Do you know about these fascinating Maine lighthouses?
“Maine embraces all that is authentic, unique and simple, and Mainers take pride in enjoying the wide-open spaces of the state’s deep woods and vibrant coastline. They find inspiration in the natural world to incorporate into their everyday activities – from the straightforward preparation of the perfect lobster roll to the world-renowned craftsmanship of their boats.” ~ Visit USA
The iconic lighthouses that line the coast and shine from islands are as ever-present in Maine as lobster. There are 65 lighthouses in the state and at least 60 are still operating, casting their warning lights over the sea each night, their foghorns sounding through the mist. Maine’s lighthouse history goes back centuries; the first lighthouse ever commissioned by George Washington in 1791 was the Portland Head Light and still is a working beacon.
Today, while lighthouses no longer play the same vital role in maritime safety as in the past, the U.S. Coast Guard maintains more than 60 working lights along Maine’s coast, but preserving the historic structures that house them is frequently the role of local municipal and non-profit organizations that want to protect this link to Maine’s maritime heritage. The Coast Guard has transferred more than 30 of Maine’s historic lighthouse structures into the hands of these organizations under the Maine Lighthouse Program, a pilot program established to preserve these historic structures, now coming up on its 20th anniversary. The Maine Lighthouse Program became the model for the National Lighthouse Preservation Program in 2000, which has preserved more than 120 lighthouses across the country.
While there are many lighthouses accessible regularly, some are closed to the public except for one single day every year — the second Saturday in September. On September 9, 2017, at least 23 lighthouses will be open to the public on Maine Open Lighthouse Day. Sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, this annual event attracts 18,000 visitors.
Viewing lighthouses from the water is a magical experience with many companies offering lighthouse cruises, such as Finestkind in Ogunquit, Portland Land & Sea Tours in Portland, and the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. sailing in Frenchman Bay.
One truly unique way to get to experience a lighthouse firsthand is to stay at one. There are some lighthouses that are now B&B’s or vacation rentals in Maine, where guests can stay in the keeper’s house and see what it would have been like to live by the sea or on a tiny private island.
Another way to experience a lighthouse up close will be at the Maine Maritime Museum. Following the grand opening of “Into the Lantern: A Lighthouse Experience”, visitors are able to enter a full-scale replication of the Cape Elizabeth Two Lights lighthouse tower lantern room and see the original second-order Fresnel lens from the east tower at Two Lights while experiencing the environment of the lantern room through time-lapsed video projections. This exhibit will be the first of its kind anywhere.
Learn more about Maine’s majestic beacons at visitmaine.com.
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Tracy Burrows142 Posts
If there is one thing that I have learnt, it is the more I see, the more there is to see! My name is Tracy Burrows and I am the managing editor of Out There Global, a community driven travel platform for both cost effective and luxury travel ideas around the world. From Jan 2014 - Dec 2016 I managed the LatestSightings.com blog (a United Nations World Summit Award Winner: Culture & Tourism 2016 & National Geographic partner). I was also consulting editor at MOZambique Magazine, and contributor at Sawubona. Prior to my career I obtained a tourism marketing degree, and graduated from a 2 year 'Hospitality Management in Development Program' in California. Following this I acquired a journalism diploma and since it's been all about travel and writing! And my nourishment from all those who have impacted me: family; friends; and strangers alike. Thank you for joining our journey!