A Lonely Lighthouse

With our vacation coming to an end tomorrow, thought I’d write a little about some of the places we visited. For fun, I’ve decided to write about these places in no particular order. And I wanted to begin with a lonely lighthouse: the Presque Island Lighthouse.

The Presque Island Lighthouse, Est. 1873

One of the first thing I learned upon entering the lighthouse was that I’d been mispronouncing Presque Isle. This is what happens when your only experience with the name is through maps. I’d been pronouncing it “Press-key”. Actually, it is pronounced “presk.” The lighthouse rests along the southern shore of Lake Erie. It is amazing how much like and ocean the lake looks like from the shore.

Canada is about 26 miles across the lake, which I think is the same distance as the English Channel, but I am too lazy to check this at the moment. The light from the Presque Island Lighthouse can be seen for 13 miles. As it happens, a companion lighthouse on the Canadian shore to the north can also be seen at a distance of 13 miles. So ships in the middle of the lake can see both lighthouses as they pass by.

The first lighthouse keeper felt that it was too lonely out there by himself on Presque Isle. The longest resident lighthouse keeper lived at the lighthouse for 26 years, from 1901 to 1927. Interestingly, he retired when the island became too busy with tourists. Apparently, he enjoyed the lonely lifestyle, the mile long walk to the bay, and the canoe ride to shore when he had to reach the mainland. (Today, the island and lighthouse is reachable by road.)

Without it ever being tacitly agreed, visiting lighthouses has become a theme of our road trips. We’ve visited several lighthouses in Maine (most recently the Portland Head Lighthouse), a lighthouse in upstate New York, the St. Augustine Lighthouse in Florida, a lighthouse in Mystic, Connecticut. It makes for a nice little collection that we look forward to adding to on our trips, a special kind of souvenir.

We all made the 78-step climb to the top of the lighthouse to see it demonstrated. (Today it uses an LED bulb.) There was a spectacular view of Lake Erie from up there.

Lake Erie, looking north

I like visiting places like the Presque Island lighthouse. It didn’t seem that lonely to me. It seemed peaceful.

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