Published on : Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The State of Maine’s sixth annual Open Lighthouse Day will take place on Saturday, September 13 with lighthouses open throughout the state and free entry available to visitors on this one day. The popular event, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, draws between 15,000 to 18,000 visitors annually with the unique opportunity to climb and learn about Maine’s historic lights.
“As one of our largest industries, tourism provides an outstanding way for Maine to attract visitors, create jobs and provide new investment opportunities,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “My administration is committed to supporting events and activities that showcase our state as a terrific place to visit, study, and invest.”
The largest effort of its kind organized within the U.S., Open Lighthouse Day is a family activity intended to help increase awareness of Maine’s maritime heritage and teach visitors about the rich history of its lighthouses and lighthouse keepers. All lighthouses will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Special packages, promotions and celebratory activities are also available in partnership with hotels and other attractions. For Lighthouse Day, all lighthouses and lighthouse tours are free. Some parking and transportation costs to lighthouses are additional.
With more coastal lighthouses than anywhere else in the nation, Maine is often referred to as “The Lighthouse State”. Beginning in 1791, lighthouses were built to help navigate mariners through dangerous waters and Maine’s many small islands, ledges and shoals. By the turn of the 20th century, at least 70 lighthouses guarded Maine’s seacoast, deepest rivers and even one lake. Today, 65 of these lighthouses still stand.
Over the decades, Maine’s iconic lighthouses have become more than navigational aids. They also beckon the general public to come near and enjoy the alluring beauty, romance and history that embodies these timeless sentinels of the sea. Many of Maine’s lighthouses can be seen by boat, some only with ground visitation and some are celebrated by museums or as displays within buildings.
On Open Lighthouse Day, both Mainers and visitors planning a weekend getaway or longer vacation can check out various itineraries and participating lighthouses by going online to http://www.visitmaine.com/ to search “Lighthouse”.
Participating lighthouses in 2014 include:
Wood Island Lighthouse (offshore at Biddeford Pool). Reach by boat aboard “Light Runner” with advance reservations. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house
Greater Portland and Casco:
Portland Breakwater Lighthouse (land-based in South Portland) — Tower referred to as “Bug Light”. Open: Light tower
Portland Head Lighthouse (land-based in Cape Elizabeth) — Tower reached by climbing 85+ steps. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Museum inside & adjacent gift shop)
Spring Point Lighthouse (land-based in South Portland) — Reached via a breakwater. Open: Light tower
Burnt Island Lighthouse (offshore in Boothbay Harbor) — Access from Pier 8 via Balmy Day Cruises. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Living History museum inside)
Curtis Island Lighthouse (Camden). Open: Light tower
Doubling Point Lighthouse (land-based in Arrowsic, along the Kennebec River). Open: Light tower
Fort Point Lighthouse (land-based in Stockton Springs). Open: Light tower (with fourth-order Fresnel lens) and bell tower (exhibits inside)
Grindle Point Lighthouse (offshore in Islesboro) — Reach via the Maine State Ferry from Lincolnville to Islesboro. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Museum & gift shop inside)
Goat Island Lighthouse (offshore with access from the Cape Porpoise Pier). Open: Light tower and keeper’s house
Kennebec River Front Range Light (land-based in Arrowsic, along the Kennebec River).
Open: The front range light; rear range light viewed at a distance
Marshall Point Lighthouse (land-based at PortClyde). Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Museum & gift shop inside)
Monhegan (offshore on Monhegan Island) — Reach via boats from Port Clyde, New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Museum inside)
Owls Head Lighthouse (land-based in Owls Head) — Contains a fourth-order Fresnel lens.
Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Interpretive center & gift shop inside)
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse (land-based in Bristol) — Contains a fourth-order Fresnel lens.
Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Museum inside)
Rockland Breakwater (land-based in Rockland) — Reached via a 7/8-mile-long walk along the breakwater or boat. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house
Seguin Island (offshore off Popham Beach) — Reached by Seguin Island Ferry; contains a first-order Fresnel lens (the only one of its kind in Maine). Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Museum and gift shop inside)
Whitehead Island Lighthouse (offshore near Sprucehead) — Reached via boat from Whitehead Light Station with advance reservations. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse (Mount Desert Island). Contains fourth order Fresnel lens. Open: Light tower
Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse (offshore on Swan’s Island) — Reach via Maine State Ferry from Bass Harbor. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (art exhibit).
Dyce Head Lighthouse (land-based in Castine). Open: Light tower
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse (land-based in Lubec) — Contains a third-order Fresnel lens. Open: Light tower and keeper’s house (Museum inside)
Other lighthouse attractions and activities during Maine Open Lighthouse Day weekend:
Maine Lighthouse Museum (Rockland) — Contains the nation’s largest collection of Fresnel lenses, and exhibits paying tribute to Maine’s lighthouse history
Whaleback Day – Celebrate the State’s southernmost lighthouse with a choice of four 1-hour cruises offered from Kittery Point aboard the “Sir William Pepperrell” with Captain Neil Odams.
Each will sail close to Portsmouth Harbor Light and Whaleback Light. Historian Jeremy D’Entremont from the American Lighthouse Foundation will be aboard to talk about these spectacular locations