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.
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.
Spring Point Ledge Light is known as a spark plug light for obvious reasons..
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.
Also seen out past Portland Head Light is Ram Island Ledge Light.
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.
Cape Porpoise is a colorful, quintessential harbor town.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.