Lighthouses

  • Lighthouses of Door County

    Today, Door County is not a very rugged place. It's a favorite vacation spot for city folk, and it reflects their tastes with dozens of art galleries, bistros and B&Bs. But once, Wisconsin's Door Peninsula was rough and remote, settled first by Scandinavian fishermen and loggers. Navigating this long finger of land, which separates the wind-whipped expanses of Lake Michigan from Green Bay, was no treat for early mariners.

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  • Cruising to a lighthouse

    By definition, lighthouses aren't easy to visit. Most are between a rock and a hard place, out of the way and on the edge of a fickle inland sea. “When the government came here after 1843, they were afraid the Native Americans would be hostile, but they quickly found out the only thing hostile was Lake Superior,'' said our captain on a cruise to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

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  • Ghosts of the Great Lakes

    In late fall, ghosts go hand in hand with shipwrecks and the malevolent storms that cause them. Some say the ship was done in by an Iroquois curse on the French invaders, and that it still can be glimpsed lurking in the fog.

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  • Dwelling in the past

    When Lake Superior lighthouses had keepers, there was nothing romantic about life there. The posts were cold, lonely and meagerly furnished on the government dime. The work was physically taxing and repetitive. Through the long nights, keepers had to get up every two hours to wind the mechanism that rotated the lens. It's no wonder many of the early lighthouse keepers were hermits or grouches.

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  • Living in a lighthouse

    Around the Great Lakes, love for lighthouses is unlimited. Often called "America's castles,'' lighthouses are symbols of a more adventurous era, and tourists find them irresistible. Now, the state parks and friends associations who care for them have found a way to harness all this passion: They're turning tourists into volunteer keepers.

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  • Lighthouses of the Apostles

    A century ago, in the Apostle Islands, only seven puny shafts of light stood between sailors and catastrophe. Storms gather fury over 200 miles of open water, and heaven help mariners caught between wind and rock — heaven, or a lighthouse keeper with sharp eyes.

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