Friday, December 17, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
This riverfront jewel offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from spacious water view rooms with private balconies to unique Lighthouse suites with panoramic views of the Pagan River. The location allows convenient access to many recreational options – the newly opened Windsor Castle Park across the street, provides 4.5 miles of pristine walking trails. There is something for everyone at Smithfield Station.
This is not an actual historic lighthouse but it sure looks like one, and Smithfield Station is certainly an enticing vacation destination. Click here for more information.
A Unique Holiday Gift Idea
By Jutta Stingl
Are your still looking for a special holiday gift for someone on your list?
How about giving someone the unique experience of a night on an island in the San Francisco Bay this holiday season? Included in their stay, your friends and family will enjoy appetizers, champagne, and a multi-course gourmet dinner prepared and served by gracious hosts. And you will also give your friends and family wonderful memories of a one-of-a-kind getaway.
Avoid traffic jams and crowded shopping malls; you can order gift certificates online at www.ebls.org, and it will be mailed to you within a couple of days.
Please keep in mind that not only will you surprise someone with a special present, but you will also support our ongoing effort to restore and maintain a historical treasure in San Francisco Bay.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
New Dungeness Light Station is the gem of the Pacific Northwest. We first discovered this as we hiked the 5½ miles from the parking lot to the Light Station. This beach hike on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington was magnificent, filling our senses with the smell of salt water and our sights with gulls and harbor seals guarding the longest natural sand spit in the U.S.
At the end of the spit we experienced not only a beautiful light station but one that was manned by volunteer keepers year round. After we climbed the tower and learned about the history from the outstanding exhibits, we spoke to a keeper about becoming a member so that we could be eligible to volunteer as a keeper.
The rest is history. Our experiences staying as Keepers at New Dungeness Light Station have been unbelievable. Since we are coming from out of state, we and the other Colorado keepers, George Scholz, Kay Seiler and Nancy Baker, always stay in Sequim the night before to pick up groceries for the week. We have planned our menus and will be taking turns sampling one another’s excellent cuisine throughout the week. Of course, we need to be sure to have enough as there is no pizza delivery on the spit!
In the morning, we leave our car at the transfer station and ride in the Association’s 4-wheel drive vehicles that take us and our supplies at low tide via the beach to the Light Station. We almost always see deer as we leave the forest and lots of wildlife on the spit that is part of a protected wildlife refuge.
As we approach the Light Station we encounter a sign, “Welcome to Serenity. Reality 5 Miles Back.” Once at the Light Station we unload our provisions and the other keepers load theirs in the vehicles for the trip back. We are welcomed to NDLS and immediately become keepers.The orientation and safety video we viewed before we arrived helped us as we greeted our first visitors. We are left in charge of the station and the adventure begins.
The Keeper’s Quarters are wonderful. Before we enter, we change our shoes to indoor ones so as not to scratch the beautiful hardwood floors. This house, over 100 years old, is in excellent condition with all the comforts of home—a well equipped kitchen, satellite television and wi fi (who has time for this?), a library, pool table, lots of games and very, very comfortable accommodations.
The upstairs bedrooms provide great views. In the Tower Room you can lie in bed at night and see the light in the tower. Across the hall in the Baker Room, you awake to many sights and sounds of the wildlife refuge.
The lighthouse tower is 63 feet tall so you have only 74 steps to climb to reach the top.
The view from the top is breathtaking, as are most of the scenes we experience around the Light Station throughout the week—a photographer’s dream.
As lighthouse keepers, we have a few duties that are to be performed each day.
They include raising and lowering the flag, giving tours up the tower and sharing the history of the Light Station with visitors, cleaning the brass and windows in the lantern room, watering the grass, and cleaning the public restroom at the end of the day.
Once a week you must cut the grass, and then, before you are picked up for your return back to “reality,” you make sure the keeper’s quarters are clean and ready for the next set of keepers.
