Thursday, July 28, 2011

Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle: truly God's country

I'm super late on this, but it's still summer and I'm sure it hasn't changed much since I was there in late June.
Camp Chickagami is a place I've grown up at, up about 30 minutes north of Alpena.

The view of Lake Esau from the balcony of the boathouse
at Camp Chickagami, Presque Isle, Michigan.
Owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, the camp is mostly used for youth camps and other activities. But for 25 years, myself and St. David's Episcopal Church members drive up for a week and enjoy the character and natural beauty northeast Michigan has to offer.

The camp is located on Lake Esau, a quiet, perfectly-sized lake for tubing, swimming and boating. It's tucked back on a dead-end road, and doesn't see much traffic (it would be nice to keep it that way, too).

While the camp is privately-owned, the surrounding area is untouched beauty most travelers only know through the two lighthouses that watch over Lake Huron in Presque Isle, which is French for "almost an island."

The lighthouses, which are featured in a Pure Michigan television commercial, are majestic and each have a story to tell. The old lighthouse (which is haunted, and I can vouch for it) was built in 1840, and was shut down after 30 years of service. Another lighthouse was built down the road at the end of the peninsula to serve as the area's beacon.

Take a stroll up the lighthouse's tower below:

This new one is one of the tallest in the Great Lakes, and allows visitors to climb its 130 steps to see wondrous view of Lake Huron from the top:

The sunset over Lake Huron in Presque Isle.
There is no museum at the new lighthouse, but the one at the old one is a fabulous look at the how the lightkeeper's lived.

The marina is perfect for those boaters going up the coast, too; fairly quiet, a little pizzeria, deli and snack shop is ready for boaters.

A few parks line the peninsula, nice for a picnic or slow walk along the water, including the lighthouse park and Burnham's Landing park.

It's a great place to visit in the summer, and only a half-hour from both Alpena and Rogers City. If you make a trip to the northeast Lower Peninsula, Presque Isle is worth your while.

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