Heather and Jim go Lighthouse Hunting: Southeastern Lake Michigan, September 2002

To celebrate our second anniversary of being happily married, we decided to spend a weekend at a bed & breakfast (I insisted on sleeping someplace warm - part of recovering from backcountry camping in the Wind River Range). The Castle in the Country was a beautiful, quite spot in Allegan, MI about three hours from Chicago, near Lake Michigan and a plethora of lakeside resort towns. The idea of lounging around recovering was attractive but Jim and I couldn't sit still for that long so we set out hunting lighthouses. Our first stop was in Holland where we speedily cruised the downtown shopping circuit and discovered an amazing display of teapots in the Moynihan Gallery. Predictably, our longest stop was at the local climbing/camping gear shop.

Finding a lighthouse in Holland wasn't too tough - their lighthouse, called Big Red for obvious reasons, is "the most photographed lighthouse in Michigan". We contributed to the validity of their claim by snapping a few more shots before heading to Saugatuck/Douglas for lighthouse #2.

There was a whole lot of serious fishing going on in every town we visited. These guys are an example of just how much gear you can take out for a day of fishing.

Big Red

Saugatuck, though a great success in terms of lunch on the docks and cute little coffee shops, was a bit of a letdown on the lighthouse end of things. We spent most of the day driving around every random little back road we could find in search of the mysterious lighthouse. Incidentally, this led to the discovery of some beautiful and secluded summer homes on the shore of Lake Michigan, the sand dune Mt. Baldhead (with all it's stairs), and Oval Beach - an ideal spot for some Frisbee. Finally, after sunset, we gave in and asked a member of the local police force about the location of the lighthouse. He abandoned the grill to his fellow officers and told us that although he was something of a lighthouse aficionado, he'd never heard of a one in the vicinity. We left him to his burgers and checked the fine print in our guide to the lights of Lake Michigan. Turns out that there is an "active light" not a "lighthouse". Ooops. We did manage to catch some fireworks as an end to our evening.

There are 279 stairs to the top of Mt. Baldhead, I counted! At 600 feet tall, this is one of the largest sand dunes in the country.

This is the view back in to Saguatuck from the top of Mt. Baldhead. The town sits on an interior lake with a canal to Lake Michigan. From the other side you can see down to Oval Beach where we enjoyed the sunset.

The view out over Lake Michigan and Oval Beach from Mt. Baldhead. Only on this side can you tell it's actually a dune.

Sunset (with no photoshoping!) in Michigan. Who knew we had beaches out here?