The head keep, or manager of the Station, will leave a list of other duties to be done if you wish.
Yes, it is a working vacation, but you are contributing to the maintenance and care of this historical treasure. Without the volunteer keepers the Light Station would probably be in shambles.
We have stayed in the summer where we have photographed all kinds of birds, most recently a mother duck with nine ducklings.
Some people prefer staying in the winter where the lively surf and dramatic storms are part of their week.
Since the spit is a wildlife refuge we never know what we will encounter. Once when we stayed we woke up to deer in the yard which we understand is unusual for them to venture all the way down the spit.
Bald eagles are always present flying around or near the Station looking for their next meal. One time we counted 17 eagles perched along the shoreline.
Meeting the many visitors that venture out either by hiking the spit or kayaking across Dungeness Bay is another bonus.
We have met people from around the world and even encountered visitors surprisingly from our own hometown.
Watching the maritime traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca is an adventure. We have seen many container ships, cruise ships, nuclear submarines, U.S. Naval and Coast Guard ships, and small craft.
The serenity and the experience of a bygone era are two reasons most people are attracted to New Dungeness Light Station. You are tending and caring for a site that is over 150 years old. Suddenly you become part of the history of the New Dungeness Light Station.
By joining the New Dungeness Light Station Association we have helped keep the lighthouse alive and staffed by volunteer keepers.
As members, besides being eligible to become a keeper for a week, we are helping to contribute to the preservation, maintenance and renovation of the Lighthouse, Keeper's Quarters and outbuildings which are entirely the responsibility of the non-profit New Dungeness Light Station Association.
Our donations, dues and Keeper fees help toward these costs. For more information on this unique experience check out the website, www.newdungenesslighthouse.com
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The lighthouse is near the east entrance to the canal (called the Portage River) that runs through the Keweenaw Peninsula. The canal was not originally completely open, but was dredged for shipping purposes to open it up in the 1800s.
Over the years the canal was dredged and straightened to allow larger vessels to pass through, helping the area to develop as a center for the copper industry. It is still a ship canal today; ships up to 700 feet in length come through to escape gales on the lake and to deliver road salt and gravel.
Jacobsville, now a ghost town, was a quarry town in the 1800s. The establishment of the lighthouses on the Keweenaw Peninsula was due to lobbying by the copper industry. Jacbsville Lighthouse served a dual purpose, as it guided ships to the river entrance for copper and rock quarry operations. Jacobsville sandstone was re used in the construction of many structures all over the world. Most of the town is gone now, except for a few houses and an 1888 restored church and an old one-room schoolhouse.
Cheri and Mike Ditty have extensive cruising experience on Lake Superior, and they enjoy sharing stories and information about Lake Superior and its history. Their photos, taken over 25 years, are available to view and purchase.
For more information about this remote and beautiful B&B, go to the Jacobsville Lighthouse Inn website.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Goose Rocks Lighthouse, in the Fox Islands Thorofare in Maine, is the only offshore "sparkplug" type lighthouse in the U.S. that is available for overnight stays. The lighthouse is owned and managed by Beacon Preservation. Click here to learn all about this exciting opportunity, and to check availability.
I just heard from Ginger Allison, a volunteer at the Maine Lighthouse Museum who has spent a night at Goose Rocks. Here's what she wrote:
I loved my stay. It was great sitting on the catwalk sipping wine and watching wildlife and passing ships. Casey Jordan and family/friends have done an awesome job decorating. Everything is comfortable. I even slept ten hours in a warm, toasty bed. I volunteer at the Lighthouse Museum in Rockland and Casey has a wonderful display there. I make sure all the people I take around stop and check it out and also tell them what a great place it is to stay. I hope they are wonderfully successful. -- Ginger Allison
Sunday, February 7, 2010
East Brother Lighthouse in San Francisco, California, is a beautifully restored Victorian Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast Inn perched atop an island in the strait that separates San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. From the island, visitors take in the spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, Mount Tamalpais, and the Marin coastline. The Inn began operations over 26 years ago as a means of earning money for upkeep of the restored lighthouse and facilities. Here are some items from the newsletter of the East Brother Light Station. Thanks to Jutta Stingl for passing them along!
