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Au Sable River Valley Lighthouses
The Lighthouses located at Alpena, Au Gres, East Tawas and Harrisville are popular subjects for artists and photographers. The lighthouses located on Charity and Middle islands are operated as Bed & Breakfast Inns. Staying in one of them will give you a taste for what it was like to man a lighthouse as a lightkeeper. Others have maritime museums as part of their facilities where you can learn about Michigan's rich maritime history. There are Charter Boat services available at Alpena and Au Gres that will take you out to visit the lighthouses on Charity and Middle islands.
Charity Island Lighthouse & Bed & Breakfast, 3660 E. Huron Road, Big Charity Island, Au Gres, MI 48703, Phone: (989) 876-8929, The island was named by the lake mariners for its location, placed "through the charity of God" midway between the city of Au Gres and the Thumb, at the entrance to Saginaw Bay. The light was constructed in 1857, and then replaced by the Gravelly Shoal Light and abandoned in 1939. Enjoy Dinner at the Charity Island Lightkeepers house -The experience begins when you arrive at Northport Travel Center just east of Au Gres MI where you will board the 49 passenger vessel "Northstar" for the one hour trip to Charity Island where you will be greeted by your hosts Bob and Karen Wiltse.
Gravelly Shoal Lighthouse, Coastline, Au Gres, MI 48703, Phone: (989) 876-8811, Come see one of Michigan's beautiful lighthouses. Point Lookout juts from the shore on the western shore of Lake Huron, approximately half-way between the mouth of the Saginaw River and Tawas Point. With only five to eighteen feet above it, Gravelly Shoal extends some 3 miles southeasterly from Point Lookout towards Big Charity Island. To help guide down-bound vessels headed for Saginaw Bay through the deeper water lying between the southeast end of Gravelly Shoal and Big Charity Island.
Middle Island Keeper's Lodge, Middle Island Light Station, Alpena, MI 49707, Phone: (989) 356-1385. Located between Thunder Bay and Presque Isle on Lake Huron in Alpena County. Middle Island Boat Tours take lighthouse aficionados on 3 ½-hour trips to the island, in which an island nature walk and tour of the restoration efforts are featured. Overnight lodging is now available in the former Foghorn Building, with accommodations for up to 8 people, and offering panoramic views of the water and lighthouse. Secluded and rustic setting. Privy cleaned before each overnight visit. Propane appliances and heated outdoor showers included.
Middle Island Keeper's Lodge & Boat Tours [Lighthouses, Tours], Middle Island Light Station, Alpena, MI 49707, Phone: (989) 884-2722
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Sturgeon Point Lighthouse & Maritime Museum[Lighthouses, Historical Museum, Historical Sites], Sturgeon Point Road, Harrisville, MI 48740, (989) 724-6297, Sturgeon Point Lighthouse is located five miles north of Harrisville on Lake Huron and was completed in November 1875. The tower is 70 feet, 9 inches tall and is 16 feet in diameter at its base. The light is 3.5 order Fresnel lens made in Paris, France. The light is still maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The keeper's house is now a maritime museum which is open to the public seven days a week from Memorial Day to mid-September. The lighthouse tower is not open to the public. The grounds are open all year.
Tawas Point Lighthouse [Lighthouses, Historical Museums, Historical Sites], Tawas Point State Park, 686 Tawas Beach Road, East Tawas, MI 48730, (989) 362-5041, Tawas point Lighthouse, in operation since 1876, and now part of Tawas Point State Park, is a fascinating attraction for maritime buffs. Tawas Point is also a mecca for bird watchers, especially in the migration seasons of spring and fall. Tawas Point also offers spectacular views of sunrises over Lake Huron and sunsets over Tawas Bay. Guided tours are available. Also, a gift shop.
Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse, Thunder Bay Island, Alpena, MI 49707, Phone: (800) 425-7362. Thunder Bay Island is located three miles East-northeast of the north point of Thunder Bay, and thirteen miles from the harbor at Alpena. This 215-acre limestone island is the outermost of a group of islands connected to the shore by a shallow rocky shoal. As such, it represented both a significant marker for Northbound vessels making the turn toward the Straits, and stood ready to chew the wooden hulls of vessels unlucky enough to stray too close to its rocky shores.