Maine Office of Tourism, Augusta, ME (September 10, 2013) – The State of Maine’s fifth annual Open Lighthouse Day will take place on Saturday, September 14th with lighthouses open throughout the state and free entry available to visitors on this one day. The popular event is coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard in partnership with the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation.
Known as the saviors of the seacoast, 22 light stations along the Maine coast plan to participate in this year’s annual event. Open Lighthouse Day in Maine is the largest effort of its kind in the country, and is expected to draw hundreds of visitors. All lighthouses will be open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, unless otherwise noted. Special packages, promotions and celebratory activities are also available in partnership with hotels and other attractions.
“Tourism is one of our biggest industries, and I am proud to have the opportunity to show off our great state,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “My administration is committed to improving Maine’s competitiveness, to not only attract more visitors, but also to create a better climate for investment and job growth.”
There’s a good reason why Maine is referred to as “The Lighthouse State.” There are more lighthouses in Maine than in any other state but Michigan and New York, and there are more coastal lighthouses here than anywhere else in the nation. Beginning in 1794, lighthouses were built to help navigate mariners through dangerous waters and Maine’s many little islands, ledges and shoals. By the turn of the 20th century, at least 70 lighthouses guarded Maine’s seacoast, deepest rivers and even one lake. Today, 65 of these lighthouses still stand.
Over the decades, Maine’s iconic lighthouses have become more than directional aids. They’ve developed a distinctive look with architectural beauty and proportion that also speak to Yankee ingenuity – both quirky and scientific (like the keepers who have manned them).
Many of Maine’s lighthouses can be seen by boat, some only with ground visitation, and some are celebrated by museums or as displays within buildings.
On Open Lighthouse Day, both Mainers and visitors planning a weekend getaway or longer getaway can check out various itineraries and participating lighthouses by consulting Maine’s complimentary Travel Planner, and by going online to www.visitmaine.com to click on “Explore Lighthouses” or visit:
Participating lighthouses include:
- Wood Island Lighthouse (offshore at Biddeford Pool)
Greater Portland and Casco:
- Portland Breakwater Lighthouse (South Portland) — Tower referred to as “Bug Light”
- Portland Head Lighthouse (Cape Elizabeth) — Tower reached by climbing 85+ steps
- Spring Point Lighthouse (South Portland) — Reached via a breakwater
- Burnt Island Lighthouse (Boothbay Harbor) — Reach via Balmy Day Cruises in Boothbay Harbor
- Curtis Island Lighthouse (Camden)
- Doubling Point Lighthouse (Arrowsic, along the Kennebec River)
- Fort Point Lighthouse (Stockton Springs) — Contains a fourth-order Fresnel lens
- Grindle Point Lighthouse (Islesboro) — Reach via the Maine State Ferry from Lincolnville to Islesboro
- Kennebec River Front Range Light (Arrowsic, along the Kennebec River)
- Marshall Point Lighthouse (Port Clyde)
- Monhegan (Monhegan Island) — Reach via Monhegan Boat Line in Port Clyde; Balmy Day Cruises in Boothbay Harbor; or Hardy Boat Cruises
- Owls Head Lighthouse (Owls Head) — Contains a fourth-order Fresnel lens
- Pemaquid Point Lighthouse (Bristol) — Contains a fourth-order Fresnel lens
- Rockland Breakwater (Rockland) — Reached via a 7/8-mile-long walk along the breakwater or boat
- Seguin Island (off Popham Beach) — Reached by Seguin Island Ferry; contains a first-order Fresnel lens (the only one of its kind in Maine)
- Whitehead Island Lighthouse (near Sprucehead) — Reach via boat (complimentary with reservation)
- Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse (Mount Desert Island)
- Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse (Swan’s Island) — Reach via the Maine State Ferry from Bass Harbor
- Dyce (Dice) Head Lighthouse (Castine)
- West Quoddy Head Lighthouse (Lubec) — Contains a third-order Fresnel lens
Other lighthouse activities during Maine Open Lighthouse Day weekend:
- Maine Lighthouse Museum Rockland) — Contains the nation’s largest collection of Fresnel lenses
- Lighthouse Sunset Cruise (Rockland) — Sunset cruise September 13 departs from Rockland Harbor at 4 pm with close-up views of five Mid-coast lighthouses
- Whitehead Light Station (near Sprucehead) — Offering a special opportunity called “Be a Lightkeeper for the Weekend” stay from Sept. 13 at 4 pm through Sept. 15 at 4 pm
- Whaleback Day – Celebrate the State’s southernmost lighthouse during the first-ever “Whaleback Day” with events on both the Maine and New Hampshire sides of the Piscataqua River. Though the wave-swept lighthouse will not be open to the public, a special cruise will provide the public with an opportunity for a close-up view of Whaleback Lighthouse. To learn more, visit: www.portsmouthharborlighthouse.org
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Joan Brower / Janet Bartucci, db communications group
Tel. 212-922-0900, E-mail: MaineTourism@dgi-nyc.com