Wanderlusting: Chasing Maine Lighthouses Part Two
“Look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue.” – Thomas S Monson
Chasing Maine Lighthouses Part Two
Last Fall, I did an impromptu lighthouse tour on my way up to Mount Desert island. (MDI) I got to see some of my favorites as well as some new lighthouses and along the way had some adventures, Like the dog guarding Doubling Point. With sixty-five lighthouses in Maine, many of which are situated on peninsulas that take you thirty and forty minutes out of the way to get to them.
I only got to see a handful, but as I mentioned there ARE sixty-five lighthouses, and when I realized I was going to MDI (Mount Desert Island) in May, once again driving, I knew I had to do a Part Two. I couldn’t NOT visit and NOT check out some new lighthouses. Once again, I mapped out the ones I was going to visit, with the time restrictions I had and my adventures began. And it was an adventure, one that I wasn’t quite expecting.
Hendricks Head Light
The first lighthouse on this tour was Hendrick’s Head Light. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bit of a misadventure because the land surrounding Hendricks Light is all private, making it difficult to view. There was a beach in Southport that I went too, but again the views were difficult and I wasn’t able to explore to much since I had timed tickets to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, so I had to settle with a glimpse, that I am not even sure counts, as I didn’t get any pictures. SO I might have to do a redo, maybe from boat this time.
While I couldn’t view it up close, the history is fascinating. While many people claim it as a lighthouse in Boothbay it is actually located in West Southport. It was established in 1829 and decommissioned in 1933 before being relit in 1951 where it has continued to shine ever since. The majority of the years that the lighthouse was active, it was operated by the Marr family which boasted quite a few relatives who became light-keepers. There are also several stories involving shipwrecks, one of which includes a bay rescued from sea. None of the stories can be corroborated, but Marr descendants swear it is true.
Owls Head Light
I couldn’t travel up the Maine Midcoast without stopping at what is quite arguably my favorite lighthouse. Owl’s Head Light is prominently displayed atop a hill in Owl’s Head State Park which was built after the lighthouse was constructed to not only ensure the preservation of the light house, but to also make it the focal point.
While it is still operational, it is owned and operated by the Coast Guard and they have since taken over the lighteners corridors. The grounds are open to the public and you can make the trek up the stairs that lead to the brick lighthouse. The views are truly stunning though it can be a bit dizzying if you aren’t a fan of heights and it is windy, like it was the day I went. Like I said, it was an adventure, But it was worth it.
Fort Point Light
I spent the night in Camden, before continuing my drive up to MDI. Along the way I stopped at two more lighthouses, the first one being Fort Point Light. As I mentioned this trip was filled with nothing BUT adventure. On a peninsula located on the western mouth of the Penobscot River, it isn’t just a. lighthouse but also a state park. Which I found out the hard way as that is where I ended up first. You can still get to the lighthouse from the State Park, but t does have a different view and is a bit more of a walk. The park is also home to Fort Pownall, which is unfortunately in ruins, but you can still see some of the remnants left over.
I didn’t have time to really explore, and I wanted to se if I could see the lighthouse, so I hopped back in the car and found the other entrance which takes you through a residential area before ending at the lighthouse. It was definitely a better view as well as less awkward. While it is located on a State Park, people do still live at the lighthouse and I saw them walking around. They also had cars parked in front, so I definitely had to get creative with my photo taking. It was a bit awkward especially as I was the only. one there at the time. Fun fact the lighthouse was constructed in 1836 and is the first river light in Maine.
Dyce Head Lighthouse
The next lighthouse on the list is Dyce Head Lighthouse which is also on a peninsula and located on the eastern mouth of the Penobscot River. I didn’t make the connection, until I was driving and I happened to look across the bay and I could see Fort Point Light. The two lighthouses were paralleling each other on their respective peninsulas. Much like Hendrick’s Head and Even Fort Point (Though you do have the state park there) you couldn’t really spend much time at the lighthouse. It is a private residence and parking is none existent, though apparently there are some, and there are also a couple trails, though I didn’t see any. I ended up parking on the side of the road, snapped a couple pics, and then drove away. I was lucky because it was still off season. It is an insanely picture-esque, and very typical of a Maine lighthouse, with its white brick and rounded structure. If I had, had time, (and wasn’t parked precariously) I would have explored more as the whole area was gorgeous.
Bass Harbor is another favorite, though it unfortunately can get crowded. When I came to visit MDI in the autumn I really wanted to go here unfortunately the line to just park was insane, so we had to go with plan B. This time around my best friend who got MARRIED here (how stunning is that?!) and I got up super early, before the crowds (though there were still plenty of people) to see it and take pictures. It was a good thing we did, because it started to get busy as we left.
While Portland Headlight is the most photographed lighthouse in the world and a landmark of Maine, Bass Lighthouse to me screams Maine more then any other lighthouse. Standing resolute atop the side of a cliff, it overlooks some the most stunning views of Maine and also has the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. It truly is spectacular and while it is a little precarious getting pictures (you have to climb over rocks) it is well worth it. And fun fact: It is the only lighthouse ON Mount Desert Island.
Honorable mention Pond Island Light
I feel like I need to make an honorable mention (or two) of another lighthouse I saw from a distance, and that is Pond Island Light off of Popham Beach. On my way back from MDI, I stopped in Popham which truthfully is its own adventure getting out there, (It is a drive from Bath, Maine) but it is worth it! I explored the beach and then went to the fort where I had views of Pond Island Light. While it is on an Island, the grounds are open and you can get to it by either boat or kayak. The second honorable mention, is I saw Rockland Breakwater Light, but I didn’t take any pictures nor did I walk out to it, as it was again crowded and I had seen it before.
This tour was definitely an adventure. I wouldn’t say it was filled with misses, but it was certainly interesting. Maine is home to so many lighthouses with such varied history and architecture, each one is more unique then the last. There are still a few left that I can visit by foot or car on the main land, but many of the ones left are located on islands, you can only get to or even see from a boat, which means my next lighthouse tour, just might include a boat ride of some kind. What do you think?
Have you been to any lighthouses? What are your favorites?