On our July, 2013 trip to Ludingon, Michigan, we took a scenic drive up highway M22 to Point Betsie.
We started out in Ludington, and went north on US31 through Manistee. From there, we jumped on M-22, which is a beautiful scenic road. It’s called the “Orchard Highway” because so many apple, pear, cherry, and other orchards line the road. This road winds its way up through several smaller towns, up to the city of Frankfort, Michigan, and then on up to Point Betsie. At Point Betsie, we wanted to see the lighthouse. We also wanted to stop in Frankfort and do a little shopping.
North of Arcadia, Michigan, there is a beautiful scenic overlook which you can stop at. The views from the parking area of the are are wonderful. Here is a link to a map which shows where the overlook is. An even better view can be had from climbing a series of steps at the overlook, adding another hundred feet or more of height to your viewing experience. On the day we were there, the lake was very calm, and you felt like you could see forever. I would highly recommend stopping here to check out the view.
After going around Frankfort, we ended up at Point Betsie. The lighthouse is north of Frankfort, at the end of Point Betsie Road. This lighthouse went into operation in 1859. The light itself is attached to the light keepers house. The tower is not very tall, only 37 feet. This lighthouse is said to be one of the most photographed in Michigan, due to its appearance and its scenic location. It’s open for tours from time to time — it was not open the day we were there.
The area around the lighthouse is full of dunes, grass, and beach. The water here is a little rougher, and there were a lot more rocks than further south. It was also much colder! We enjoyed walking on the beach, and picking out some of the colorful rocks. We’ve been here twice now, and both days were cool and blustery — often a ten or fifteen degree difference from what we were seeing in Ludington.
After Point Betsie, we headed back south to Frankfort. I had wanted to get a good look at the lighthouse, plus we would do some shopping and have lunch. We had been here once before, but it was cold and we didn’t walk the breakwater. This day was nicer, and I took a few photographs of the lighthouse.
The Frankfort Light is situated at the end of a breakwater which protects the harbor. The light apparently dates to 1873, though modifications were made in the 1930s. It’s a steel-clad lighthouse, quite skinny at 67 feet tall, and perhaps needing some attention. It’s not as nicely restored and/or maintained as some of the other lighthouses we saw on our trip.
The view from the lighthouse back towards the harbor showed the nice beach that Frankfort has.
After visiting Frankfort, we decided to head back. We had a nice drive back down M22 to Ludington.