Saturday, October 28, 2006

Big Bay Point Lighthouse

Marie and I have visited Michigan several times over the past 5 years. On one of those trips we decided to stay overnight at the Big Bay Point Lighthouse. It is currently privately owned and operated as a Bed & Breakfast. First a brief history of this lighthouse which sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Superior. Construction began in May of 1896 and it was completed in October of that year. It is 52' by 52' with 18 rooms with a light tower that is 105' above Lake Superior. In the mid 1940's the light was automated and the last keeper was reassigned. In 1951 and 1952 the U S Army leased the property and Army and National Guard units were assigned for two week training periods to practice anti-aircraft artillery. One of the soldiers stationed at the lighthouse committed the murder that was to become the basis for the book and movie Anatomy of a Murder. The actual murder took place at the Lumberjack Tavern in Big Bay, Michigan. In 1961 the property was sold to a private party who began restoration. The present owners purchased the property in 1991 and began the Bed & Breakfast.

Our reservations were made in May and our directions were to take state road 550 from Marquette for approximately 25 miles nw to Big Bay and then follow signs for the light. The last several miles from Big Bay were over a dirt road. After check in we found out that our dining choices were basically back to Marquette or the Lumberjack Tavern. Our host also informed the guests that state road 550 was overrun with deer after dusk. Marie and I opted for the Tavern which served roast prime rib on Saturday evening.

As I approached the Tavern, I wondered why there were so many vehicles parked along the road. Once inside, the place was packed and the attraction was the Detroit Redwings hockey game. Detroit had not yet been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Luckily we found a table ordered drinks and ordered dinner, no menu, only one item for dinner. It was a wild crowd but as soon as the game ended, the place emptied and only couples remained for the dinner period. I noticed several other couples from the B & B. Dinner was more than adequate and we were able to get back before dark. Marie and I climbed up into the tower and enjoyed a marvelous view of the lake and surrounding countryside. Later that evening our hosts told stories about the lighthouse. The building was originally a duplex. What was interesting was that both sides had the same number of rooms, but the rooms on the assistant keepers side were slightly smaller in square footage. Another example of "rank has its priviledge". Marie and I were on the assistant side. I have to say that this location was certainly quiet and dark. There were no lights to be seen outside.

The next morning we went for a brief walk before breakfast and were surprised to see ice on the rocks along the shore. Breakfast was a learning experienced. We were served "pasties". They look like a big apple turnover, but are filled with meat and other stuff. These had pork and I did not enjoy them. We left mid-morning to continue our search for the next lighthouse on our list.

No comments: