Lighthouse Tour of Northern Lake Michigan 2013
Group shot at Mission Point Lighthouse located in Old Mission State Park at the tip of the peninsula which separates the east and west arms of the Grand Traverse Bay
A closer look at the group in front of the Mission Point Lighthouse
A pretour visit to Muskegon provided an opportunity to view the South Pierhead and South Breakwater lights
While waiting for someone to open the Muskegon South Pierhead light we saw the car ferry "Badger" which transports vehicles and passengers between Muskegon and Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Despite rumors that the Grand Haven Lighthouse was shrouded, several folks drove to Grand Haven to find out that the restoration had not yet started
The Grand Haven Front Range Light has a base shaped like a ship's prow to protect it from the crashing waves
Of course, no lighthouse adventure is complete without a stop for ice cream. Here Dick, Mary Lee, Nancy, Laurel and Marge pose after enjoying, among other things, a Culver's "Cement Mixer!"
Our first full day of the tour started at the White River Lighthouse, named for the stream which the Native Americans called "Wabish-Sippe," meaning the river with white clay
Leah and Paula (or Lauren) at the White River Light Station
Tony, Dick and Norm in the lantern room at White River looking out on Lake Michigan
The White River Lighthouse had a nice display of the clockwork mechanism (pulleys and weight) used to rotate the lens that is on display in the second floor museum
As we could see, the location of the Little Sable Point lighthouse was very sandy, When constructed a pile driver was used to drive 109 one-foot diameter pilings into the sand to form a solid based for the tower
The third order lens at Little Sable Point was different than most. Its lower and center section were fixed, while its upper section, made up of ten bull's-eye panels, revolved. Brackets supporting this upper section were connected to a pedestal that revolved on chariot wheels
It was chilly and breezy and the walkway wet for those that chose to brave the elements and walk the half mile out to the Ludington Pier Lighthouse
The profile of the Ludington Lighthouse allows it to cut through crashing waves like the prow of a ship
At one point in time the brick on the Big Sable tower was deteriorating to the point where the tower was encased in 18 metal cylinders placed on top of each other. The space between the metal and brick wall was filled with concrete
Big Sable was our fourth and final "climb" of the day and provided wonderful views of the shore along Lake Michigan
We didn't have to walk to Big Sable, but it might have been quicker. Here a weary group waits for the bus to take us to our hotel for the night
The catwalk at the Manistee Lighthouse is one of only a few remaining on the east coast of Lake Michigan. It was refurbished in the early 1990s through a "Save the Catwalk" campaign
Esther and Laurel pose with the Manistee Lighthouse in the background
Mary got an opportunity to go inside the Manistee Lighthouse, which is in dire need of repair
Mary Lee and Nancy never pass up an opportunity to let their inner child loose
Skip presented Mark Fedder, Director, Manistee County Historical Museum a donation to support the county's lighthouse restoration efforts. He also took possession of a new passport stamp - adding the lighthouse to the growing list of passport stamp participants
The 1932 Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse has a square steel base and was topped with the tower from a previous lighthouse on the pier
We learned that the door on the second floor of the Frankfort Lighthouse that led no where, was originally designed to be the exit to a catwalk, which was never built
While we were not welcomed at the Point Betsie Lighthouse, we still managed to get some great photos on a very clear day
The front of the Point Betsie Lighthouse is protected from the crashing waves by a massive retaining wall built at the base of the lighthouse
At the Music House Museum, one of our non lighthouse stops, we enjoyed a docent led tour of a one-of-a-kind collection of rare antique musical instruments and music-making machines, dating from 1870 through 1930
The Manitou passage, which allows ships to avoid the open waters of Lake Michigan has many shoals which prompted the construction of the North Manitou Shoal lighthouse to warn of these shoals that rise to within 20 feet of the surface
Marie and Nancy pose with the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse in the background
It was a beautiful day when we took the ferry ride to South Manitou Island - one of the islands, which according legend was created when a bear cub drowned while swimming to escape a forest fire in Wisconsin
Marge borrowed several jackets in an attempt to stay warm on the ferry ride to South Manitou Island
Approaching South Manitou Island provided a great photo op of the lighthouse
While the group exits the ferry to walk to the lighthouse, Patricia mugs for the camera!
Waiting for the first group of climbers to come down from the top of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse
Unlike most lighthouses that are connected to the keeper's house, the passage way between the South Manitou Island Lighthouse tower and the keeper's quarters actually leads to the second landing of the tower
Two lines form on the return from South Manitou Island to the mainland. One for the brand new passport stamps and the other for our favorite pastime - food!
We only purchase our lunches from the high class locations - like the Village Cheese Shanty in Leland. Don't let the façade fool you - the sandwiches and wraps were great!
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse is a well restored station, including oil storage building and fog signal building
When the fog signal building was added at Grand Traverse in 1899 the keeper's house was remodeled to convert the dwelling into a duplex with accommodations for two families
An interesting model of the lighthouse at Grand Traverse is on display inside the gift shop - built entirely out of Legos!