The Race Is On
Several local yacht clubs host events that take dozens of boats around the North Bay, occasionally coming so close to East Brother Light Station that you'd think you could hop on one for a quick loop around. These sleek ships are quite a sight as they quietly shoot past the islands with their full, multi-colored spinnakers pulling them along, or as they tack through the wind and heel over dramatically.
Tiburon Yacht Club will hold its last two Midwinter Regattas on February 13th and March 13th, which sometimes come very close to East Brother Light Station. The most spectacular race to watch from the island every year is the Great Vallejo Race from the Vallejo Yacht Club. In 2010, it will be held on May 1st and May 2nd.
Landscaping Project Update
Over the past couple of months, we've been working hard to redesign the landscaping and have built raised beds with rocks and soil that our volunteers hauled to the island. In November, we finally started the fun part of our project that we've been waiting for - the planting. Under the supervision of our landscape designer Diane Bloom, we planted native, drought-tolerant plants that will get established over the rainy season and enhance the beauty of the island.
Since our funds for landscaping are limited, we'd like to express our gratitude to The Watershed Nursery, a native plant nursery in Richmond, who supported us with a generous donation of plants and great advice. Information about The Watershed Nursery is available on-line. We'd also like to thank Oaktown Nursery in Alameda for another generous donation of native plants.
Many of you saw our work in progress; now we invite you to come and visit us again to enjoy what we created as our plants mature.
Free Romance Package
To extend the festivities, we have turned Valentine's Day into Valentine's Month. Book a reservation for any day and room in February, and we will have a free Romance Package waiting in your room upon your arrival. The Romance Package includes one bottle of chilled Domaine Chandon, 2 signature glasses, and a box of Belgian chocolates (value $72.00). Offer valid with new reservations only.
Please mention "Valentine's Special" at time of booking.
|Offer Expires: February 28, 2010|
Click here for more on the East Brother Light Station.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Here is a wonderful photo sent to me by Ed English of the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn in Newfoundland, Canada. And below is a brief but amazing video clip that goes well with the photo.
The London Free Press called the Lighthouse Inn at Quirpon Island "a cozy, secluded outpost that seems as if it's perched at the edge of the world."
Click here for more on the inn.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Two of the keeper's residences are available as vacation rentals.
Photo: North Head Lighthouse at Twilight, SW Coast, Washington
Originally uploaded on Flickr by Tony the Misfit (taking a break)
January 23, 2010
For those drawn to the history and mystery of lighthouses, a lighthouse keepers program provides for overnight, even weeklong, stays in one.
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, 9 miles north of Northport on Lake Michigan, is seeking lighthouse keepers.
Keepers, who live in the lighthouse apartment for one or two weeks, greet visitors, run the gift shop and perform minor grounds maintenance.
The program runs April-November and costs $220 per person per week. A new winter keepers program, $100 per night, (up to quad occupancy) also is available. Info: (231) 386-7195.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I visited the Saugerties Lighthouse, on the Hudson River in New York, in late 2008 when I was working on my book The Lighthouse Handbook: Hudson River and New York Harbor. I was very impressed by this restored lighthouse. It's beautifully and appropriately furnished -- one of the most attractive lighthouse properties I've ever visited. It's also one of the small number of American lighthouses that offers overnight stays; see www.saugertieslighthouse.com for details.
Here's a video description on how to get to the Saugerties Lighthouse, posted by YouTube user "rnjvideo" --
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
In this video, explore the waters with Ed English as he goes kayaking by Quirpon Lighthouse Inn, right off Quirpon Island. This area is a popular destination for tourists, as it boasts the longest whale-watching and iceberg viewing season in Newfoundland and Labrador. Kayaking at Quirpon Island has been named the #1 Adventure in the world by OUTPOST!
