Lighthouses of Portsmouth and Portland Tour

We were very fortunate to take a lighthouse tour with Jeremy D’Entremont, author, historian, “New England’s foremost lighthouse authority,” and our tour guide. Although we had visited many of these lighthouses in the past, Jeremy gave us insight on the historical aspects of the lighthouses, the lighthouse keepers, and their families.

Early in the morning, we met Jeremy in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Jeremy is a gracious host, letting us know that waters and snacks were in the back of the van.

We headed out for South Portland, Maine, and our first couple of stops were two small lighthouses, previously unknown to us, the Portland Breakwater Light and Spring Point Ledge Light.

Portland Breakwater Light, a “bug” light, is unusual in that it is very ornate with crenation along the top and Grecian columns.

Portland Breakwater Light, South Portland, Maine

Portland Breakwater Light, South Portland, Maine

The other interesting fact about this location, Bug Light Park, is that it was a shipyard during WWII.  200 vessels, Liberty Ships, were built at this location.  The Liberty Ship Memorial is quite impressive, basically a hull of one of the Liberty ships that were sent to England to help in the war effort.

Liberty Ships Memorial, South Portland, Maine

Liberty Ships Memorial, South Portland, Maine

One of the interpretive signs at the Liberty Ships Memorial, South Portland, Maine

One of the interpretive signs at the Liberty Ships Memorial, South Portland, Maine

Spring Point Ledge Light is known as a spark plug light for obvious reasons..

Spring Point Ledge Light, South Portland, Maine

Spring Point Ledge Light, South Portland, Maine

From the vantage point at the remnants of an old fort, Fort Preble, a couple of other forts in the harbor can be viewed, Fort Gorges, and privately owned Fort Scammel on House Island.

Then it was off to one of Maine’s best known lighthouses, Portland Head Light which is actually in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  There is now a museum in the former keeper’s house.

Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Also seen out past Portland Head Light is Ram Island Ledge Light.

Ram Island Ledge Light, Portland Maine

Ram Island Ledge Light, Portland Maine

Cape Elizabeth Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

East Light and Keeper’s House, Cape Elizabeth Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

West Light, Cape Elizabeth Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

West Light, Cape Elizabeth Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Also in the area, are a couple of obscure lights called the Cape Elizabeth Two Lights. Two lights were built to differentiate them from other lights in the area.  The east light by the keeper’s house is still in use, but the west light and the keeper’s house are privately owned, so the lights are not readily accessible.

Lunch was incredible at The Good Table Restaurant in Cape Elizabeth. Their moniker is ‘good, honest food’ and they deliver, using as much locally produced ingredients as possible.

 

We took an extra leg on our journey to  a section of Kennebunkport, Maine called Cape Porpoise, passing the Bush compound along the way.  Jeremy took us to view Goat Island Lighthouse which is not always part of his regular tour.  Goat Island is a half mile off shore and is easily viewed from shore.

Goat Island Lighthouse, Cape Porpoise, Maine

Goat Island Lighthouse, Cape Porpoise, Maine

Cape Porpoise is a colorful, quintessential harbor town.

Bevy of Buoys at Cape Porpoise, Maine

Bevy of Buoys at Cape Porpoise, Maine

On we traveled to another very well documented lighthouse, Cape Neddick Lighthouse, or better known as Nubble Light in York, Maine.  We have visited this lighthouse numerous times, but we learned about some of the keepers from Jeremy, making the stop worthwhile.  (And the ice cream at Fox’s.)

Cape Neddick "Nubble" Lighthouse, York, Maine

Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse, York, Maine

Our last stop was Portsmouth Harbor Light in New Castle, New Hampshire.  We realized we had probably met Jeremy before at an open house at this light that we had attended years ago.

Portsmouth Harbor Light, New Castle, New Hampshire

Portsmouth Harbor Light, New Castle, New Hampshire

Along with the lighthouse is Fort Constitution, and from that viewpoint you can see the other forts in the area, Fort Foster and Fort McLeary, both in Kittery, Maine.  Much like Portland, it was a well fortified harbor.

