Category Archives: Holidays

Whaleback Ledge Lighthouse Thanksgiving


Recently, Dirk Kempthorne, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, approved the National Park Service’s recommendation to transfer ownership of Whaleback Lighthouse to the American Lighthouse Foundation, the key New England volunteer organization responsible for saving and preserving twenty Lighthouse Treasures.

The 50-foot high granite Lighthouse actively guards the entrance to the Piscataqua River and marks the approach to Portsmouth Harbor. Both the Beacon and Fog Signal will be maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The historic Lighthouse structure will be restored and preserved by the teamwork of the American Lighthouse Foundation and their local chapter, the Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse.

We are thankful that another New England Treasure has been saved and this distinctive coastal icon will be preserved for everyone to visit someday in the near future.

*Lighthouse Background:
For historic, Lighthouse Cruises, and travel information about Whaleback Ledge Lighthouse, please click on the photo of this post.

*Map Location:
For Map Directions, please visit the Google Map of Whaleback Ledge Light

Related Past Posts:

Related News Source:
Whaleback Lighthouse Receives New Keepers, November 18, 2008

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Happy Halloween from Fort Pickering Lighthouse

© Debbie Dolphin

Fort Pickering

Fort Pickering Lighthouse is one of five Lighthouses actively guiding navigation through Salem Sound into Salem Harbor. Fort Pickering Light commemorates the lively maritime heritage of Winter Island when a Fort defended the harbor, a Lighthouse guarded shipping interests, and an Air Station protected New England waters. Fort Pickering and the former Air Station are on the grounds of Winter Island Maritime Park, a seasonal RV & Tent Campsite which overlooks Fort Pickering Lighthouse.

The Schooner Fame is sailing past the Lighthouse with her modern band of pirates. The Fame is a full-scale replica of the famous privateer ship which captured the first prize in the War of 1812.

For more information about Fort Pickering Lighthouse and Salem Travel Links, please click on the photo of the Lighthouse above.
Map Location:
Google Map of Fort Pickering Lighthouse

Photos from our Salem Fall Foliage Lighthouse Trip…


© Debbie Dolphin
Statue of Roger Conant (alias “The Puritan”) at dusk,
located in front of the Salem Witch Museum next to Salem Common

© Debbie Dolphin
Speed Foliage,
Fall Colors captured at 45 mph

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National Lighthouse Day 2008 Events

Photo credit: Debbie Dolphin ©2008..
Graves Lighthouse, Boston Harbor

Notable New England Lighthouse events for the week before National Lighthouse Day:

Sunday, July 27, 2008 ~
Plum Island Light
Open House, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m
Google Map Directions

Sunday, July 27, 2008 ~ Nubble Light‘s Christmas in July, 8:00-9:00 p.m.
Google Map Directions

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 ~ Chatham Lighthouse Open House, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. Google Map Directions

Thursday, July 31, 2008 ~ New England Lighthouse Tours: Lighthouses of Portsmouth, NH & Portland, Maine tour, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Thursday, July 31, 2008 ~ Nobska Lighthouse Open House, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Google Map Directions

Friday, August 1, 2008 ~ New England Lighthouse Tours: Seacoast Lights and Portsmouth Harbor by Land & Sea, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Google Map Directions

Local New England Lighthouse events scheduled for the week of National Lighthouse Day:

Saturday, August 2, 2008 ~ Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse Open House, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 ~ Chatham Lighthouse Open House, 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. Google Map Directions

National Lighthouse Day Events ~ Thursday, August 7, 2008

1. New England Lighthouse Tours: Haunted Lighthouses tour from Portsmouth, NH, 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Google Map Directions

2. Nobska Lighthouse Open House, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Google Map Directions

3. Narragansett Bay Lighthouse Cruise Wickford, RI, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Google Map Directions

Friday, August 8, 2008 ~ New England Lighthouse Tours: Seacoast Lights and Portsmouth Harbor by Land & Sea, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Google Map Directions

Saturday, August 9, 2008 ~ “Lights Across the Border” International Lighthouse Challenge, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 9, 2008 ~ Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse Open House, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Saturday, August 9, 2008 ~ Nobska Lighthouse Open House, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Google Map Directions

Saturday, August 9, 2008 ~ North Shore Lighthouse Cruise hosted by the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Saturday, August 9, 2008 ~ Save the Bay Ultimate Lighthouse Tour Narragansett Bay, RI, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Notable Lighthouse Day events outside New England:

