Thursday April 24th 2014

13 gorgeous photos of Maine lighthouses (in honor of Open Lighthouse Day)

By: Shannon Bryan

We’re used to appreciating Maine lighthouses from the outside. We take their pictures. We take our pictures in front of them. We might even take one of those pictures that looks like we’re squishing the lighthouse between two fingers. But on Saturday, we can get a rare look inside some of Maine’s purtiest lighthouses. Saturday is Maine Open Lighthouse Day, and a host of Maine lighthouses will be open from 9 am-3 pm for tours. And that means we get to appreciate those bold beacons of safety inside and out. Although, let’s be honest, we don’t need a special day to appreciate Maine lighthouses. We can appreciate them every day, perhaps by going to one of Maine’s many lighthouses and reciting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem The Lighthouse, perhaps accompanied by a trio of violinists or a children’s choir (the children are cheaper but the violists are less likely to use the lighthouse as a jungle gym). Or, you know, take a quite moment of lighthouse appreciation…[quietly appreciating now]…and gawk at some gorgeous lighthouse photos! Go ahead, they like it.

Open Lighthouse Day

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. All lighthouses will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. FMI: http://www.visitmaine.com/attractions/sightseeing_tours/lighthouse/lighthouse-day/

Bass Harbor Head (Bass Harbor, Mount Desert Island)
Land based. Only the lighthouse will be open on Lighthouse Day. The lighthouse contains a beautiful, fourth-order Fresnel lens in its lantern. It is cared for by the United States Coast Guard and is an active aid to navigation.

Burnt Coat Harbor (Swan’s Island)
Offshore. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house will be open. Visitors can get to Swan’s Island on the Maine State Ferry from Bass Harbor. For more information, go to www.maine.gov/mdot/msfs/swansisland.htm or call (207) 244-3254. The lighthouse is cared for by the nonprofit Friends of Swan’s Island Lighthouse and remains an active aid to navigation.

Burnt Island (Boothbay Harbor)
Offshore. Note: Special admission time, 9 a.m. to noon only. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (living history museum) will be open. To get to the light, use Balmy Day Cruises in Boothbay Harbor. For information, go to www.balmydayscruises.com or call (207) 633-2284. The lighthouse is cared for by the Maine Department of Marine Resources and is an active aid to navigation.

Curtis Island (Camden)
Offshore. Only the lighthouse will be open. Visitors must find their own transportation to the island. The lighthouse is cared for by the Town of Camden and is an active aid to navigation.

Doubling Point (Arrowsic, along the Kennebec River)
Land based. Only the lighthouse will be open. The lighthouse is cared for by the nonprofit Friends of Doubling Point Lighthouse and is an active aid to navigation.

Dyce (Dice) Head (Castine)
Land based. Only the lighthouse will be open. The lighthouse is cared for by the Town of Castine and is an active aid to navigation.

Fort Point (Stockton Springs)
Land based. Only the lighthouse will be open. The lighthouse contains a beautiful, fourth-order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse is cared for by the Fort Point State Historic Site and is an active aid to navigation.

Grindle Point (Islesboro)
Offshore. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (museum and gift shop inside) are open. Trips to Islesboro are available on the Maine State Ferry from Lincolnville to Islesboro. For information, go to www.maine.gov/mdot/msfs/islesboro.htm or call (207) 789-5611. The lighthouse is cared for by the Town of Islesboro and is an active aid to navigation.

Kennebec River Front Range Light (Arrowsic, along the Kennebec River)
Land based. Only the lighthouse will be open. The lighthouse is cared for by the nonprofit The Range Light Keepers and is an active aid to navigation.

Marshall Point (Port Clyde)
Land based. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (museum and gift shop inside) will be open. The Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum is cared for by the nonprofit St. George Historical Society; the lighthouse is an active aid to navigation.

Monhegan (Monhegan Island)
Offshore. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (museum inside) will be open. Note: Special admission time, 11 am to 4 pm. Trips to Monhegan Island are available on Monhegan Boat Line in Port Clyde at http://monheganboat.com/schedule/ or call (207) 372-8848; Balmy Day Cruises in Boothbay Harbor at www.balmydayscruises.com or call (207) 633-2284; or Hardy Boat Cruises at hardyboat.com/monhegan_ferry.htm or call (207) 677-2026. The light station is cared for by the nonprofit Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum Association. The light tower is an active aid to navigation.

