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

Save

Save

Save

Comments

Lighthouses of Portsmouth and Portland Tour — 4 Comments

  1. Who with an interest in lighthouses doesn’t know of Jeremy D’Entremont’s work? It must have been fabulous actually to be able to go on a tour with him. I can see where Jeff was able to stop and take great photos as well. Thanks for this great post, Lisa!

    • Thanks, Nancy!
      Jeremy was very gracious with his time in letting Jeff take photos and letting us roam around the locations. He gives great tours!