Saturday, August 2, 2008 ~ Pirate Heaven and Costume Contest at Old Baldy Lighthouse, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Saturday, August 2, 2008 ~ Reduced tour rates ($5) at Fire Island Lighthouse, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Thursday, August 07, 2008 ~ National Lighthouse Day at Cape May Lighthouse, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

Thursday, August 07, 2008 ~ National Lighthouse Day at Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Google Map Directions

For other National Lighthouse Day events outside of New England, search Google for the Lighthouse web-site that manages and/or maintains the Lighthouse to see if any holiday events are scheduled.

Holiday Background

Since August 7, 1989, National Lighthouse Day has been celebrated and where feasible Lighthouse grounds are open to the public. August 7, 1989 was the 200th anniversary of the federal Lighthouse Act that gave Congress authority over the nation’s Lighthouse. On April 28, 1988, Senator John H. Chafee from Rhode Island sponsored a joint resolution to designate August 7 as National Lighthouse Day which President Ronald Reagan signed as Public Law No. 100-622 on November 5, 1988.

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Minot’s Ledge I Love You Lighthouse, 143

minotsledge Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse winks and blinks “I Love You” to Lighthouse Lovers on Valentine’s Day and everyday! Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse is one of the most romantic Lighthouses in our country.

The distinctive Light Characteristic of Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse uses a 1-4-3 flashing sequence which is the same numerical count as the words “I love you.” Romantic Lighthouse Lovers on the shore of Minot Beach soon nicknamed the granite Lighthouse, the “Lover’s Light” or the “I Love You Light.”

Five months after the second Lighthouse was first lit on Nov 15, 1860, Fitz James O’Brien’s “Minot’s Ledge” poem was published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.

On Aug 25, 1871, Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of his visit to Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse:

“…we find ourselves at the base of the lighthouse rising sheer out of the sea like a huge stone cannon, mouth upward. We are hoisted up forty feet in a chair, some of us; others go up by an iron ladder… The lighthouse rises out of the sea like a beautiful stone cannon, mouth upward, belching forth only friendly fires.” – Final Memorials of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1887

In 1901, Helen Keller romanticized her passing Minot’s Ledge Light on her way to Boston Harbor:
“…the colors warmed and deepened as we watched the beautiful, gold-tinted clouds peacefully take possession of the sky. Then came the sun, gathering the mist into silvery bands with which he wreathed the islands that lifted their heads out of the purple sea as it passed.

A mighty tide of life and joy followed in its track. The ocean awoke, ships and boats of every description sprang from the waves as if by magic; and as we sighted Minot’s Ledge Light, a great six-masted schooner with snowy sails passed us like a beautiful winged spirit, bound for some unknown haven beyond the bar.

How delightful it was to see Minot’s Ledge in the morning light. There one expects to see the ocean lashed into fury by the splendid resistance of the rocks; but as we passed the ‘light’ seemed to rise out of the tranquil water, like Venus from her morning bath. It seemed so near, I thought I could touch it; but I am rather glad I did not; for perhaps the lovely illusion would have been destroyed had I examined it more closely.” – Helen Keller

Ironically, the 1-4-3 numerical flash pattern was randomly selected after Lt. Frederick Mahan, U.S.N., a member of the Lighthouse Board, recommended all Lighthouses have a numerical flash sequence in 1890. Due to the high costs of these special lenses, only two Fresnel lenses were made and displayed at the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893.

Cape Charles Light Station, located on Smith Island, Virginia, was First Lit on August 15, 1895 exhibiting 9 Flashes every 30 seconds using a 4-5 pattern (four quick flashes followed by a dark interval of three seconds, then five more flashes followed by sixteen seconds of darkness) illuminated by a First-order Fresnel lens.

Minot’s Ledge Light, located on Minot’s Ledge, a 25-foot-wide rock ledge that is part of the Cohasset Rocks located approximately one mile offshore from the town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, was refitted with Second-order Fresnel lens and re-lighted on May 1, 1894 exhibiting 8 Flashes every 45 seconds using a 1-4-3 pattern (one quick flash followed by a dark interval of five seconds, four flashes, and three flashes followed by 15.5 seconds of darkness).

