A few years ago during a pit stop at the DeLorme store in Yarmouth, Maine – I picked up a couple maps and travels books. One of the items I brought home was a map featuring Mid-Atlantic lighthouses. Having travel inspiration on the bookshelf at home is always a good thing.
Scanning around the map, reading the names of the lighthouses makes me want to visit them. How could you resist a place called Point No Point? Between you and me, that seems like the name that should be hanging on my office door. Then there is the gelatinous sounding Solomons Lump. Unfortunately that one isn’t accessible by land, which may be just as well. It sounds like it could be infectious.
I don’t know what initially sparked my affinity for lighthouses but they are one of my “go to” stops when looking for things to visit. Maybe it has something to with their implied independence, perseverance and strength against the elements. No matter how small in stature, the mighty lighthouse keeps shining its light when things get nasty.
So far, I’ve only visited a few of the lighthouses in the Mid-Atlantic region. But maybe that will change. Maybe this year I’ll find myself seeking out a few more.
85 Mercer Rd
Highlands, NJ 07732
Navesink Twin Lights
Twin Lights Historic Site
Highlands, NJ 07732
700 Concord St
Havre De Grace, MD 21078
Aside from riding around in a Gumby suit, I was busy nerding it up in other ways on Sunday. I was messing around with Foursquare trying to see if I could unlock the Great Outdoors badge during my ride.
I rode down Old Field Road to it’s very tip to see if the lighthouse would be listed as a park. As it turns out, it wasn’t. As a matter of fact it wasn’t listed in Foursquare at all. I was the first person to check-in at the great, old lighthouse.
This granite beauty was finished in 1868. Though it is no longer active as a lighthouse, it still has a purpose. Since 1963 it has served as the Old Field village hall.
Kenny’s dad is a pilot. A few weeks ago, he took us flying around the Island and we spotted the Old Field Lighthouse from the air:
I never did get my Great Outdoors badge on 4Sq but I did enjoy my ride and the beautiful fall weather.
Interested in Lighthouses? According to this site, Long Island is home to 19 of them. So, far I’ve only visited or seen a few:
A 60 degree Sunday afternoon at the end of November is a treat here in the Northeast. Old man winter is patiently waiting to come knocking on our door. In the meantime we made the most of our limited daylight hours with a riding excursion to the Fire Island Lighthouse.
We parked our motorcycles in one of the parking fields and walked along the wooden walkway amongst the golden reeds. There are signs of deer, foxes and other small animals everywhere. Sadly we didn’t catch a glimpse of any.
The Fire Island Lighthouse is New York’s tallest lighthouse at over 160 feet above sea level. We found that out in a hurry when we trudged our gear laden behinds up the 156 steps of the narrow spiral staircase. The combination of the post-Thanksgiving food hangover and the motorcycle gear made for an um… labored climb to the observation deck. 😀
I’ll tell you, it’s always that last ladder at the very top of so many lighthouses that really gives me the willies. I’ve got a bit of the fear of heights. I have imagined myself tumbling ass over teakettle down the spiral stairs with a decidedly ungraceful thud on more than one occasion. What is it about turning around on a ladder to come down backwards that is so scary?
The ride itself to the lighthouse isn’t thrilling. But a nice walk in the sunshine, the rolling waves along the beach, the sea air – they make it worth the trip.
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In some ways you don’t really know the value of your travels until they are left behind in the clouds of dust that swirl around in your memory. My trip to California in June of 2008 is like that. While I was in the thick of it putting in the miles, taking in the life, I was absolutely enjoying it. But now, as time has marched on what I’ve come away with is a collection of delicate and precious vignettes that fill me with sunshine.
It isn’t the big stuff that seems the sweetest to me. It is the small moments that come back to me tenderly. I can still feel the moment that I saw the pelicans glide along the water near Point Arena lighthouse. I still feel the cool of the cement as we shared a sandwich on the curb in Mendocino.
Maine’s oldest working lighthouse, the Portland Head Light was a a pitstop on our recent trip back home to New York from Maine. The subject of countless photographs and blog posts much better than I could ever muster on both fronts, here it is nonetheless.
More info on the Annie C. Maguire Shipwreck here
What do you think a kid sees out there on the horizon? I wish I could remember.