More Lighthouses: Maine Style

Maine wasn’t on our radar when we set visiting fifteen lighthouses as one of our goals for 2015; but when we decided to take a September New England trip, Maine lighthouses were a natural part of our time along the coast.

Our first night in Maine, we stopped in York, the site of Cape Neddick Light. From Sohier Park we viewed the lighthouse located atop a rock island a short distance off shore,

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and as I turned around, the view of a white rowboat beached on the rock below with an inn in the background brought together everything New England.

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Later that afternoon, we burned off our seafood lunch by walking eight-tenths of a mile out to Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse along the granite breakwater.

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Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day surrounded by the blue sky and waters.

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Egg Rock, the small island with a lighthouse, was barely visible from the mainland; but that couldn’t keep us from counting this as lighthouse number twenty-one. Located in Bar Harbor, we were able to photograph the lighthouse from Acadia National Park.

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From Acadia’s Schoodic Point, the Winter Harbor Lighthouse is clearly visible, but again its location on an island in Frenchman Bay prevents an up-close visit.

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Our final Maine lighthouse visit…the Prospect Harbor Light. Located behind a fence and a Coast Guard manned security booth, makes access by the public impossible. However, by climbing down on the rocky beach along the road leading to the light, it is possible to get a good, unobstructed view.

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Twenty-three lighthouses. Looks like we underestimated our abilities. And with a camping trip in the Panhandle yet to come, I don’t think we’re finished.

10 Down; 5 To Go

With more than three months left in 2015, we met our goal of visiting 15 lighthouses. On a single day earlier this month, we went to St. Augustine, lighthouse number 14 and Ponce Inlet, lighthouse number 15.

We started the day with a bike ride on the beach at Anastasia Island State Park and took a couple of long distance pictures.

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Then we biked over to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum to get up close views of the lighthouse we’d seen from the beach.

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What’s a trip to St. Augustine without a meal at the Columbia Restaurant? After a delicious lunch, we were ready to begin the next leg of the day’s journey.

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Our drive down A1A ended at Florida’s tallest lighthouse located at Ponce Inlet. No, we didn’t climb the 203 steps to the top of the lighthouse. It was after 4:00 by the time we arrived and the storm clouds made it unlikely we’d have a chance to get to the top before the lightning put an end to the day’s tours.

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In just over a week, we met the goal by visiting the oldest lighthouse in the state, the Amelia Island Lighthouse, the one lighting Florida’s oldest port at St. Augustine, and the state’s tallest lighthouse located at Ponce Inlet – quite a historic week.

Now that we’ve completed this challenge and visited four lighthouses in Florida (Anclote Key earlier this summer), we should shoot for 15 Florida lighthouses in 2015. We better get busy!

Florida Lighthouse 1: Anclote Key

Our goal this year is to visit at least 15 lighthouses and after visiting 11 in Washington state and British Columbia, we finally made it to our first Florida lighthouse in 2015.

Anclote Key Preserve State Park, off the coast of Tarpon Springs, is only a short boat ride across St. Joseph Sound. A ferry is available in Tarpon Springs, but it’s also easy to kayak across the water from Anclote River Park, a county park. Our mode of transportation was our 15′ skiff making the trip both cheap and easy.

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Since the five miles of white-sand beaches are only accessible by boat, we encountered only a handful of people even on a summer day. I’m sure a weekend trip may be more crowded, but on a Wednesday, we saw fewer people than the shipwrecked inhabitants of Gilligan’s Island.

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We anchored near the pier, the recommended location, and then followed the boardwalk to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is not open to the public except on specially designated days, and in fact, we did not see the park ranger during our recent visit.

After reading about the history of the lighthouse, which was first lit in September 1887, and then taking a few pictures, we finished our time on Anclote Key swimming in the warm Gulf Waters and enjoying a little beach time and a picnic lunch.

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Only three more lighthouses to go to complete another of our 15 in 15 adventures.

Washington Lighthouses: Round 2

After spending a day at Mt. Baker upon our return to the U.S. from Canada, we spent our final two days in Seattle and the surrounding area where we visited three more lighthouses.

The first, Mukilteo, was the only lighthouse we were able to enter. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and found the lighthouse and grounds open and took the opportunity to climb to the top where we were able to watch the ferry depart for Clinton.