Monday, January 11, 2010
The Middle Island Keepers' Lodge is in a former fog signal building on majestic Lake Huron, between the North Point of Thunder Bay and Presque Isle in Alpena County, Michigan. A tour of Middle Island's lighthouse is included with every stay. Click here for details.
2009 was a different kind of year. I never saw a lake rise almost two feet in a few months (let alone a Great Lake) and then recede at least one foot in the fall. I guess you could say that it was a cleansing summer with all the rain we received. So goes the Earth's natural cycles.
Middle Island Light Station did get a bit of a face lift this year, and the rain played an important part. During late July and early August, the area around the keepers' quarters was actually covered with sixty (+) yards of topsoil. "How did we get such a large amount of topsoil 2 1/2 miles from the mainland?” you ask. Lots of manpower!
The topsoil came in the form of some 1,560 forty-pound plastic bags. The bags were ferried to the island aboard Island Freighter II. Rod Olson, Jack Olson, and Larry Frantz helped for two full days as we made approximately fifteen trips. We had just enough calm waters to get the black soil moved. Waves, in the form of rollers, were wrapping around the island as we were finishing our last trips. The water depth in front of the Keepers' Lodge was shallow where we unloaded, so it is fortunate that the wind was from the south.
Once all the topsoil was over to the island, there was a sigh of relief. The fun, however, was just beginning. Some workers (four then later five) came from Hancock, Michigan, and were arriving at Rockport Harbor to hitch a ride to the island. They came to help spread the topsoil, plant grass, plant trees and flowers, etc. around Middle Island's Light Station. The landscaping materials and other supplies took an additional four trips to the island from Rockport. After five days of continuous labor, there were twenty trees planted, about thirty flowers and shrubs planted, and a lot of grass seed spread. It was a successful week with no real hitches. The rain held off so that we could get the job done. Later, we received numerous showers to get all the vegetation growing again. Thank you, God.
I took a skid loader to the island to extend a rock pier in front of the Keeper's Lodge. We unloaded topsoil on that pier. Including prep work, mobilization, and demobilization, the whole topsoil project took fourteen days. Many thanks are given to Rod, Jack, and Larry for helping make this project happen.
We had numerous lodge customers "tough it out" and stay the night at the lodge this summer. A group of two couples were staying the night when we were moving the topsoil to the island. They seemed to like watching the activity and even helped out a bit. A family from Waterford, Michigan, had proven that the cormorants did not eat all the fish around the island. They caught at least three good sized small mouth bass by the life saving station. They took lots of pictures. I think that family had a great time. That was the third time this nice family from Waterford made it to the island. Don't forget to bring your poles, and take advantage of the free boat usage as well!
Another suggestion I would like to add: You could see a lot of interesting underwater landscape if you bring a snorkel, mask, and fins on your next trip. Wet suit is optional. The sinkhole, Portsmouth and limestone formations are very cool to look at and are all on the north side of the island. A group of SCUBA divers from the Grand Rapids area had a terrific weekend on the island this year. They enjoyed four local shipwrecks while staying two nights. I was pleasantly surprised to see more guests staying two nights (+) this year. It takes more than just one night to relax and unwind.
I do appreciate repeat customers and want to thank everyone for spreading the word about the uniqueness of Middle Island. As a token of my appreciation, I would like to give ten percent off the 2010 rates to anyone that has already stayed at the lodge. Also, new customers can stay with us any Monday-Thursday evening, and we'll give you 10% off yoru entire stay!
So book your vacation now, for the 2010 summer is bound to be a good one!
-- Capt. Mike
This new site will focus on individual stories about lighthouses with accommodations. Are you an owner or manager of a lighthouse inn? Would you like to share your personal story of staying at a lighthouse? Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.