Last week Tuesday, I drove north with a couple friends to the Mackinac Straits area. We hoped to see some fall color, have a good lunch, shop a bit, and visit another lighthouse.
The forecast was for sunny skies, but we were accompanied instead by gray clouds and fog most of the trip. When we arrived at Mackinaw City, the bridge was busy as usual, but you could see neither of the towers through the fog.
I drove further down the beach, hoping to catch a better view of the bridge. While the anchorage piers supporting the suspension section of the Big Mac were visible, the 500-hundred-foot-high towers were still inaccessible to view. So we moved on to have lunch and do some shopping.
In my quest to see more Michigan lighthouses, I hoped to visit the McGulpin Point Lighthouse, which is about three miles west of Mackinaw City. The light is set on a promontory known as McGulpin Point, which is also near the Headlands International Dark Sky Park.
The Lighthouse was built in 1869 and serves as a navigational aid through the Straights of Mackinac. It’s a true lighthouse with the tower attached to the lighthouse keeper’s living space.
The lighthouse has undergone several renovations since its origin. A new, historically accurate lantern and railing were installed in 2009 after being made in Onaway by Moran Iron Works. When the lighthouse is open, visitors can climb the winding stairway to the top. Imagine the views from there!
The red metal roof is also a new addition, but the brick is mostly the original Cream City brick, made from clay found near Milwaukee and a favorite of the the U.S. Lighthouse Board of that era.
The light keeper residence is now a museum and gift shop. There is also a Discovery Trail that you can walk and learn the history of the lighthouse and area through cultural docents, such as the McGulpins, Native warrior Nissowaquet, and fur trader Charles de Langlade.
And want to extend your visit to the Lighthouse and area even longer? You can stay in the McGulpin Point Cottage, which has one-bedroom overnight accommodations right on the grounds of the museum.
As for seeing a little fall color? There wasn’t much, just an occasional patch along the roadway as you see here. Still, it was a good day with friends.