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Our final day took us to Alki Lighthouse in West Seattle, directly west of downtown on the point. Blocked from public access behind locked gates in the middle of a neighborhood proved only a slight deterrent as we located an access point to the beach and then walked around the point and climbed the rocks to get an up close look and take the obligatory selfie.

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imageDiscovery Park, the site of Fort Lawton and the West Point Lighthouse was where we hiked to lighthouse number ten in the Pacific Northwest. Due to poorly marked trails, we took a lengthy route through shaded trails down to the beach where we got the first glimpse of the lighthouse. We finally managed to find a path which provided access to our destination.

Pictures and then a walk on the beach before heading back to the car and concluding our nearly five mile walk to satisfy our curiosity about West Point Lighthouse…a good way to end our trip.

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As we said good-bye to Washington, it’s time to start visiting Lighthouses closer to home.

 

Looking for Lighthouses: Vancouver

Our first round of lighthouses was in the state of Washington, but after crossing the Canadian border, we continued our lighthouse quest by visiting three sites in the Vancouver vicinity.

Vancouver’s Stanley Park is home to two lighthouses. The first, Brockton Point is located on Burrard Inlet just two miles into the paved bike path that follows the perimeter of the park.

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Stanley Park’s second lighthouse is another two and a half miles down the bicycle path at Prospect Point.

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The third lighthouse we visited was a short drive from Stanley Park in West Vancouver. Here we found Point Atkinson Lighthouse in Lighthouse Park nestled among acres of first-growth Douglas firs. The Beacon Trail was an easy hike to a bluff overlooking the lighthouse and coastline. And after a few pictures, a hike through the park on one the the trails was a perfect way to end the day.

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With over four dozen lighthouses in British Columbia, we barely scratched the surface, but these three combined with those in Washington, makes six. We’re well on our way to visiting 15 lighthouses before the end of the year.

Looking for Lighthouses

It only took six months, but we finally started making progress toward our goal of visiting fifteen lighthouses in 2015. As one of the items on our list of 15 in 15, we planned to visit one or two lighthouses each month, but that didn’t happen.

On our drive from Portland to Vancouver, we managed to visit four of these majestic beacons in the state of Washington. The first, located near Long Beach, was North Head Lighthouse.
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Also near Long Beach we found Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

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Point Wilson Lighthouse in Port Townsend looking out from Fort Worten made number three.

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At Fort Casey State Park, we managed to drive out to Admiralty Head Lighthouse and photograph our fourth lighthouse even though we arrived a half hour before the park opened.

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Four lighthouses in two days! I think we’ll make 15 after all.

 

 

 

 

 

On the Lookout for Lighthouses

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m always on the lookout for lighthouses. After all, I lived in Lighthouse Point throughout my teenage years and could see the lighthouse at Hillsboro Inlet as I drove down the road to my house.

In fact, the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse adorned the cover of my Pompano Beach High School yearbook my junior year. A lighthouse, the sunrise, the ocean, all things I still love. You can schedule a tour of the Hillsboro Lighthouse this Saturday, August 9th or again on October 11th when they celebrate Barefoot Mailman Day.

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Since tomorrow is National Lighthouse Day, I decided to look for some of the pictures of lighthouses we’ve taken over the years.

A few from North Carolina:

Florida’s oldest lighthouse Amelia Island Lighthouse in Fernandina Beach, built in 1938, is older than the state of Florida, and while I’ve seen it from the road, it’s not accessible to the public on a regular basis so I haven’t been able to get close enough for a picture. Tours are only available on the first and third Wednesdays of the month so I’ll have to work to get there.

Click here for a tour of Florida’s tallest lighthouse, located at Ponce de Leon Inlet. This was the site of my sister Carol’s wedding to her husband Dan.

Florida lighthouses in Jupiter, Jacksonville, and Boca Grande:

One of my favorites, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, in Maine:

pemaquid2More great lighthouses at Sanibel Island, Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, and another look at Pimaquaid:

This map of the lighthouses of Florida is from the Florida Lighthouse Association, an organization working to protect, preserve, and restore the state’s lighthouses. Wonder how many of these we can visit in 2015?