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Spend your next vacation as a Michigan lighthouse keeper

Spend a week or two in Tawas Point State Park as a lighthouse keeper for a unique vacation experience.
Spend a week or two in Tawas Point State Park as a lighthouse keeper for a unique vacation experience. photo courtesy of Tawas Point Lighthouse

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stay in an authentic lighthouse and live the life of a Victorian-era light keeper? Michigan vacationers can have that opportunity as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering a fresh idea in vacation destinations. The DNR is seeking volunteers to spend a week or two between March 1 and December 20 acting as lighthouse keepers for the Tawas Point Lighthouse during the 2013 lighthouse keeper season. The lighthouse is located on the grounds of Tawas Point State Park along the shores of Lake Huron in East Tawas.

Tawas Point has been referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. The water is shallow and warm for swimming. There is fishing, plenty of hiking trails and local wildlife to observe. In the park the lighthouse serves as the sole representative of a true Victorian-era style station on the Great Lakes. During the year there are many different activities that take place in and around the lighthouse.

Volunteers must be willing to study up on the lighthouse’s rich maritime history in order to lead visitor tours, work in the museum’s gift shop or perform other miscellaneous duties. In exchange for their work contribution, volunteers can stay in the newly renovated keeper’s quarters for a cost of $250 per person, per week. The living quarters include two bedrooms and a modern kitchen and bath.

“The lighthouse has been in operation since 1876 and is still an active aid to navigation,” said Chuck Allen, unit supervisor for Tawas Point. “It’s one of only nine lighthouses on the Great Lakes with a working Fresnel lens.”

The chance to enjoy spectacular views and the unique lodging has enticed vacationers to seek out the experience. According to Allen, 62 volunteer lighthouse keepers stayed in the lighthouse from April through Christmas in 2012.

The lighthouse keeper program is open to singles and couples 18 years and older. Allen suggested that volunteers should be physically able to lead tours through the lighthouse and tower, and perform housekeeping duties such as light maintenance or lawn care. Applications can be obtained at www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse. Dates and prices are effective through 2013. For further details, call 989-362-5658.