There are three lighthouses in Duluth, Minnesota, and I was able to get them all into the same shot. That’s Duluth Rear Range Light in the foreground, Duluth North Pierhead Light on the left, and Duluth South Pierhead Light on the right.
Thursday, July 14 was our last day in Michigan, and before leaving Holland, we stopped at Holland Harbor Lighthouse, which we viewed from Holland State Park.
About 45 minutes south is South Haven South Pier Light, our next stop.
We did some wine tasting and shopping at McIntosh Winery in South Haven. Not only did we sample wines, but we got to sample cheeses, too, and bought a basil flavored cheese (along with blueberry barbecue sauce and some kind of spicy pickled asparagus – I didn’t try either one of those), and the kids got to taste some juices.
We were in St. Joseph around lunch time and wanted to stop at one more winery before looking for a place to eat. Traffic was a nightmare, and there were no parking spaces to be found. After driving around for what seemed an eternity, we finally found a parking space several blocks away and walked to the winery in the downtown area, then ate lunch at a sub shop before heading back to the car. Of course by then, there was almost no traffic and plenty of parking! Must have just been the lunch time rush.
Forget naked…. I’d be asleep!
We had one more place on our list of things to see, St. Joseph North Pier Light, and we almost skipped it because there was a $5 fee for parking (is that really wort it, to spend about 30 minutes there?) and no other public parking nearby. It was either private property or marina parking. In the end we did pay the fee, because it was the very last lighthouse.
Don’t worry, at this point our vacation was almost over…. only a few more posts to
suffer read through 😉
First on the agenda on Wednesday, July 13 was Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park, but when we found out that it would be an almost 2 mile walk each way…. on the beach… in the sand… in flip-flops, because our shoes were under all the luggage in a storage compartment.. we decided to skip it instead. I would have liked to go, but I don’t think the kids would have lasted, certainly not without complaining most of the way. There’s always next time, and we’ll be better prepared. We did spend some time on the beach, even though it was chilly and windy.
Next was Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse. They were open for tours and we all went up, even Melissa, who was less than thrilled about the spiral stairs of Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. This one didn’t have a spiral staircase, it had ladders, and neither of the girls was happy about having to climb down backwards. We had quite the view from the top, even though it’s not a very tall lighthouse. It was a looong way back to the beach! You don’t realize how far it is when you’re walking on the pier (trying to dodge the crashing waves).
Little Sable Point Lighthouse is inside Silver Lake State Park, and one of my favorite lighthouses. All four of us took the long spiral staircase to the top and enjoyed the view… and the little fun facts on the railing.
We made a quick stop at a winery in Silver Lake, and then we were off to White River Lighthouse…
…stopped at another winery on our way to Muskegon South Pier and Breakwater Lights …
… and then went to Grand Haven State Park, and Grand Haven Lighthouse before calling it a day and finding a hotel in Holland.
On Tuesday, July 12, we followed US 31 south to Traverse City, stopping at Petoskey State Park and Fisherman’s Island State Park to look for petoskey stones. I think it was some kind of obsession LOL. You could buy them already polished, at the gift shops, but that’s not nearly as much fun as walking along the beach with your head down 😉
The first picture was at Petoskey State Park and we didn’t find anything. It was too sandy. The second picture was Fisherman’s Island State Park (not an island at all!) and how could you not find any there?! It was the best petoskey-stone-hunting-beach we found, and also the beach where Sara just about gave us all a heart attack! We were all walking along the shore, looking for rocks. Greg and the girls were way ahead of me and when I slowly caught up at one point, Greg asked me where Sara was. I look around, and she’s nowhere to be seen!!! We were the only ones in this area of the beach, but there were some woods that separated the beach from the road. I started yelling for her, hoping she could hear me over the noise of the waves, and praying that I would be able to hear her if she was in any kind of trouble. I don’t know how many times we yelled her name until she finally jumped out from behind a bush! Boy, was she lucky that I was too far away to run over to her in my flip-flops (not easy on a rocky beach like that!), I would have put a stop to any kind of fun she was going to have that day as punishment. Thankfully it all ended well and she didn’t run off into the woods and got lost…. or kidnapped!
After that little adventure, we followed US 31 to Traverse City and took SR-37 all the way to the end of the peninsula – stopping at several wineries along the way – to Old Mission Lighthouse. The special thing about this lighthouse? It’s on the 45th parallel.. half way between the North Pole and the Equator.
