the mainland of Michigan. We arrived in Cross Village. No traffic at all. There were a lot of bicycles there. We took a single track road, Lake Shore Drive, south around the coast line. There were bicycles coming toward us. A sign said "bicycle event. Take an alternative route". We didn't. For over an hour we drove about 20 MPH, sometimes stopping, as bicycles came toward us. It was the ZOO-DE-MACK Bike Bash. They have over 4000 bicyclists. They are of all ages and all skill levels. It wasn't a race. Just a ride.

We followed the small road south through Harbor Springs. Beautiful little towns and homes.

We found our next lighthouse in Petoskey. The Petoskey Pierhead Lighthouse

Next was the Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse

We went south down through Traverse City and then north on the Traverse peninsula to the northern point at the Old Mission Peninsula State Park and the Mission Point Lighthouse

I was very curious about the Great Lakes and the hydrology of the water flow. In the museum they had large posters explaining everything.

While Jan was in the gift shop she picked up a brochure on barns in the area with quilt paintings on them. We had to go find all 14 of them. There were many old farms in perfect condition. No mobile homes.

After returning to Traverse City we again headed north and west to Northport and the Leelanqu State Park.

We stopped for awhile in Suttons Bay to see all the shiny things

At the park. This is the first park they made us pay. $9 for 15 minutes. Most the parks were not open yet.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse. It was lit in 1852.

We stayed the night in Empire on the west coast west of Traverse City in this old B&B.

This is the home of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore

There are huge sand dunes. I was told this area was once covered with trees and the logging industry cleared them all out.

This sand cliff goes down over 500 feet. There is a sign that tells you it is 10 minutes down and 2 hours up. They warn you of the cost of emergency rescues.

The Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse outside Frankfort

The Point Betsie Lighthouse

The Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

What is a vacation without an afternoon Blizzard?

Ludington North Pierhead Lighthouse

Our B&B in Ludington A beautiful place with a fantastic breakfast.

These were at a history museum south of Ludington

The Pentwater Pier Lighthouse

This little station was on a back country road

This is the Little Sable Point Lighthouse

Most of the coast is lined with nice sandy beaches

We stopped at this little farm store

For some reason asparagus seems to be real popular here. They even had an asparagus festival. I don't like the stuff.

This one was a beauty. The White River Lighthouse. It is located at the opening of a channel into White Lake with the cities of Whitehall and Montague located on opposite sides. 

We stopped along a quiet road to watch the turkeys

This is at the entrance to Muskegan State Park.

From the south we took this photo of the Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse

Then we drove 40 miles around the channel and took this photo from the north side.

A similar light house, the Grand Haven Lighthouse

Our next night we stayed in a Hampton in Holland. This is a beautiful lighthouse. The Holland Harbor Lighthouse

The next morning we went to a park in Holland called Tulip Island. They had a big festival the previous week. The tulips don't last long. They were mostly gone.

They have windmills too

Our last lighthouse. South of Holland is the South Haven South Pier Lighthouse

Jan is very interested in miniature museums so we drove 60 miles inland to a miniature museum in Hickory Corners.

Click here to see the museum photos

Also at Hickory Corners was a great car museum. The Gilmore.

Click here to see photos of the Gilmore Auto Museum

Then it was back to Muskegon by 4 p.m. to catch the high speed ferry back to Milwaukee. We flew home the next morning.

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