Hurricanes do terrible damage to lighthouses. I know that lives are of far more value than lighthouses. Still I can’t help but wonder how Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the other lighthouses on the East Coat will be impacted by Hurricane Florence. It goes without saying that lighthouses are high risk real estate. The sole purpose of a lighthouse is to save lives in dangerous places.
I thought about this while finishing this article on New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans. It was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
I visited the New Canal Lighthouse during an overnight stay in New Orleans. I realize the typical tourist in New Orleans doesn’t visit a lighthouse but I was surprised when the Concierge had no knowledge of any Lighthouses in the area. In fact there were two-New Canal and Port Pontchartrain.
Undaunted I used GPS to find the lighthouse. I arrived a few hours before the lighthouse opened.
The New Canal Lighthouse resembles a house. The rebuilt lighthouse sits atop pilings to prevent storm surges like the one caused by Hurricane Katrina. The lighthouse was restored by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in 2012.
Enjoy a boat ride, explore the grounds and climb the Hillsboro Lighthouse in Pompano Beach, Florida. Join the Hillsboro Lighthouse Society’s National Lighthouse Day celebration on Saturday, August 11.
The Hillsboro Lighthouse first illuminated on March 7, 1907, completed the chain of lights which extended from Jupiter Inlet to the Torguas. The lighthouse, also called “Big Diamond” is unique. With of a beam of 28 nautical miles, it is has the strongest light beam of all US lighthouses. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.
The shuttle to the lighthouse sails in the morning at 8:15, 9:00, 9:45, 10:30 and 11:15. Pay $35 for day or purchase yearlong membership for the same price. For more information, visit Hillsboro Lighthouse.
Tybee Island Lighthouse
Today is National Lighthouse Day. Share a photo to support lighthouses by using #NationalLighthouseDay.
Recognizing the importance of lighthouses, President George Washington signed an Act for the establishment and support of Lighthouses on August 7, 1789. The federal government assumed responsibility for all lighthouses in the United States. Secretary of Treasurer Alexander Hamilton oversaw the act.
According to the Navy League, no industry has been more vital to the economy of the United States than that of America’s maritime industry. Lighthouses was once the cornerstone of maritime industry.
For the month of August, I will be celebrating National Lighthouse Day with discounts on my lighthouse art at the boutique store Made in Jax at the Jacksonville International Airport.
Save big on my Gliclee prints at the airport. Gliclee (zhee-KLAY) is a museum quality investment that uses acid free watercolor paper, and pigment based archival inks. This insures that Gliclees never fade, degrade or yellow. Unlike a print that may fade, a 6 color ink jet process ensures a Gliclee retains its original luster.
Granted Nantucket is known as an upscale resort with pricey hotels. The visitors read like a who’s who list from Fortune 500. Despite of all the pricey obstacles, I was lured by the four lighthouses. I was also intrigued about staying at a historic building. Star of the Sea Hostel in Nantucket was once a Life Saving Station. It had been a part of the United States Life Saving Service.
I admit to being reluctant about staying at this hostel. I mean I didn’t know to expect when I booked two nights for $80. That wasn’t exactly the going rate in Nantucket. Yet, I recalled saving a bundle of cash and being happy when I stayed at the dorms at historic Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and Suffolk University in Boston. But a dorm with 32 bunk beds didn’t seem very inviting. I wondered about privacy and the bathrooms.
But the excitement of staying where the Keepers would look for shipwrecks was persuasive. There are steps to the lookou in the women’s dorm where I would be sleeping. I finally voted in favor of the lookout, lighthouses and my pocketbook when I read all the positive reviews.
Once I checked into the hostel all my concerns evaporated. The furnishings were modern and well kept. The bathroom had a private door.
My bunk was on the bottom in a quiet corner of the dorm. The first night the dorm was packed. But at night the dorm was quiet because everyone observed the quiet hours from 10 pm to 7 am. I watched a movie with the free wifi and put my phone on silent.
In the morning there was a light complimentary breakfast with cereal, coffee and assorted breads. For those who want to prepare a heavier meal, there’s a fully equipped kitchen with dishes, pots and more.
My second evening at the hostel was extremely quiet as most of the quests had checked out. During my stay, three ladies were kind enough to befriend me and invite me to sit at their table. I learned from them that there are cabins for rent in addition to the beds in the female dorm. They also taught me the truth of hostel’s motto: “There are no strangers only friends you haven’t met.”
The cruise to Nantucket from Martha’s Vineyard was smooth and uneventful. The Hy-Line cruise ship passed by Brant Point Lighthouse on the way to the port. After debarking, I stopped by the Visitors Center on the dock, got a map and walked to Brant Point.
As I walked to the new lighthouse, I saw the old lighthouse. I was surprised that Old Brant Point was part of an active Coast Guard Station and well kept. I had expected it to be abandoned and neglected. Although the Fresnel Lens is removed the lighthouse, the complex was very compelling. A keepers dwelling and pair of tall range lights make this lighthouse unique.
The original or old Brant Point Lighthouse was established in 1746. It was the second oldest lighthouse in the United States. There have been eight lighthouses called “Brant Point Lighthouse.” Most were destroyed by fire. The eighth lighthouse was made of concrete. Old Brant Point Lighthouse was deactivated in 1901.
The next day, I caught the first bus to Downtown Nantucket and the second one to the village of Sconset. My final destination, Sankaty Lighthouse was 2 miles away at Siasconset Beach. I walked to the lighthouse and sketched it for over an hour.
After catching the bus back to downtown, I stopped by East Street Cantina and Stop and Shop. I had such a pleasant experience with Clyde the cab driver, I decided to take another one of his cabs driven by his wife for the ride back to the hostel. She answered a few lingering questions I had about the island.
The nights were peaceful at Star of the Sea hostel. Everyone abided by the quiet curfew from 10 pm-7 am. During my final night, I had only had a few summer campers as my bunk mates.
The serenity of the hostel is reflective of the island. The island was designated a national landmark in the 50s. A commission actively limits construction to ensure that the island is homogeneous and uniform. Almost all the houses have cedar shingles. The cobble stoned streets in the Historic District hail from an earlier era. There are boutique shops, restaurants and museums to explore. Since Nantucket was once the Whaling Capital of the world, there’s a fascinating Whaling Museum. I bought a few souvenirs from the gift shop on my final day.
When I returned from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard, my cousin and his mom greeted me at the dock and asked about my trip. It’s the best one I can remember, I replied. My escape to Nantucket delivered more than I expected. The quaint resort and peaceful island was relaxing and a welcome reprieve.