American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Lighthouse Keeper Programs Throughout America, Part 2
In the first part of this series, I explored a handful of interesting lighthouse keeper programs in the United States – similar in duties to the one at Michigan's Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Here are a few more available opportunities in Michigan and Oregon:
Michigan: Given how many lighthouses trace its extensive coast, it's probably no surprise that the Great Lakes State offers the greatest number of keeper opportunities in America. Members of the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association (P.O. Box 673, Ludington, MI 49431, 231/845-7343), for instance, have the chance to stay for one or two weeks at three different lighthouses between Ludington State Park and Silver Lake State Park: the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, the Ludington North Breakwater Light, and the Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Duties at these locations include cleaning, maintenance, lighthouse tours, historical interpretation, and gift shop attendance.
Members of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (P.O. Box 219, Mackinaw City, MI 49701, 231/436-5580) can volunteer for assistant lighthouse keeper positions at the St. Helena Island Lighthouse on Lake Michigan and the Cheboygan River Front Range Lighthouse in Cheboygan – both of which have experienced keepers on-site. For St. Helena Island, which is open from mid-June to mid-August, individuals, couples, and families are welcome to apply for the chance to stay on the premises, whether for five days at a time or for the entire two-month period. The fee for this particular program is $75 per person to cover transportation to and from the island, plus $12 per day to pay for food and incidentals, and duties can range from painting to cooking to giving tours. At Cheboygan, you can spend a summer weekend in the lighthouse in exchange for assisting with the operation and maintenance of the historic environs. Additional opportunities may exist at the Old Mission Point Lighthouse (231/499-1787) on Old Mission Peninsula (pictured above), the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse in the Presque Isle County Lighthouse Park, and the Tawas Point Lighthouse in Tawas Point State Park (989/362-5658), among others.
Oregon: Throughout the year, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (725 Summer St. NE, Ste. C, Salem, OR 97301, 503/986-0707 or 877/225-9803) offers opportunities for individuals and couples to serve as lighthouse hosts in various places. Typically, volunteer hosts will go through orientation and training, work a minimum of one month (though preferably longer), provide lighthouse tours among other duties, and receive an RV parking space close to their work site. Some of the participating lighthouses include the Cape Meares Lighthouse (503/842-3182) west of Tillamook, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (541/574-3100) near Newport, the Heceta Head Lighthouse (541/547-3696) between Yachats and Florence, and the Cape Blanco Lighthouse (541/332-0248) northwest of Port Orford. Peruse the regularly updated list of volunteer opportunities through the OPRD website.
For a few more program suggestions, check out the first and third parts of this series, and for even more information about U.S. lighthouses that allow overnight stays and volunteer keepers, consult the United States Lighthouse Society. If you're curious about other seasonal attractions in Michigan and Oregon, consult Moon Michigan and Moon Oregon.
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Photo & text © 2010 Laura Martone