As the calendar reaches December, it's not uncommon for people to start thinking about their travel plans for the approaching year. For those seeking uncommon travel experiences, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers the opportunity for a free two-week stay in historic lighthouse keepers' quarters while helping to promote the history and preservation of the site. The application period to participate in the program in 2018 is now open.
In 2018, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers combined vacation and service opportunities for adults from May 16 to Oct. 16. Those selected to be volunteer lighthouse keepers receive lodging in the restored keepers' quarters next to the 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse in Tawas Point State Park. In exchange, participants provide roughly 35 hours of services each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.
"The Tawas area is known as Michigan's Cape Cod," said Hillary Pine, Tawas Point Lighthouse historian. "It's a lovely area favored by bird-watchers, anglers, history enthusiasts and others. We make sure our volunteer lighthouse keepers have plenty of time to enjoy Lake Huron, Tawas Bay and other recreational opportunities."
Keeper duties include greeting visitors, giving tours, providing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance. Keepers stay in the second story of the keepers' quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms sleeping up to four adults and modern kitchen, bath and laundry facilities. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay at the lighthouse.
Pine said the lighthouse keeper program looks for teams of two, three or four adults – especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history – but that there is no requirement for such a background.
"We give our volunteer lighthouse keepers historical information and on-site orientation to help prepare them for their experience," Pine said. "They take great pride in helping to promote and preserve the lighthouse – and who wouldn't love waking up to the beautiful view of the bay that they enjoy every day?"
The application and additional information about the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program is available at www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse. For more information about program, send e-mail to DNRfirstname.lastname@example.org . The application period is open through Feb. 2, 2018.
Tawas Point Lighthouse is a nationally accredited museum located 2.5 miles southeast of East Tawas, in Tawas Point State Park; a Recreation Passport is required for park entry. For more information, call 989-348-2537 or visit www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse.
The Michigan History Center is part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Its museum and archival programs foster curiosity, enjoyment and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. It includes the Michigan History Museum, 10 regional museums, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and the Archives of Michigan. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/mhc.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.
A list of frequently asked questions about the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program and accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested photo captions follow.
Tawas_kitchen: Accommodations for Tawas Point Lighthouse volunteer keepers include two bedrooms and modern kitchen, bath and laundry facilities.
Tawas_lens: Volunteer keepers learn about the history of the 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse in preparation for duties that include giving tours and providing information about the lighthouse.
Tawas_lighthouse: The Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program offers the opportunity for a free two-week stay in historic lighthouse keepers' quarters while helping to promote the history and preservation of the site.
Tawas_museum: The museum portion of the Tawas Point Lighthouse shows artifacts from different time periods of its use.