Vermilion is an obscure, isolated, remote old village that can be called either a ghost town or a former ghost town. "Former" because its status seems to have been changed over the years, even though this was a town at one time. Today the area is called the Vermilion Point Nature Reserve, approximately 10 miles west of Whitefish Point.

The lighthouse and Lifesaving Station still stand, although they shut down in 1944. They served this Lake Superior coastline from 1877-1944, when the area was known as "Shipwreck Coast" and "Graveyard of the Great Lakes".

Many travelers stopped here for respite: not just explorers & settlers, but Native Americans as well. It was thanks to the Native Americans that the town got its name - the area was ripe with vermilion that they used to make paint.

Around the late 1800's/early 1900's the area was the perfect place to harvest cranberries, thanks to the extreme inland wetlands, marshes, and swamps. Vermilion's earliest settlers took advantage of the prime cranberry-growing land and made decent money, shipping their harvests off to Chicago and Minnesota.

Surrounding the Vermilion area were many lumber, iron, and charcoal companies, so cranberries weren't the only source of income.

There are only a few old buildings left of the town of Vermilion, which have been renovated and restored by the Little Traverse Conservancy. It would be worth seeking out, but it ain't easy...there are no main roads that lead there...just small, narrow dirt roads that sometimes get flooded over. Pick the driest time of year to visit and you may make it through.

Check out the pictures of Vermilion below!


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