Old Mission Lighthouse

Patrick Wellever

Reasonable rent and a little sweat equity can score you a month at one of the most cherished pieces of real estate on the Great Lakes. Perched at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula, your lodging is the Old Mission Point Lighthouse, built in 1850 to help warn ships of the shallows surrounding the point of land that separates West and East Grand Traverse Bays.

Until now, the lighthouse has been run as a private residence, but Peninsula Township, which owns the lighthouse, is introducing a lighthouse keepers program that allows volunteers to pay $800 to stay at the lighthouse for a month while running tours and doing light maintenance. What you do in your off-time is, of course, up to you, but that shouldn’t be a problem, with miles of beach and forest to wander and twisting two-lanes and wineries to explore.

The township would like to have the first lighthouse keeper ready to go by May 1, says Fred Stoye, chair of the township’s park board. But what about winter? “We’d love to have somebody in there all winter,” Stoye says. No tours to run in the off-season, so you could use the lighthouse seclusion to get working on that novel you’ve been thinking about.

Stef Staley, who heads a lighthouse keeper program at the Grand Traverse Light, near Northport, is coordinating the Old Mission program and is accepting applications. Contact Staley at 231-499-1787.

Photo(s) by Patrick Wellever