View of Fort Constitution from top of Portsmouth Harbor Light, New Castle, New Hampshire

View of Fort Constitution from top of Portsmouth Harbor Light, New Castle, New Hampshire

Also in the distance, you will be able to view Whaleback Light in the harbor.  Whaleback Light is at the mouth of the Piscataqua River between New Castle, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine.

Whaleback Light, New Castle, New Hampshire/Kittery, Maine

Whaleback Light, New Castle, New Hampshire/Kittery, Maine

And here we ended our tour.  We want to thank Jeremy D’Entremont, and if you want to know more about taking this tour or one of his other tours, or a listing of his available books, click here to go to his website.

I hope you enjoyed our lighthouse tour.

Lisa

Inside the Portsmouth Light, New Castle, New Hampshire

Inside the Portsmouth Light, New Castle, New Hampshire

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Connecticut River Culture

A beautiful summer day for a road trip…..now, where to go?  We finally crossed off a destination that has been on my bucket list for a couple of years.  We scouted out the place last fall, but I wanted to explore Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in all its summer glory, with formal flower gardens in bloom.

Peonies in the gardens

Peonies in the gardens

Poppies in bloom in the garden

Poppies in bloom in the garden

Saint-Gaudens is located in Cornish, New Hampshire, along the Connecticut River, just north of the longest covered bridge in New England, the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, so it makes for a great day trip to see both.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a sculptor who summered at the location and in his final years it became his permanent residence, naming it Aspet after his father’s home town in France.  The house itself is a vision, with its wide veranda looking out to the forest and Mt. Ascutney in Windsor, Vermont.

Mt Ascutney from Aspet's veranda

Mt Ascutney from
Aspet’s veranda

All you need is an iced tea

All you need is an iced tea

Aspet's Veranda

The Veranda

Entrance of Aspet

Entrance to Aspet

Aside from the main house, there are several exhibit buildings, each with their own charm.

Gallery Closed for the Day

Gallery Closed for the Day

In the Studio-Sherman's Horse

In the Studio-Sherman’s Horse

The stable hand is expecting a guest

In the stable hand’s quarters-he’s expecting a guest

 

Atrium of Gallery

Atrium and Pool at the Gallery

Saint-Gaudens sculpted many public works of art.  You may recognize a few of his sculptures without knowing the artist.The Shaw Memorial is a bronze relief located at Beacon Street, on the edge of Boston Common.

Shaw Memorial

Shaw Memorial

It depicts Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, an all African American volunteer regiment during the Civil War marching down Beacon Street on May 28, 1863.  This monument took him 14 years to complete.  The original was cast in 1900, the one at the historic site cast in 1997. This life-sized cast is impressive in its detail.

Lifelike Detail of the Shaw Memorial

Lifelike Detail of the Shaw Memorial

I recommend the 1989 movie, “Glory” which tells the tail of this famous regiment.

The sculpture, “Abraham Lincoln: the Man” also known as “The Standing Lincoln” is a statue that was located in Lincoln Park in Chicago.  On June 26th 2016, it will be unveiled at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, returning to where it was created.  From the website, it states, “Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son, remarked that Saint-Gaudens’s monument was the very best of the many Lincoln likenesses he had ever seen.”  This is a miniature version of the sculpture in the lobby of the Visitor’s Center.

Saint-Gaudens National Park-Standing Lincoln Minature Sculpture

Miniature of Standing Lincoln Sculpture

This is a bust of General William Sherman. His last public work of art was the General Sherman Monument in Central Park, New York which can be seen here.   (The horse head shown above is part of this sculpture)

Bust of General Sherman

Bust of General Sherman

He also did many bas-relief portraits.  My favorite is of Robert Louis Stevenson

Example of Bass Relief-Robert Louis Stevenson

Example of Bas-Relief-Robert Louis Stevenson

The inscription reads, ” Give us grace and strength to forebear and persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.  Bless us if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors.
If it may not, give us strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril,
constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath,
and in all changes of fortune,
and down to the gates of death,
loyal and loving
to each other.”

