Short on Lighthouses 

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, New Hampshire

Portsmouth Harbor is located on Fort Constitution.


I didn’t know New Hampshire had the shortest ocean coastline of any coastal state in the United States before touring the state in search of lighthouses. We drove through Fort Constitution to view the lighthouse built in 1871. I should have been excited instead of disappointed. I thought there would be more lighthouses in New Hampshire on the tour. After I looked at the New Hampshire map and saw the 13 mile coastline, I was more delighted with the lighthouse stop at Portsmouth Harbor. 

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I’m a little lighthouse short and stout

A picture of Brant Point Lighthouse.

Brant Point Lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse in New England.


After painting Florida’s towering lighthouses, I was startled when I first encountered New England’s stout lighthouses. After having painted two on Martha’s Vineyard, I smiled when I approached Nantucket’s little Brant Point Lighthouse. It is New England’s shortest lighthouse and the site of America’s second oldest lighthouse. The current lighthouse was built in 1901. 

Lighthouses Built to be in Harm’s Way 

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. 

TGIF: The stars make no noise at Ireland’s Blackhead Lighthouse

Sunset at Blackhead

Sunset at Blackhead Lighthouse in Ireland.

Hailed as one of the great lighthouses in Ireland, Blackhead Lighthouse is perched high on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Belfast Lough.

I stayed at Blackhead Lighthouse during John Eagle’s Northern Ireland Lighthouse tour. Sitting on the porch one moonlit night, my hearted pulsed with the beam of the lighthouse as it swirled quietly in the darkness.

Warning off perils ahead and nearby, Blackhead Lighthouse faithfully stands guard. While the lighthouse has saved countless lives, it stood watch as the Titanic tragically passed by on its final journey.

My stay at Blackhead Lighthouse was the highlight of the tour. As I stepped into my bedroom, I was delighted to see a self portrait of one of my favorite artists,  Albrecht Durer, hanging on the wall. My room had a fire place and a magnificent view of the ocean.

Almost every room at Blackhead had a fire place including the restroom. Today we consider a fireplace in every room a luxury but in times past it was a necessity as it was the only source of heat.

Sunset at Blackhead

Sunrise at Blackhead Lighthouse.

We stayed at Blackhead three days and two nights. I made the most of my stay. I witnessed a blazing sunrise, glorious sunset and quiet moonlight while sitting on the porch of Blackhead Lighthouse.

Yes, the stars make no noise as the Irish quote goes. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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