We made Manistee our stop for the night, taking a walk out to Manistee North Pierhead Light
On Monday, July 11, we got to see a little bit of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After a quick stop at Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, we headed north to Whitefish Point Lightstation at Lake Superior. This was our worst weather day on this trip, and it started to rain a little just as we got to the lighthouse. I quickly snapped a few pictures, and went to the beach to take some pictures of Lake Superior (never did get my feet wet in it) and then went back to the car to keep the camera dry while I waited for Greg and the girls, and then we drove to Tahquamenon Falls. It started raining heavily at times, and we weren’t sure if we would get to see any waterfalls. It was still raining when we got to the Lower Falls, and we ran from the car to the restrooms, and then hung out at the gift shop until the rain let up a little. We were in there for quite a while, always keeping an eye on the rain, and making a run back to the car as soon as we got a chance. We got a very quick look at the Lower Falls on the way back, but I had left the camera in the car, so there are no pictures. They weren’t very impressive anyway.
We still took a chance with the Upper Falls, but when we arrived, Melissa and I decided to wait in the (huge!) gift shop while Greg and Sara went to look for the waterfall. There were no maps around the parking lot to let you know how far you had to walk. When they finally came back and found us at the gift shop, they were soaking wet from the rain! Their jackets were soaked through, and Sara was shivering from the cold. We had dry clothes in the suitcase, but no way to get to them without getting everything wet. And no other jacket. Greg and Melissa went to the restaurant next door to the gift shop, while Sara and I searched for a new jacket or sweatshirt for her. Thankfully I found one that was fairly reasonably priced (still expensive, but cheaper than most of the other ones they had) and I got it in a bigger size to give her room to grow into. I asked the cashier to cut off the tags, and Sara was able to wear it right away and get warm again. We joined Greg and Melissa at the restaurant for lunch, and by the time we were done, the rain had stopped and the sun was out again. Greg said that the falls were really nice, so I got the camera out of the car, and we all went to the Upper Falls. There were lots of steps up and down, but it was fun, and worth it!
After the falls we made our way south again, across the Mackinac Bridge into the Lower Peninsula, and along Lake Michigan. Our scheduled stop was Petoskey, because supposedly petoskey stones are very common there. On our way through town we stopped at Mackinaw Trail Winery for some wine tasting, and then Magnus Park to look for petoskey stones. We didn’t have any luck at all, but the hotel (another Holiday Inn Express) was really pretty, AND when Greg went inside to ask if they had any rooms, they said we could take their limousine to dinner at no extra charge if we wanted to! We relaxed in our room for a while, chose Bob-In Again for dinner and then went to the lobby to see if the limo was available. As luck would have it, the restaurant was at the very edge the driver was willing to go (something about traffic being really slow further out, because everyone slows down to enjoy the beautiful view of the lake). He dropped us off at the restaurant, gave Greg his card and told him to call when we wanted him to pick us up again. Before he left, he told us that it was really easy to get to the lake from the hotel, and if we wanted to go for a walk after dinner, we can just let him know where we are and he would pick us up. Sounded good to us! We even ordered dessert after dinner, and then walked along the lake before calling the limo driver to come and pick us up.
On Saturday, July 9th, we took the scenic route (aka US 23) along Lake Huron in search for some lighthouses. We still keep a road atlas in the car, and thanks to that, we knew where they were. Gravelly Shoal was the first one on our route, in Point Lookout, and without knowing exactly where, we made our way to the lake shore. We got lucky and found it, but it was just a little thing waaaaayyyy out in the water. We parked at the end of the street and walked closer to the water for some pictures, and see this woman pass us on her bicycle. She was probably wondering what we were doing, since this was just a little neighborhood. And sure enough, she stops and asks “are you really from Texas??” (“No, we’re aliens, but shhh, don’t tell!” We didn’t say that to her, though) She was really nice, and told us about all kinds of things to see and do.
We did find some pretty lighthouses, like Tawas Point Lighthouse. It’s one of many that are in a State Park, and Greg went ahead and bought the yearly sticker, that’s valid at all the State Parks all year long. We just made it a point to visit as many State Parks as we could on this trip.
After the lighthouse, the kids got to spend some time at the playground before they had to sit in the car again.
Our next lighthouse stop was Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. Walking to the lighthouse from the parking lot, we passed Old Bailey School House and went inside for a little lesson. Didn’t want the kids to forget that the new school year is just around the corner!
The lighthouse was open for tours, and after viewing the living quarters, we climbed the spiral staircase to the top of the tower.
After climbing back down, we walked to the lake to look for petoskey stones, and actually found a few! Melissa seems to have a radar for those, because she wasn’t even really looking, and found several! Poor Sara didn’t have much luck, and she just looked for any kind of pretty rocks and seashells, and Melissa was sweet enough to give her one of the petoskey stones she found.
Our last lighthouse stop of the day was Forty Mile Point Lighthouse, and then ended our day in Mackinaw City.