Saturday, September 13, 2014
Did we luck out or what?! Today is Maine Open Lighthouse Day which offers the public a rare one-day-only opportunity to climb and explore over 2 dozen lighthouses scattered throughout Maine. And this includes Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse which is just around the corner from our campsite at Seawall Campground in Acadia National Park. We’ve been coming here for years to photograph this lighthouse and this will be our first chance to have a look inside.
The lighthouse is at the end of a 2 lane road about 3 miles away so we load up T&E in the truck and drive over. It’s 10:30 AM and there’s a line of cars waiting for one of the 2 dozen or so parking places. This is a popular event. I tell Cindy to hop out and get in line. We’ll take turns touring the lighthouse so one of us can stay with T&E. After 45 minutes I’m able to park. Cindy’s not back yet and since it’s cool out, I decide to leave T&E in the truck and head down the path to the light keeper’s house. There’s still no sign of Cindy so she must be inside.
While waiting, I learn a little history about this and other lighthouses maintained by the US Coast Guard. Other than one lighthouse in Boston Harbor, all lighthouses still in use as navigational aids are fully automated and unmanned. Even though Bass Harbor Lighthouse is fully automated, the light keeper’s house has been modernized and is available as a residence for active duty Coast Guard officers. Despite the million dollar view and coolness factor of living in a lighthouse, there’s no takers. Turns out, this end of Mount Desert Island has no cell phone service or internet access so no one wants to live here. Cindy and I can appreciate this. We’ll go weeks without hookups but we gotta have our internet and cell service.
After another 30 minutes of waiting, Cindy comes out and it’s time for my group to enter. Even though no one is living in the house, we only get to visit the lighthouse tower. Through the windows of the house, I can see a modern eat-in kitchen. I’m surprised no one wants to live here.
The lighthouse tower is attached to the main house by an enclosed hallway. We enter through a door off the back porch.
I’m the first one to enter and ascend the steep spiral staircase leading to the top. The lighthouse isn’t very tall.
There’s only room for 6 people at the top. Even though the light can be seen for miles, the bulb itself is not very bright.
In my last post, I published a photo of the light house at sunset. I plan to return tomorrow morning for a photo at sunrise.by