What is it about lighthouses? They are a throwback to a quieter time when we had less to worry about and less control over it. But wait. Wouldn’t being dashed to unseen river rocks be a considerable worry?

Enter Fort Gratiot Light. Pronounced Fort grǎ’-chit, this quintessentially iconic lighthouse is the oldest in Michigan (constructed in 1825) that is still in active service.

It stands in the southern portion of Michigan’s Thumb and marks the entrance to the Saint Clair River from Lake Huron.

We visited it on a beautiful day in June and took an hour-long guided tour, which allowed us to climb the 94 (!) steps to the top of the tower.

Can you imagine running up and down these stairs several times daily as a lighthouse keeper? Those days are long gone—modern technology has replaced all the glamorous tasks of the courageous, stalwart keeper.


I like that the light is still in service, though.

And we were so silly to realize Canada is just across from Michigan now. As West Coasters, we haven’t studied our country’s middling geography very well. The bridge you see in the background in this photo from the top of the lighthouse goes from the U.S. to Canada. We felt like we had witnessed the second coming or something!

In closing, I have to tell you this story. One Christmas, maybe thirty or so years ago, my husband and I gave each other the same lighthouse calendar! So, it was a foregone conclusion. We had to drive over an hour to see this lighthouse. And, it was an excellent adventure!

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