How appropriate to write about our second Florida lighthouse adventure today, National Lighthouse Day.
Constructed in 1838, the lighthouse on Amelia Island is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Florida, and one we’ve tried to visit on numerous occasions. The lighthouse can be seen from across Egans Creek at an overlook at Ft. Clinch State Park as well as when crossing the creek from the road, but on several occasions we’ve attempted to find the lighthouse tucked behind houses in a neighborhood none to anxious to welcome lighthouse gawkers.
Since this is the year of the lighthouse, we set out more determined to find this elusive beacon, and I’m pleased to say we were successful. We located a street not found on any map we have of Fernandina Beach, O’Hagan, a National Historic District street located off Lighthouse Circle. In order to reach the lighthouse, we stopped at the park at the corner of Atlantic and Wolff since we were pulling the boat and driving down O’Hagan with a trailer was not a possibility.
Walking a few blocks was a good way to get to the lighthouse grounds, but unfortunately access is restricted except on Saturdays from 11am-2pm and on the first and third Wednesdays of each month when Helen O’Hagan Sintes, the daughter and granddaughter of former lighthouse keepers at Amelia Island gives tours. The restricted access explains why our photos provided obstructed views as we were standing on the closest point to the lighthouse taking pictures through the fence…our only option.
As we left Fernandina Beach, WJCT, the local NPR station told the story of of the O’Hagan family and their connection not only to the Amelia Island Lighthouse, but a story about the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse as well as the importance of the O’Hagan name to Florida lighthouses.
A coincidence? Maybe, but I think it’s an invitation to visit Ponce Inlet and a return trip for an O’Hagan guided tour of the Amelia Island lighthouse.
Amelia Island Lighthouse. That’s number 13. Only 2 more to go to meet our goal of 15 in 2015.