Maine January 14, 2017
The Lighthouse Road Trip On The Maine Coast That’s Dreamily Beautiful
Few things feel more like home than Maine’s lighthouses. They are the lights that guide us home, both literally and figuratively. For those who are only visitors to Maine, the lights represent happy summer memories and, for over a hundred years, they’ve been a beacon of home for sailors. But, they’re also incredibly beautiful.
Seeing one stand over the rocky Maine coast reminds us that we’re all pretty lucky to be here! And, we’ve certainly got enough to keep you busy sightseeing! If you want to get in as many as you can, consider taking this awesome road trip to see some of our favorites. Maine has plenty of lights to admire, but these few will get you started! Not great with directions? Fear not!
We’ve got you covered with this set of directions and map from Google Maps.
1. Whaleback Light, Kittery
If you choose to start this journey from South to North, you'll head to this spot first! Whaleback Light is located just offshore from Fort Foster and was originally positioned to protect the Portsmouth, NH harbor. The tower, built in 1872, now uses a revolving DCB-224 airport-style beacon. The keeper's quarters are integrated into the tower. For the best view, head to Fort Foster Park.
2. Nubble Light, Cape Neddick
Nubble Light was built in 1879 and is the southernmost of our lighthouses. The name refers to the rocky island on which it sits, just off shore. It flashes red every six seconds, and is visible for 13 miles. Electricity didn't come to Cape Neddick until 1938. Before then, the extremely cold wind caused numerous problems to the flow of oil to the light's lamp. For the best view, head to the end of Nubble Rd. in York. There is a park with a clear view of the Nubble just off shore.
3. Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth
Portland Head has the distinction of being Maine's oldest lighthouse. Completed in January 1791, the original tower stood at 72 feet and was made of rubblestone and lime. One of the most notable features of the historic tower is its many changes in height. Between the years of 1813 and 1881, the tower was lowered and raised by about 20' 4 times! The only significant change since then came in 1989, when the previous light was removed and replaced with an airport-style revolving beacon.
Portland Head is also known for its ties to Maine's dear poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was here that he wrote his beloved poem, "The Lighthouse."
4. Cape Elizabeth Light, Cape Elizabeth
Don't get too comfortable, your next stop is just down the road! Cape Elizabeth Light is Maine's most powerful! Cape Elizabeth Light's history begins in 1828 when two stone towers were in operation very near each other. In 1874 the two stone towers were replaced with 65 foot cast iron towers and were fitted with second-order fresnel lenses. In 1924 the Two Lights western tower was decommissioned.
Today Cape Elizabeth's light is a 4 million candlepower flashing white light visible for 27 miles.
5. Pemaquid Point Light, Bristol
Originally built in 1827 during the presidency of John Quicy Adams, the tower fell victim to accelerated deterioration as a result of some faulty construction. It was rebuilt with double walls in 1835. While the tower is only 38 ft tall, its location on a rock ledge gives the light a 79 ft. focal plane. Flashing a white light every 6 seconds, Pemaquid's light is visible for 14 miles.
Pemaquid has seen its fair share of disaster. One story has been told of a man who sailed for the new world in 1635 on the Angel Gabriel, leaving his wife behind to follow him when he had established a new home. The Angel Gabriel was wrecked during an August storm. Although the man survived, his wife was afraid to follow him on such a perilous journey, and he was unable to face the journey back to England, so they never saw each other again.
6. Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde
Here's the one that film buffs will love! Built in 1823, you may recognize Marshal Point from the blockbuster film, "Forrest Gump." Port Clyde has long been an artist’s retreat and the light at Marshall Point still serves as a classroom for art workshops. The 31-foot tower and light were automated in 1981.
7. LimeRock Inn, Rockland
By now you're probably a little tuckered out. Take a break and spend the night in Rockland. We recommend the LimeRock Inn. But, be ready for some potential spooky sights! Originally owned by a local Rockland doctor, the LimeRock is said to be haunted by the ghosts of former patients. They can be heard and seen going up and down the stairwell and spending quality time in the parlor. You'll find them at: 96 Limerock Street, Rockland / 207-594-2257
8. Owl's Head Light, Owl's Head
As shipping increased in Rockland due to the lime industry, it became clear that a light was necessary. One was built in 1826, but the present tower was constructed in 1852. The tower remains essentially the same as when it was built. Owl's Head is the subject of many unfortunate wreckage stories. One of the most well-known is that of the "frozen lovers" ... two people whose ship sunk at the point during the blizzard of 1850.
9. Bass Harbor Light, Southwest Harbor
Bass Harbor Light is our personal favorite! It's located within Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island and has a distinctive fourth-order red lens, dating back to 1858. Bass Harbor Head Light guards the entrance to Blue Hill Bay.
If you love Maine road trips,
check out all of our favorites to try in 2017!