Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Cream City brick - Named for the city where it was made, Milwaukee became synonymous with cream colored brick. The red lacustrine clay turned to a pleasant shade of yellow after firing, and Milwaukee's large amount of brick structures soon led to the Cream City nickname.

Another hard to reach lighthouse. Why ? First of all - it is all the way up at the very far tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior. That is 650 miles, one way, from Detroit. Imagine that - you ride for 650 miles and never even leave the state of Michigan. For comparisons sake, the Smoky Mountains are no further away.

Secondly - you can only reach the lighthouse by boat; the light is actually on state-park property, but since there is no public access road, you can only reach it by a chartered boat.

That being the case, It almost didn't happen. I'd only be in Copper Harbor for the one night, so I promptly rode up to the gift shop / boat dock, to inquire about a ticket for the sunset lighthouse tour.

They informed me there was a 4 person minimum required for the boat to launch, but that a few people had called expressing interest and were hoping to make the departure time.

The captain, the shop keeper, and I hung around waiting and wondering.

We waited ... and waited .... it wasn't looking good. With just a few minutes to spare before all hope was lost, a handful of customers showed up - we were going for a boat ride !

The captain was a playful type with a big sense of humor. He was from Ohio and ran these tours out of his old, but pristine, Vietnam-era MK-10 boat from 1974. An impressive vessel and built like a tank. 

It was a beautiful night and a wave of relief came over me once under way. Who knows if I will make it back up here. Would have been disappointed if not given the chance to reach the lighthouse.


It is a short ride; maybe a mile or two. Once ashore, our first stop was the old light keepers quarters; the old quarters is the oldest structure on Lake Superior - dating back to 1846.

The old light keepers quarters had some interesting features. Besides a lot of historic information on the walls, there were also a couple of fireplaces in tact. One was a rough looking cobblestone structure that looked to be an after-thought, the other was built-in and had an iron swing arm crafted alongside the opening to hold a pot for cooking.

Another feature that caught my eye was a cut-out section of the floor. It was covered with plexi-glass allowing you a view of the foundation and crawl space.

On to the lighthouse itself. It also had various rooms and office areas that were still furnished with original period correct items. The tour guide (captain) pointed out an elegant free-standing wood stove that was valued in the vicinity of $30,000.

Dusk was starting to creep in. It was time to get back on the water.

We all climbed aboard the ship, with our sights set on catching an epic sunset across the waters of Lake Superior.

The captain took his time, giving us our money's worth. He circled around a few times allowing us to observe the lighthouse activate and - light up - as the darkness began to fall. It was an excellent night overall. The conditions were fair, but not perfect.

 The setting sun was gorgeous right up until the final moments, when it broke the water. There was a layer of haze just above the water line, which detracted ever so slightly from the clarity, before the sun bid us it's final farewell.

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