A Lighthouse Keeper's Garden


Did I see lots of wonderful things on my forays into other regions this year? You bet I did! And if it weren’t for my camera—and the fact that we I longer have to worry about developing failures—I wouldn’t remember them.

There are two criteria for any travel destination when my husband and I get into one vehicle together. It involves flowers and water, and it can be interesting when the two priorities meet. We visit lots of lighthouses, which are common features when coastlines find themselves prominently placed on agendas. 

Our latest lighthouse was in Leelanau State Park in Northport, Michigan. The Grand Traverse Lighthouse was built in 1858, and then converted to a two-family dwelling in 1900. I suppose it would be less lonely with two families. Even so, I imagined their lives in an era when there were no televisions, let alone home computers. 
The need for a lighthouse in a time before GPS was obvious, the coast extremely rocky as most northern Michigan shores are. 

Still, it must have been fun to explore for the lighthouse keepers kids. Visitors to what now is state parkland enjoyed their hands at stacking the stones into a mini Midwestern Stonehenge.

Sign: "Built by James McCormick in 1926."


We enjoyed the works of two lighthouse keepers from the early 20th century who created structures with what was plentiful—small, smooth, rounded rocks, and what was cheap—concrete. 

Each of the planters was surrounded by a low fence for protection from visitors. I don't know whether or not they had received much maintenance by staff, but they looked sturdy enough to withstand the northern Michigan weather for close to 100 years.

Sign: "Built by Peter Reinhold Johnson in 1920"

The boat planter was obviously a modern work. I can't imagine a lighthouse keeper relegating a boat to growing flowers. My guess is that it was one of several used at a time when the lighthouse residents were responsible for saving lives.
A boat to nowhere packed with soil and flowers.

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