No matter where we are, our wickies can always find ice cream. Here, Stan and Sandy prove the point while Wanda looks on
As we headed out into Lake Michigan for our day long tour of the reef, island and shoal lights, we first passed the Charlevoix Pier light
The 1867 South Fox Island a lighthouse was constructed of cream city brick and built on the on the southern tip of the island
The original South Fox Island lighthouse was difficult to maintain and in 1933, the brick tower was replaced a 60' cast iron skeletal tower that was relocated from Sapelo Island Georgia
The Beaver Head light marks the western side of the passage known as Gray's Passage
Squaw Island is the northernmost island in the Beaver Island archipelago. The island is surrounded by shoals with as little water depth as six feet extending almost a mile to the south and two miles to the north which is why our vessel was not able to get close to the shore
Pulled pork sliders and chips were served up for lunch aboard the Keewenaw Star between lighthouse viewings
A large group of folks joined our tour group for one day to see the lights out in Lake Michigan including our friend Peggy, sitting here with Nancy
Lansing Shoal was one of the navigational hazards originally marked by a lightship. This lighthouse was not built until 1928
This photo of Lansing Shoal lighthouse clearly shows the circular cast iron lantern with helical astragals as well as the fog horns
The White Shoal Lighthouse got its candy cane day mark in 1990, which is unique on the Great Lakes
The 2 deck cranes at White Shoal Lighthouse we used for unloading supplies and for raising and lowering the keeper's boat
The 76 foot tall Waugoshance Lighthouse was topped with a bird cage style lantern room and a 4th order lens. This is only one of three bird cage lanterns remaining on all of the Great Lakes
The Gray's Reef Lighthouse is still manned for a couple of days in July when it is used as an observation platform for the Chicago to Mackinaw yacht race
The lighthouse on Gray's Reef, completed in 1936, is an exact duplicate of another lighthouse that was built one year earlier on Minneapolis Shoal north of Door County in Green Bay
Skillagalee Island or Ile aux Galets (Island of Pebbles) is a tiny island that is a small part of a large shallow gravel shoal. With the low lake level, this is as close as we could get
Aboard the Keewenaw Star for our cruise were Passport Stamp experts Al and James, who wowed the group with their extensive stamp collections
Our last light of the day was the Harbor Springs or Little Traverse Lighthouse
The bell tower at Harbor Springs, unlike so many that were torn down when fog horns were installed, still stands in front of the lighthouse
Our faithful driver, Vern, was always willing to put up with the crazy wickies and at some point become one
Warned that we might never get a bus into the parking lot near the Manning Memorial Lighthouse, we went anyway and found it to be no challenge at all!
Stops along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore provided the group with great views from the overlooks
Mini group picture at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes
The thorn (Vern) between two roses (Esther & Wanda)
The twins Lauren & Paula (also known as the Lighthouse Ladies by the ranger we met at the Sleeping Bear Visitor's Center)
The Cherry Republic had everything "Cherry" including an Olympic sized cherry pit spitting area, which included a place to park your teeth to avoid losing them when you spit!
At the Cherry Republic's Great Hall we sampled all forms of cherry products. The tour guide was presented with several variety of jam, including jalapeño, for his gastronomic pleasure
The small town of Glen Arbor gave us a chance to relax and have a lunch that did not come out of a bag or box!
Built in 1870, the Mission Point Lighthouse sits on the 45th parallel, half way between the North Pole and the equator
At Mission Point we encountered one of the numerous examples of how the level of the water in Lake Michigan is falling. The last time we were here Tony, who is taking a photo down on the beach, would have been standing in the water!
No lighthouse society trip is complete without a stop for some "special" ice cream. Everyone enjoyed their treat at the home of Moomer's Ice Cream near Traverse City
Our last day was highlights by a trip to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Located in Grand Rapids, this 132-acre botanical garden and sculpture park provided a relaxing afternoon as we wandered among the plants and statues
Hobie poses under Leonardo da Vinci's Horse: The American Horse by Nina Akamu. The bronze sculpture is 24 feet tall
Patricia poses with her favorite bear statue at Meijer Gardens
Our tram tour of Meijer Gardens, on a gorgeous day, took us pass numerous sculptures and this beautiful little waterfall
The final stop on our tour was as the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum to view, among other things, replicas of Ford's cabinet room and the oval office
One interesting display at the Ford Museum was an actual piece of the Berlin Wall
All good things must come to an end, but not before a final get together with friends before the farewell dinner
Vern shows off one of the two lighthouse embroideries that he and his wife created for us. One went to Team Sherwood and the other was donated to our raffle. Leah was the lucky winner
Mary & Nancy presented Skip with a new t-shirt that reads - "Old Gezer - Formerly known as Stud Muffin". Don't think he will be wearing this one to church!
All along the way, that pesky rabbit named Bosley kept getting into the act
Team Sherwood hopes to see all of you again on another tour in the near future!