Already the vacation is becoming a blur. Another weekend is upon us and what can be said of the past other than it produces lots of laundry and an appreciation for eating more cheaply at home? What I remember of last week are pictorial impressions.
We stopped along Highway 22 North of Arcadia, Michigan which promised a ‘scenic view’ and failed to mention the number of steps required to reach these visual heights. A fellow blogger describes this location well at PeterKTravels.
The west coast of Michigan is blessed with sandy beaches and numerous waterfront towns and lighthouses. We wandered north of Frankfort to reach the Betsie Point Lighthouse–a stop on the Sleep Bear Dunes Lakeshore
The lighthouse is snuggled into a bluff which is part slippery dune and part prickly grasses that latch onto the sands and keep them from blowing away in the fierce winds this close to the lake.
As you approach the roiling waters, you are hit by a scent of slightly briny wetness and the sight of Lake Michigan stretching out to the horizon unchecked.
The lighthouse offers tours but please know, you have to go to the ticket office outside before you gain access to the lighthouse proper. Then its time for the narrow ladder fitness test and finding out if you are skinny enough to make it through the holes leading up the steep, iron rungs to the observation platform.
The struggle was worth it as the sight of Lake Michigan framed by windows of the paneled sides of the lighthouse were indescribably beautiful. There are few images however as my son kept insisting that he should climb out on the skinny outside ledge to get a better look.
Better photographers than I have done this vista greater justice, images abound but here is a link to the LighthouseFriends website. In addition to some lovely shots of the lighthouse in winter, it details how Betsie Point got its name. Sadly, it isn’t a romantic tale about a lighthouse keeper’s wife who waits forlornly for a man who will never return. It has something to do with the French word for a duck’s bill.*
As it turns out, we were lucky to stumble upon this landmark on a holiday weekend–it isn’t open to tourism year round. But, if you are truly desirous of the pleasures of solitude and the sound of surf lulling you to sleep, the lighthouse offers rental of the adjoining ‘Keepers Quarters’ and, in the spirit of American commerce, is available as a wedding venue.**
My son was more interested in the wind and waves outside, but there was this one moment I had to share. While we were checking out the cutesy options to dress your kid up as a lighthouse keeper, I happened to see him perfectly framed with the portrait of a Coast Guard crewman behind him.*** Click! (It was just luck I happened to dress him in his Up North Michigan raincoat.)
After the requisite touristy moments, we braved the wind-whipped chill and explored the shore.
I wonder how many people make the effort to discover these hidden byways? Perhaps you only find them when you need them most. The lonely stretches of untrammeled splendor are an oasis in a world driven by the a mad expectation of entertainment value exceeding the measure of each dollar spent.
Entrance fee to Betsie Point Lighthouse $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for children. Experience–Priceless.
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*Enjoy the American bastardization of your language France!
**I was not paid to promote the Betsie Point Lighthouse landmark, but I would be willing to discuss terms if anyone is interested.
***I’m sure it is a complete coincidence that my son appears to be rolling his eyes at my request that he ‘Stand still for a picture!’