Besides Saint-Gaudens sculptures, there are sculptures and art of other artists. When we visited, the artist. Kirsten Hassenfeld, was being featured in one of the galleries.

Lighted Sculpture of Kirsten Hassenfeld

Lighted Sculpture of Kirsten Hassenfeld

There is also an artist in residence who will answer questions about the process of creating sculptures.

There are flower gardens with water features, and nature trails to explore, making it a peaceful experience for any who enjoy art, history and nature.

Path through the Birches

Path through the Birches

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Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts
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A young child remarked, “In Massachusetts they have a special holiday just for their football team”!!! Actually, if New Englanders could work that out, they probably would. In recent years it’s called Superbowl Sunday… 🙂 This Patriot’s Day that we refer … Continue reading

Day Trip to Kittery Maine

Day Trip to Maine

March is here and cabin fever hit so Lisa and I needed a day trip. We decided that a run up the coast to Kittery, Maine was just the ticket.

Kittery, Maine is a great spot because our favorite store, The Kittery Trading Post is there. I love to make a trip there to buy my Merrell shoes and Northface fleece shirts and everything outdoorsy that you could ever want. It’s right on Route 1, just off exit 3.

Kittery trading post from Google Maps

Kittery Trading Post from Google Maps

After shopping, we decided to get lunch and while there are several places to eat in Kittery, we decided to drive up a short way on Route 1 to York, Maine. We thought we might be too early for the Golden Rod, or too many other places to be open, and we were right.

I talked to a passer-by who had a take out container and she let us know that across the street and down by the water, the Union Bluff Hotel had a restaurant that was open.  We had a chance to visit a place we would otherwise pass up.

Union Bluff Hotel

Union Bluff hotel, york Maine

Union Bluff Hotel

The Union Bluff Hotel has been on this part of York Beach (8 Beach Street) since 1868. It appears to be in great shape and they have been remodeling when we stopped in. Our goal was “The Pub”. We had about a 15 minute wait and we took our flashing, vibrating thingy outside to sit in some Adirondack chairs by the beach.

Union Bluff hotel, The Pub menu

Union Bluff Hotel, The Pub menu

The day was bright but the wind off the water made us glad to head back inside when  we were buzzed.  We picked a table that had a view of the water.

Union Bluff hotel, The Pub menu

Union Bluff Pub, Blue cheese burger

The menu tells the story of the hotel in a few short words and we poured over the menu.  Lisa chose the fried haddock sandwich with sweet potato fries and I had a Blue Cheese burger with the onion fries.

It took a while, but given that they were packed, I’ll give them a break on this. The sandwiches were decently sized and I first tried my “onion fries”. They sent my mouth into orbit, providing a mild (for me) mayo and horseradish sauce to accompany the onion fries (rings cut in quarters and deep fried that way).

Union Bluff pub, Haddock sandwich

Union Bluff Pub, Haddock sandwich

They were superb and I sunk my teeth into the medium rare burger with chunk blue cheese (I prefer mine a a generous slice so the chunks don’t fall out, but the blue was nicely flavored. The burger was very juicy so don’t sit back to enjoy or you’ll take a bath in the juices.

Lisa also highly enjoyed her fried haddock sandwich. It was generous in it’s cut and thickness. Her sweet potato fries were also, as she says, tasty.

My only problem was that it was so good, I couldn’t stop. I wiped up all the rings, the sandwich and of course, the pickle and had to waddle out. I shouldn’t eat so much, but I guess that is a good mark for the place when I’m not willing to quit!

Union Bluff public beach

Short Sands Beach

We paid and walked out along the beach to the parking lot, and then the ride home. I wish I’d had the energy to stop at Nubble  (Cape Neddick) Lighthouse which is only a mile and a half down the road. (just follow the signs) but we were too stuffed.

Maybe next time.

Jeff and Lisa Folger
The Four Corners of New England
Visit Jeff’s Fine Art Gallery