Owls Head (Owls Head)
Land based. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (lighthouse interpretive center and gift shop inside) will be open. The light station is cared for by the nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation. The light tower, which contains a beautiful, fourth-order Fresnel lens, is an active aid to navigation. On Open Lighthouse Day, Coast Guard personnel from the Aids to Navigation Team in Southwest Harbor will be at the light keeper’s house to talk about lighthouses and related navigation equipment.

Pemaquid Point (Bristol)
Land based. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (museum inside) will be open. The lighthouse is cared for by the nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation and its local chapter, the Friends of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. The light tower, which contains a beautiful fourth-order Fresnel lens, is an active aid to navigation. The Town of Bristol cares for the keeper’s house.

Portland Breakwater (South Portland)
Land based. Only the lighthouse will be open. The lighthouse is cared for by the City of South Portland and is an active aid to navigation. The tower is often affectionately referred to as “Bug Light.”

Portland Head (Cape Elizabeth)
Land based. Both the light tower and keeper’s house (museum inside and gift shop in adjacent building) will be open. Important Note: On Open Lighthouse Day, approximately 300 tickets will be made available to visitors on a first-come-first-served basis. A ticket will be required to climb the tower. You must be at least 48 inches tall to climb the tower. Visitors must be able to climb 85+ steps unassisted. The lighthouse is cared for by the Town of Cape Elizabeth and is an active aid to navigation.

Rockland Breakwater (Rockland)
Land based (via a 7/8-mile long walk along the breakwater). Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house will be open. Boat transportation will be available for a fee; call the Rockland Yacht Club launch at (207) 233-2800. The lighthouse is cared for by the nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation and its local chapter, Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights. The light tower is an active aid to navigation.

Seguin Island (Seguin Island, off Popham Beach)
Offshore. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (museum and gift shop inside) will be open. To get to Seguin Island, contact the Seguin Island Ferry at www.fishntripsmaine.com/seguinislandferry or call (207) 841-7977. The light station is cared for by the nonprofit Friends of Seguin Island, and the light tower, which contains a beautiful first-order Fresnel lens (the only one of its kind in Maine), is an active aid to navigation.

Spring Point (South Portland)
Land based (via a breakwater). Only the lighthouse will be open. The lighthouse is cared for by the nonprofit Spring Point Ledge Light Trust. It is an active aid to navigation.

West Quoddy Head (Lubec)
Land based. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house (visitors center and museum inside) will be open. The light station is cared for by the West Quoddy Head Light Keeper’s Association and the State of Maine. The light tower, which contains a beautiful, third-order Fresnel lens, is an active aid to navigation.

Whitehead Island (near Sprucehead)
Offshore. Lighthouse, keeper’s house, whistle house and schoolhouse will be open. Note: Special admission time, 2:30 to 4:30 only. Access will be by boat (reservations required for complimentary transportation). The light station is cared for by the nonprofit Pine Island Camp; the light tower is an active aid to navigation. For reservations, visit www.whiteheadlightstation.org/open-lighthouse-day-2013 or call (207) 200-7957.

Wood Island (Biddeford Pool)
Offshore. Both the lighthouse and keeper’s house will be open. Access will be by boat (reservations required). The light station is cared for by the nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation and its local chapter, Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse. The light tower is an active aid to navigation. For reservations, visit www.woodislandlighthouse.org or call (207) 200-4552.

Other lighthouse activities during Maine Open Lighthouse Day weekend

Maine Lighthouse Museum (Rockland)
The Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during Maine Open Lighthouse Day. The museum contains the largest collection of Fresnel lenses on display in the United States and offers exhibits that pay tribute to our nation’s lighthouse and lifesaving history.

Lighthouse Sunset Cruise (Rockland)
The American Lighthouse Foundation and its local chapter, Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights, are sponsoring a sunset cruise Friday, September 13 (4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.), departing from the Public Landing in Rockland Harbor (reservations are required). The cruise will include close-up views of five Midcoast lighthouses: Owls Head, Rockland Breakwater, Indian Island, Curtis Island and Grindle Point. Tickets are $45 per person, with all proceeds benefiting lighthouse preservation. For reservations, visit www.lighthousefoundation.org or call the American Lighthouse Foundation at (207) 594-4174.

Whitehead Light Station (near Sprucehead)
Whitehead Light Station is offering a special opportunity called “Be a ‘Lightkeeper’ for the Weekend,” stay from Friday, September 13 at 4 p.m. through Sunday, September 15 at 4 p.m. For information or to sign up, go to: www.whiteheadlightstation.org/lightkeeper-for-the-weekend-2013