|Lighthouse Keeper and B&B Information|
Due to the popularity of the questions, where can I stay at a lighthouse or where can I work at a lighthouse, we have come up with the following information in support of those questions and we hope you find this information useful.
Volunteer Lighthouse Keeper Programs:
Lighthouse keeper programs are available at several lighthouses in the State of Michigan with more lighthouses either considering or starting these programs every year. These programs are a “pay to play” type of program where you are charged a fee, just like staying at a hotel or extended stay apartment, but your job is to stay and work at the lighthouse. Typical stays range from one week to three weeks in some cases. Prices vary, so check with the lighthouse you are interested in from the list below. Two lighthouses in Michigan offer camping/RV programs where you bring your own place to stay, they are noted below.
During your stay at a lighthouse, keeper(s) will be responsible for a variety of duties, including greeting guests, providing information about the history of the lighthouse, helping in the gift shop and taking care of the various artifacts located in the lighthouse museum. Training is usually provided on-site upon arrival. Some resources for training are available online prior to arriving so you can study up ahead of time, leaving you more free time while you are there. Most keepers quarters have modern appliances so you don’t have to cook your dinner on the old wood fired stove or make a trip to the ice house!
These programs offer a wonderful working vacation experience that most people never get to enjoy, plus being able to stay in an actual lighthouse. You will learn a lot and get a small taste of what life was like for the lightkeepers of yester-years. Please see the information provided below sorted by lake of available programs, availability is limited and proper planning is recommended.
Tawas Point Lighthouse
As a lighthouse keeper, an individual will stay in the lighthouse keeper’s
quarters on the second floor of the lighthouse residence. The quarters come
fully equipped with a modern kitchen and bath, and two bedrooms that sleep a
total of three people. All individuals who stay in the lighthouse must be 18
years of age or older. The program costs $275 per person, per week.
Cheboygan River Front Range Lighthouse
DeTour Reef Lighthouse
DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society
P.O. Box 307
Drummond Island, MI 49726
Located at the St. Mary’s River system near DeTour Village, this offshore crib lighthouse sees an extreme amount of ship traffic. You must be able bodied to make the climb up the ladder to the lighthouse, but once you are there you will enjoy the keepers quarters, the views and the time spent offshore.
Here is an example of the scope of duties you will be performing while on duty http://www.drlps.com/pdf/2_C_ii_Keeper_Handbook_03302008.pdf
40 Mile Point
40 Mile Point Lighthouse Society
P. O. Box 205
Rogers City, MI 49779
Phone (989) 785-2468
Few, if any, lighthouses have a program that offers an on-location RV campsite where prospective Guest Lighthouse Keepers have the advantage of being able to use their own personal living quarters while, at the same time, experience an opportunity to work and live at an historic lighthouse. These responsibilities such as greeting visitors, operating and managing the gift shop, tower duty, and a having a general knowledge of 40 Mile Point Lighthouse history, etc., are more fully explained in the Keeper’s Handbook. All Keepers will supply their own self-contained RVs. There are four (4) fully equipped RV parking spaces located just south of the open pavilion. Two spaces will be occupied by the current Keepers. The remaining two spaces will be used for the incoming Keepers. Personal vehicles only will be parked at the RV site.
Future Lake Huron Programs:
There is talk about Fort Gratiot Lighthouse possibly having a program in the future.
Mission Point Lighthouse
New for 2008
Grand Traverse Lighthouse is managing this program currently and their director Stef Staley is accepting applications for the Mission Point program. Volunteers will be charged a per-month program fee to live in the rear section of the historic home's ground floor. The township hopes those funds, along with admissions fees for visitors, will be the first step toward a self-supporting park system.
Grand Traverse Lighthouse
Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum
PO Box 43, Northport, MI 49670
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse has the perfect opportunity for people who love lighthouses. From April through December, you can spend one or two rewarding weeks staying in the lighthouse as a lighthouse keeper. As a lighthouse keeper, you'll stay in the former assistant's quarters on the northern side of the lighthouse. Inside you'll find a fully-equipped modern kitchen, a comfortable living room area, two bedrooms, and a bath and a half. Each of the bedrooms contains two twin beds, accommodating up to four adults at a time. During your stay, you'll be responsible for greeting visitors and providing historical information about the lighthouse. You'll also spend time helping in the gift shop and with other miscellaneous duties. Complete training is provided.
Big Sable Pointe Lighthouse
Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association
Our volunteers must be 21 years of age or older. There are no pets allowed. Duties include cleaning, tower tours, historical interpretation, and operation of a gift shop. They are open from 10 AM until 5 PM each day at Big Sable, Wednesday-Sunday at Little Sable and the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse. There will be 4-7 volunteers scheduled for each tour of duty (2 week tours at Big Sable; 1-2 week tours at Little Sable and the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouses.)
Crisp Point Lighthouse
Grand Marais, MI.
New for 2008
Au Sable is located about 12 miles west of Grand Marais, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior. The park is seeking applications from lighthouse enthusiasts to live at the light station and staff the new museum and contact station. A volunteer apartment is being completed on the second floor of the head keepers quarters and includes a kitchen, indoor bathroom, small living room, and one bedroom. Volunteers are lodged in a second floor apartment in the head keepers quarters. There is a small living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bath. Appliances include an LP refrigerator and stove, and electric lights. For more information contact Pam Baker, Volunteer Coordinator (906-387-3700) or Gregg Bruff, Heritage Education Program Manager (906-387-2607 x 208). Please submit your volunteer application at www.nps.gov/volunteer.
