Coast Guard Families Need Your Help 

Amelia Island Lighthouse, Florida

The Coast Guard is responsible for the functioning of the beacon at Amelia Island Lighthouse on Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Looking for practical ways to help those impacted by the government shutdown. Donations are needed by The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. They assist Coast Guard members and their families with unexpected financial expenses. The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not being paid during the government shutdown. All donations are appreciated. Check out the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance website for more details.

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A Damsel in Distress

Star of the Sea Youth Hostel

Star of the Sea youth hostel was formerly a life saving station.


It’s kind of ironic that I stayed at the Star of the Sea Youth Hostel in Nantucket. I really needed a reprieve from a chaotic visit to Martha’s Vineyard. The hostel was once a life saving station for distressed vessels. Now I was looking for shelter from a distressed encounter. 

Brant Point Lighthouse

Brant Point Lighthouse can be seen from the ferry.


Although the ferry ride was about a hour from Martha’s Vineyard, it felt a world away from the turmoil I had witnessed. I was happy to retreat to Nantucket for a few days of painting and quiet.

Old Brant Point Lighthouse

Most people don’t realize this a lighthouse because the lens is missing.


I had reluctantly booked a stay at the hostel. I thought the military style sleeping arrangements would not offer the peace and quiet that I needed. To my surprise there was a curfew with a time of quiet at night. 

Sankaty Lighthouse

Sankaty Lighthouse took a little maneuvering to get to.


After three days of quiet and completing 4 paintings, I felt renewed. The hostel was beautiful and I memorialized my visit by painting it. Of course the weather was windy and the water turbulent on the ferry ride back to Martha’s Vineyard. I was afraid it was an indicator of things to come. 

Surfside Life Saving Station in Nantucket, MA was established in 1874. The Life Saving Service is the precursor to today’s United States Coast Guard. It is a National Landmark.

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Wildlife Abounds at Apalachee Bay on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Entry Sign to Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Springs offers swimming, historic lodging, boat tours & more.

On the way to St. Marks Lighthouse I stopped by Wakulla Springs. For years I wanted to go to Wakulla to see the manatees. On the day of my arrival, I was told no manatees had been sighted. Still I purchased a ticket on the boat tour. Much to my delight a huge manatee swam beside me a few seconds after the tour began. Before the end of the tour, I saw 6 more manatees including 3 calves. 
A picture of a large manatee

This manatee outwitted the expert’s prediction.


The next day I headed to St. Marks. Once I arrived at St. Marks I realized I should have stayed at Crawfordville. Despite the name, Crawfordville is very lively and has much to offer like dining, shopping and pleasant hotels. There’s little see or do in St. Marks for landlubbers and the lodgings are subpar.  

A scenic view of St. Marks Wikdlife Refuge.

A scenic view of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.


After spending the night at a Bed and Breakfast Inn, I headed to St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. Besides the lighthouse, the Refuge has picnic areas, a beach, a welcome center and gift shop. I enjoyed a scenic and quiet drive to the lighthouse. The salt marsh, pine forest, egrets made for a picturesque backdrop. It’s a nature lovers paradise with eagles, alligators, bitterns, ducks, herons, ibises and more. 

Picture of St Marks Lighthouse

St. Marks Lighthouse had two female lightkeepers.


The St. Marks Lighthouse recently reopened after being closed for renovations for 6 months. It is the second oldest lighthouse surviving in Florida. It is listed on the National Register. The keeper’s house is attached to the 88 foot tower. 

Good News and Bad News

St Marks after restoration.

St. Marks after being newly restored.

Hurricane Michael brought devastating damage to the west coast of Florida. The aftermath of the hurricane brought good news and bad news for a lighthouse on the west coast that was recently restored.

 The St. Marks Lighthouse keepers quarters staircase was destroyed but water did not get inside. 
Other areas of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge sustained damage that caused the closure of roadways and damage to other facilities. (Tallahassee Democrats) 

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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. 

Hillsboro Lighthouse Celebrates National Lighthouse Day

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

Beacons of the High Seas

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.