Old Mission Peninsula is the stretch of land that fingers out into Grand Traverse Bay dividing it into East Bay & West. At the tip of this beautiful peninsula lies Old Mission Point Park & Lighthouse.
It’s a pleasant & picturesque drive to get there with tracts of road running along the shoreline while other stretches run through cherry orchards or vineyards.
The historic lighthouse was built in 1870 to guide mariners on the west side of Grand Traverse Bay. The lighthouse with its 5th Order Fresnel Light was decommissioned in 1933. (Fresnel lights come in 6 sizes with the 1st Order being the largest & the 6th, the smallest.) Its open today to the public for self guided tours. You may walk up to the top for a 360 degree breathtaking view of the bay with Leelanau Peninsula to the west & Charlevoix to the northeast. I also learned that you can volunteer to be a keeper at Mission Point Lighthouse with the unique opportunity to live on site while meeting with visitors & running the gift shop. Another interesting fact about this lighthouse is the location. It sets directly on the 45th parallel of latitude, halfway between the equator & the north pole.
I come here every time I am in the area & Don has as well since we married. We both remember a time when the water came all the way up to the short strip of beach that lies directly in front of the lighthouse. Back when only the tops of the very few largest boulders could be seen. Now the waterline has receded so far outward, it is alarming to us to see, although to be honest, it still offers a vision of beauty all its own.
In recent years, the Joseph & Mary Hessler cabin, built in 1854-1856, was restored & moved from another location of the peninsula to the lighthouse park. It too is periodically open to the public. For more information on the lighthouse, cabin or park, you may visit this website.
We truly love this area & enjoy sharing the majestic beauty & charm of our home state of Michigan with all of you.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid…………………