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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.