According to Lighthouse Lore, Minot’s Ledge Light is haunted by two assistant Light-keepers, Joseph Wilson and Joseph Antoine, who lost their lives when the first iron-pile Lighthouse was destroyed by a severe storm on April 17, 1851. Several Light-keepers of the new dovetailed granite Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse reported seeing the two supernatural phantom Light-keepers in the Lantern Room in the middle of the night and the images of the two drowned keepers would appear in the doorway when they looked at the reflection of the tower in the water on calm sunny days. The ringing of a phantom bell and knocks were frequently heard at night.

Lighthouse Legend also claims the local fishermen and Light-keepers can hear the phantom of Joseph Antoine cry “Stay Away” in his native tongue of Portuguese and they also claim to see him clinging to ladder of the Tower. Perhaps the most bizarre legend was the mysterious polishing of the Fresnel lens and the mysterious cleaning of the windows of the Lantern Room before the human assistant Light-keepers could clean them!

Since spectral visions are a highly subjective surreal experience, please click on the photo of this post for more information about the human history of this Lighthouse, travel tips, and Lighthouse Cruises.

For a Map Location of the Lighthouse, please visit the Google Map of Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse

icon_heart Hopefully, you will not receive chocolates from a Secret Spectral Sweetheart!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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New Year Lighthouse from West Quoddy, Maine


West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is the Easternmost Point of land in the continental United States.

As with most Lighthouses, this Light Station was named for a geographic location. The “west” in West Quoddy Head Light refers to the Lighthouse located west of East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. There are 12 Lighthouses in the Quoddy Loop from New Brunswick, Canada to Lubec, Maine. Quoddy is a Mi’kmaq (1) Indian word meaning “a piece of favorable land.”

Therefore, West Quoddy Head was a favorable headland for a Lighthouse aiding shipping approaching the entrance to the Quoddy Narrows(2) between the U.S. mainland and the Canadian Campobello Island.

Interestingly, the original name of West Quoddy Head Light was Passamaquoddy Light as noted by Winslow Lewis in his 1817 Description of the Lighthouses. Passamaquoddy is the name of a northern Maine Indian tribe and means “plenty of pollock.” During the American Revolution, the Passamaquoddy Indians were allies of the American Colonists against the British.

In 1977, a Passamaquoddy Lighthouse was built for the Disney movie, Pete’s Dragon as the home of Lampie (Mickey Rooney) and his daughter, Nora (Helen Reddy).

Remember, Helen Reddy singing Candle on the Water in front of the gleaming Fresnel lens of the Lighthouse? For a video clip of this scene, please visit the link .

Please note the timing of this post coincides with our sunrise on New Years Day at noon time!

(1) Mi’kmaq is commonly spelled “Micmac” incorrectly.
According to Waye Mason, the name of the People is and always has been Mi’kmaq (with the apostrophe). Waye Mason also claims Mi’kmaq “is the correct spelling and there is nothing wrong with it and no reason to “fix” it.”

Unfortunately, Chris Johnson, a “journalist,” decided he had every right to use his uncivil comment crusade to prove his “Micmac” spelling version is definitive.

For the record of online facts,
40,000 people use the name, Mi’kmaq including the
1,000 members in Maine who call their community, The Aroostook Band of Micmacs.

After carefully reviewing and considering the apparent conflicting sources by Debbie Dolphin, it seems one band of the same people prefer to spell the name of their group a different way. And, all 40,000 people, including the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, are members of the Mi’kmaq First Nation according to Wikipedia.

Mi’kmaq – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedeia
Mi’kmaq – Waye Mason
The Aroostook Band of Micmacs

(2) According to the historical evidence, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was built to warn mariners of the dangerous rock outcroppings offshore of the headland as they approached the narrowing entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay. The narrow entrance was called Quoddy Roads and is currently called the Quoddy Narrows, a constricted waterway with strong racing tidal currents and a 18-feet average tidal range between the changing tides.

In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson also authorized the Lighthouse to establish a U.S. presence during a time when the boundary between our nation and Canada was poorly defined. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was built and First Lit on April 21, 1808.

Currently, the Lighthouse exhibits 2 White flashes every 15-seconds illuminated by a Third-order Fresnel lens 83-feet above sea level visible to a range of 18 nautical miles. For more information about the distinctive candy striped Lighthouse, please click on the photo of this post.

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