Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lighthouses Where You can Stay Overnight

Here are a few of the different lighthouses where you can stay overnight (maybe not actually in the lighthouse itself, but in the Keeper Quarters):

Tibbett's Point Lighthouse Hostel - New York
Point Arena Light Station - California
Rose Island Lighthouse -Rhode Island
Heceta Head Lighthouse - Oregon
Isle Au Haut Lighthouse - Maine
Big Bay Point Lighthouse - Michigan

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Old Point Loma Lighthouse - San Diego, California

If you're visiting San Diego, be sure to stop for a visit at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

The lighthouse was first lit on November 15, 1855. However, fog and clouds often obscured the light, so, 36 years later, in 1891, the light was extinguished, and a new lighthouse was lit at the tip of the Point.

Although no longer in commission, this lighthouse is a great place to visit, not only for views of the San Diego Bay, but because the interior was refurbished to its 1880s appearance by the National Park Service.

This great photo was shot by Bruce Tuten, who posted this photo on flickr at

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lighthouse - Battery Point - Crescent City, California

Battery Point Lighthouse, located on a hill off Battery Point in Crescent City, California, is a Cape Cod structure with a 45-foot high tower in the center, built out of brick and granite. Open April through September, you can access the lighthouse by walking across the bottom of the ocean during low tide. It's a great spot to view migrating whales.

The interesting thing about this lighthouse is that it received no damage during the worst tsunami ever recording along the west coast of the lower forty-eight United States. The tsunami occurred on March 27, 1964, when a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 9.2 struck Alaska near Prince William Sound. A series of waves generated by the earthquake raced south at a speed of nearly 600 m.p.h. and reached Crescent City around midnight with crests of up to twenty feet. The tsunami destroyed half of the waterfront business district. Eleven persons lost their lives.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Tallest Lighthouse in the United States - Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

To those of you for whom "size matters," you'll want to be sure to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the United States, located in Buxton, North Carolina, along the Outer Banks stretch of coastline that is known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." At 208 feet tall, from foundation to top, this lighthouse is one of the most recognized and visited lighthouse in America, drawing 200,000 visitors a year.

When was the lighthouse built? Actually, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a lighthouse that has had several incarnations.

The first Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built in 1802 and lit in 1803, more than 3,000 feet from the coeval shoreline. However, it wasn't very effective due to its poor visibility from the sea. Many attempts were made to increase the visibility of the light, but were not very successful. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers attempted to destroy the tower and left it damaged, but still standing, minus the Fresnel lens they took to keep the Union Army from using the light as a navigational aid.

Coupled with the damage the lighthouse sustained, as well as the complaints received about its effectiveness, a new Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was constructed in 1870, complete with 268 spiraling stairs and two 1,000-watt lamps, visible 20 miles offshore, which blink every 7 1/2 seconds.

But, that's not the end of the story. While the Confederates were not able to totally destroy the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the erosion and the receding shoreline would, if not for a relocation of the lighthouse inland of 2900 feet. In 1999, the lighthouse was lifted and moved 1,500 feet away from the Atlantic.

The lighthouse is open each year from the third Friday in April until Columbus Day; during the summer months, visitation hours for climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse are 10 am to 4 pm daily.

If you want to visit and need a clean, yet inexpensive motel with a fantastic view, check out the Outer Banks Motel in Buxton. They're right on the ocean and an ocean-view room is pretty decent, beginning at $110 for a queen-size bed in the middle of the summer. They even provide free rowboats for their guests to use in the Pamlico Sound. Call them at 1-800-995-1233 to make reservations.

And, for those of you who are obsessed with size, there is a light tower taller than Cape Hatteras – the Lanterna in Genoa, Italy, which measures 245-ft tall.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Oldest Lighthouse in the United States

Welcome to Lighthouses USA, where we will share facts, articles and videos about Lighthouses in North America.

First, a quiz. What is the oldest lighthouse in the U.S.? Well, depends on what you mean by the "oldest." The Boston Light on Little Brewster Island was the first lighthouse built in the United States in 1716. However, it was renovated in 1783 because it was damaged in the Revolutionary War. So, the oldest lighthouse as it was originally constructed is actually the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey. Both are still in use today, with the Boston Lighthouse being the last manned lighthouse in the U.S.

The Boston Light, pictured above, has a 98-foot tower which flashes a 1.75 million candlepower beacon every ten seconds, visible for 27 miles. If you'd like to see the Boston Light up close and personal, you can take a tour which includes a ferry boat ride from Boston through the Harbor Islands to Boston Light. You'll get a view of three lighthouses from the ferry: Graves Light, Long Island Head Light, and Boston Light, with an hour-long visit on Little Brewster Island, where you’ll meet the US Coast Guard light keeper and view the lighthouse. The cost is only $28 for the three-hour excursion. Go to to purchase tickets.

The accompanying photo of the Boston Light was taken by Stephen Gore;