We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.Dwight L. Moody
Maine is known for its’ varying and stunning lighthouses. When the pandemic hit and I ended up staying in New England for a prolonged period of time, I decided to turn my ripening blueberries into blueberry cobbler (Maine is know for blueberries so I thought it would be a better metaphor then lemonade) and see as many lighthouses as I could. With sixty-five lighthouses many of which are located on peninsulas and their own islands, it isn’t an easy feat. But it also hasn’t been THAT difficult either. I have seen about half if not more, and most I have been able to drive to with a few exceptions. Those that are left, I unfortunately need a boat!
While I might need to put my goal of seeing ALL of them on hold for now, it hasn’t stopped me from revisiting some of my favorites again and again. There is something calming about a lighthouse. Perhaps it is because they truly do weather storms and the crazy ocean waves. Perhaps it is that they are beacons safely guiding people across the waters and thus life. Perhaps t is just that they are stunningly beautiful in their nautical designs Whatever it is. I love them and I love visiting them, whenever I am near one.
It has been two years since I first re-visited Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. We had gone when I was a baby, but I didn’t remember it, so I went back two years ago during my lighthouse tour. With covid precautions lifted it was fun to go back and really get the full feel of the lighthouse. Located in Bristol, Maine it is one of the most visited lighthouses in the state even being featured on the Maine state quarter.
Owned by the Coast Guard, but leased to the American Lighthouse Foundation, it is operated by the town of Bristol through the Friends of Pemaquid Point, relying on donations as well as a 3 dollar admittance fee. The lighthouse was built in 1827, but because of shoddy workmanship was replaced eight years later, in 1835. The light became automated in 1934 and can be seen for fourteen nautical miles on a clear day. Weather dependent it is open to visitors and you can go up and take in the gorgeous views. The keeper’s house, which is adjacent to the lighthouse, was built in 1857. You can even rent and stay in it which may or may not be on my bucket list.
There is also the fisherman’s museum and a learning center, as well as an art gallery on the premise. The old bell tower, while no longer operational, is still there as is the oil house which you can go into and explore. You can also walk the millennia old rocks below, just be careful for rogue waves! They have picnic areas, a spacious parking lot, and rest rooms. You can also rent the park out for weddings or other special events.
My first stop was to make a quick detour to Fort William Henry which is just down the road from the lighthouse and near Pemaquid Beach. When Fort William Henry was first built, it was the largest in New England, now all that remains are remnants of its foundation as well as a replica of the original stone tower, which is still stunning as it looks out on the harbor. You can actually go into the tower, but it was closed when I went. I would have loved to have explored more, but I was on a tight schedule, but I would definitely stop again.
While my Maine State Park’s Pass works for Fort William Henry, because Pemaquid is town owned there is a three dollar admission, which in my opinion is well worth it. I got there just as they opened which was good planning on my part, because when I left it had gotten quite busy. It was a beautiful day to walk around the grounds, be inspired by the lighthouse, and soak up the sun. The grounds are quite expansive, and they include walking along the rocks. there is even a small sandy beach you can explore at low tide. The Rosa Rugosa, otherwise known as beach roses, were in bloom and the whole area smelled lovely. I took some pictures, before seeing if I could go to the top of the lighthouse, but a line had already formed. I decided to save that for another visit and went and sat on the rocks and sipped my coffee until it began to get busy and I decided to head out. Even with the crowds, it is such a beautiful spot, and I am happy I went back.
Some thing to know before you go:
Get there early. While the parking lot is huge, it gets crowded to the point it isn’t as enjoyable.
The same goes if you want to go to to the top of the light house. It gets crowded.
I didn’t find it ridiculously buggy, but bug spray is a good idea as it is woodsy in places. Also check for ticks!
I also recommend sunscreen. While there are shady parts, if you are walking on the rocks it can be hot.
There is poison ivy around the rocks so watch where you step.
It is three dollars so I recommend bringing cash.
I would also bring some food and hang out. They have picnic tables as well as Adirondack chairs if you are lucky to snag them.
Have fun! Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is such a beautiful spot. I understand why it gets so busy because if you haven’t been you should go, and even if you have, it is a gorgeous place to revisit!
Have you been to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse? What is your favorite lighthouse you have visited?