Coast Guard/Life Saving Stations: Rentals/Hotel
Pointe Bestsie Coast Guard Life Saving Station
Next to the Pointe Betsie Lighthouse
Experience a bit of the past in this historic coast guard station and guest cottage. Privately owned and remodeled into a wonderful family cottage. Both are located near Point Betsie Lighthouse with private Lake Michigan frontage. A perfect spot for large groups or extended families. The Former Point Betsie Coast Guard Station Home Features: 6 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, full kitchen with microwave and coffee maker, phone, washer and dryer, deck & BBQ grill. Sleeps 14 with 1 queen, 2 doubles, 2 twins, and 3 sets of bunk beds.
Whitefish Point Cost Guard Station
Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society
Located adjacent to the Whitefish Point Lighthouse, relax in comfort in the adaptively restored 1923 Coast Guard Lifeboat Station Crews Quarters offering five themed rooms with queen size beds, private bath and TV/VCR, yet retain all the historic charm of a by-gone era. Gather in the kitchen or living area with fresh coffee and deluxe continental breakfast foods, microwave available, or choose a video on Great Lakes history, from our stocked video library, to enjoy in the quiet privacy of your room. Open all year, reservations are essential and are made online at http://www.shipwreckmuseum.com/. Call 888-492-3747 for more information or with questions.
Lighthouse Bed & Breakfasts
Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast
#3 Lighthouse Road
High atop a cliff jutting into the clear, deep waters of Lake Superior, the Big Bay Point Lighthouse beckons adults in search of a secluded retreat from modern life. This unique bed-and-breakfast inn is one of the few surviving resident lighthouses in the country and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For over a century, mariners have relied on Big Bay Point's light to guide them along this remote and rocky stretch of Michigan coastline. Although automated in 1941, the romance and lore of the site are undimmed. Sit before the fire in the living room, and recount the lighthouses you have seen and plan to see. Hike, bike, Ski, or snowshoe along the shore, or on the many trails in the area. Experience the deep solitude and unspoiled beauty of nature at the lighthouse inn.
Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn
Bill Frabotta, Keeper
Five Mile Point Road
Sand Hills Lighthouse, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, is the largest and last manned lighthouse built on the Great Lakes. Built in 1917 to house three lightkeepers and their families, it remained active until 1939. At that time, the Coast Guard took over and automated the station, and 200 men lived there when the grounds were used as a training site during World War II. The property then stood vacant until it was sold in 1958 by government auction. In 1961, Bill Frabotta purchased Sand Hills Lighthouse and the entire station. Capturing a Victorian spirit, the common-room and dining areas will invite you to cozy up by the fireplace with a good book, or linger on the rich leather couches for some old-fashioned conversation or piano music. From its ornate crown moldings to the hand-tooled walls and staircase balustrade, no detail for beauty and comfort is spared. Air conditioning and hydronic heat are just two of the many updated luxuries. A trip to the top of the lighthouse tower is certain to be a highlight of your stay at Sand Hills. Each of the eight lovely rooms features a king or queen-sized bed and private bathroom. Two rooms have whirlpool bathtubs and a balcony overlooking Lake Superior.
38741 Jacobs Street
Lake Linden, Michigan, 49945
Come and enjoy this quiet and beautiful setting! Situated on Lake Superior this is a unique opportunity to stay at the only Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast with the traditional school house keepers home with the attached conical white light tower. opened year round! The property is situated on Keweenaw Bay with 360 feet of lake shore with a porch and deck to enjoy the view.
This is the newest Lighthouse B&B on Lake Superior, located in a quiet remote location. A place to relax, unwind and forget about the hectic world outside. There are no TV’s or telephones in the rooms to cause distraction or disturbance. Tour the 1888 Church and Jacobsville School, go on boat ride. Books and magazines are available. We have a quiet time from 10:00 PM till 6:00 AM. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate are available. If you are lucky you may see one of the bald eagles swoop by from one of the 2 local nests. A public boat ramp and park are 1-1/2 miles away. Call to make a reservation. Ask about possible boat tours of Keweenaw Bay and other lighthouses.
Middle Island Lighthouse
Middle Island Bed and Breakfast
After automation, the station was significantly vandalized by marauding pleasure boaters during the 1960's, and the keeper's dwelling was completely stripped of just about everything removable. With the station decaying and in danger of further deterioration, a group of concerned citizens in the Alpena area incorporated the Middle Island Lighthouse Keepers Association on February 13, 1992, with the express purpose of restoring and preserving the structures and the history of the station for future generations. To this end, the Association has been restoring the fog signal building for use as a bed and breakfast inn, until the large keepers dwelling can be restored and converted to a similar purpose. The Middle Island Bed & Breakfast opened for business in 2001.
Charity Island Lighthouse & Bed & Breakfast
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. Upon arriving, Guests receive a lively 30 minute presentation of the history of the Island and the lighthouse before taking the 7 minute walk thru the woods to the lightkeepers house located on the northern tip of the island. Dinner is served up on the porch of the lightkeepers house that provides Diners with a breathtaking view of Saginaw Bay. Tours of the house are given after dinner. Dessert is served on the return trip to the mainland which is timed to catch the sunset on the way back. Total time on the island is approximately 3 1/2 hours. The departure time changes each week to compensate for the changing sunset time so read our schedule carefully. Now open as a bed and breakfast with four bedrooms available sleep two people and have trundle beds that may be used as a Queen size or as two twin size.
Pipe Island Lighthouse
Pipe Island Lighthouse located in the St. Mary’s River near DeTour Village was a B&B, but their web site is no longer active and the property was listed for sale. This may no longer be a B&B.
If anyone has any additions or corrections to the list, please e-mail us and let us know.