Point Betsie Lighthouse


Just north of Frankfort and west of Traverse City in Michigan,  on the shore of Lake Michigan, is the Point Betsie Lighthouse. I’ve been there several times over the years because friends have a cottage on the Betsie River and we used to visit them there when they were younger. We have also camped in this area. Visiting the lighthouse gives me the joy of visiting the familiar, even though the familiar has changed, for real or maybe because I’ve changed.

There are a lot of lighthouses on the Great Lakes and they fascinate me. There is a romance about them – maybe they trigger that longing deep within me, calling me to a rugged life – at least when I was younger and had more tolerance for simpler but harder living. I think it is filed with the fantasies from when I was a girl; to live in a log cabin in the deep forest, or a mud hut on the frontier. Those fantasy where I bake bread and hang gingham curtains in the windows.


Our visited this year was on a calm day, when the waves were gently lapping the rocky shore. But my mind can imagine the fierce fall and winter storms, probably fueled by stories of ship wrecks, men lost to the cold depths. The breakers filled with large rocks designed to slow down shore erosion also support my image of the fierceness of storms. I have seen how huge waves form ice on everything before the water freezes along the shore and how large blocks of ice push themselves upon the shores.


The dune in the foreground and the white along the horizon that looks like a glacier is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

I often wonder what it would have been like living in a lighthouse, knowing that lives depended on the keeper keeping the light fueled at all times. And knowing that the light mattered most as the weather became worse – those cold, blustery nights when I want to hunker down under a warm quilt. 20160915-dsc_0088

Now the lights are electric and modernized so they don’t need 24/7 attention. And many of the lighthouses that we have visited also have fog horns.


Many of the lighthouses on the Great Lakes have tours, and you can even book vacations in an apartment at this lighthouse. There are tours of this lighthouse and I’ve toured others. In my aging years I have not chosen to tour them because there are a lot of steps and I’ve shifted my joys to taking photographs of the outsides and surrounding landscapes. Maybe I want to protect my early fantasies from the corruption of too much reality. I believe facts are very important but this seems a safe area to relax that value a little bit. Maybe it is also adapting to what my aging body can safely do.

Here is a link for more info: Michigan Point Betsie Lighthouse

9 thoughts on “Point Betsie Lighthouse

  1. My better half also has this thing about light houses. Must be tied to her being born, and her early child hood on the west coast of Canada. Last summer we toured Newfoundland. There are over 40 lighthouses on the island. I think we found most of them!! Thanks for sharing your memories.


    • Thanks – from the website, there are two bedrooms and sofa bed so it will sleep up to 6. For just two it would be a little expensive, but very affordable for two couples.


  2. Thank you so much for posting this. Until 6 years ago I used to live in Benzonia and visited the lighthouse frequently. I have not been back in 4 years. I miss Michigan, especially in the Autumn. Michigan in any season should be on every ones “places to visit” list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Charlie. We picked up a large brochure at our hotel in Frankfort titled Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map & Circle Tour. It was published by WMTA.org and maybe you could order one on-line.


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