A Two-lighthouse Day

Owl's Head Light

We headed out Sunday to see the ocean and a light house. Since Kelly hadn’t ever been to Maine and the Maine coast being my favorite thing, it was a cinch to decide to head eastward.

First stop, Owl’s Head Light near Thomaston, Maine. Thomaston, by the way, is one of my favorite childhood memories. We used to visit this adorable vintage Maine town with the white homes on either side of Route 1 and where the Maine State Penitentiary used to be. Connected to the state prison, there was the prison store. My brothers and I loved visiting there to purchase some little trinket carved by the inmates (and there were real inmates at the cashier’s desk with armed guards). A bit of wonder and a bit of fear made this a great place to visit. They’re open every day but Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day (a couple of days in January and Maine snow days.)

Owl's Head LightBut I digress… the land for Owl’s Head Light was purchased in 1824 by a Congressional appropriation of $4,000.  Owl’s Head marks the entrance to Rockland harbor and the light was first lit by it’s first keeper in September 1825 (the project was completed for a cost of $2,707.79 … way under the appropriation. Bet that wouldn’t happen today!)

Today, you can visit the lighthouse (the keeper’s house is still standing but not open to visitors. It’s a bit of a climb into the tower but the view is worth the effort. The lens of the light is simply amazing.

A 1,000 watt hallogen bulb lights the light today

It’s a Fresnel lens which replaced the original in 1856 and it’s simply amazing. It was originally designed to turn (and has wheels) but they decided to keep it a stationary light as all the others in the area were blinking. Did you know that each lighthouse had it’s own pattern of blinks? Ayuh, they did.

From the Foot of the Tower

From the tower, the Rockland Breakwater was pointed out to us by the volunteer at the top of the tower. (It was a beautiful sunny day and it was hot up there!) She said we could walk out the mile long “jetty” (made from rubble granite) and visit the keepers house and lighthouse. SO, who could resist? Off we went.

View from the Lighthouse over the Breakwater toward shore

The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is going through a major renovation and it’s going to be a beautiful place to visit. Well, it was a beautiful place to visit and I could imagine living there as the keeper (all lighthouses in Maine today are automated.) While I think the volunteers could have designed a more professional display of the history of the lighthouse, it’s a fun visit and it’s a treat to see the keeper’s house as well as visit the tower. My camera died so I can’t share with you the views other than the two I took. One above is toward the shore over the breakwater (wear sturdy shoes for this hike) and another looking toward the Owl’s Head light across the harbor.

A visit to Rockland after our lighthouse adventure for a bit of lunch at the Rockland Cafe … where we shared a cup of their seafood chowder (yummy, especially with a dash or three of hot sauce) and ordered a couple of lobster BLTs and a “small” plate of whole belly fried clams. The BLT was tasty (the bread/roll was unoriginal) and the clams were delish. Rockland is also home to some great shops, an excellent (new location is quite a step up) coffee shop and book store (Rock City Cafe) and the fabulous Farnsworth Art Museum, home of many of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings and always a good visit!

Fun day with friends, good food, a bit of exercise and we learned a bit, too. Not typical for us but a great day in Maine!

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