Augusta, ME (September 1, 2016) – The State of Maine’s eighth annual Open Lighthouse Day will take place on Saturday, September 10, with lighthouses open to the public throughout the state and free entry for visitors on this one day. The popular event, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, draws between 15,000 to 18,000 visitors annually with the unique opportunity to climb and learn about Maine’s historic lights.
“This event is a wonderful way for visitors to experience the beauty of Maine’s beaches and dramatic rocky coastline, while connecting with the maritime culture that is so integral to the character of coastal Maine,” said Carolann Ouellette, director of the Maine Office of Tourism.
The largest effort of its kind organized within the United States, Open Lighthouse Day is a family-friendly activity intended to help increase awareness of Maine’s maritime heritage and teach visitors about the rich history of its lighthouses and lightkeepers. All participating lighthouses will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., unless otherwise noted. For Lighthouse Day, all lighthouses and lighthouse tours are free. Some parking and transportation costs to lighthouses are additional.
With more coastal lighthouses than anywhere else in the nation, Maine is often referred to as “The Lighthouse State”. Beginning in 1791, lighthouses were built to help navigate mariners through dangerous waters and Maine’s many small 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, 64 of these lighthouses still stand.
Over the decades, Maine’s iconic lighthouses have become more than simply navigational aids. They also beckon the general public to come near and enjoy the alluring beauty, romance and history that embodies these timeless sentinels of the sea. 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.
“The wide ranging appeal of Maine Open Lighthouse Day is such a draw for visitors,” said Bob Trapani, Jr., American Lighthouse Foundation Executive Director. “This event offers much more than the opportunity to climb a lighthouse. Each step along the day’s journey is filled with the unmatched beauty of the Maine coast, amazing fun and fascinating history – all the while learning how dedicated people are working tirelessly to preserve these alluring sentinels so that we can continue to admire and appreciate them!”
On Open Lighthouse Day, both Mainers and visitors planning a weekend getaway or longer vacation can check out various itineraries, packages, and participating lighthouses by going online to www.visitmaine.com to search “Lighthouse Day”.
For comprehensive information about the 2016 participating sites and attractions and to view a map pinpointing specific locations, visit: http://www.lighthousefoundation.org/openlighthouseday.htm