One of the things I really wanted to do in Maine was see the lighthouses on the coast. Yes I am aware I am a huge cliché but I got over it pretty quickly! But I quickly became aware that the Maine coast is a mighty big thing and some planning would be required. Luckily I found an internet tour of some lighthouses in the Portland area we could see during a two hour drive.
So, after a little bit of cajoling from me (I think Jim would have preferred to have been on a second leg of the brewery tour) I downloaded the driving instructions and we set off on a little trip.
Our first stop was Portland Head Lighthouse, which is probably the most famous of the lighthouses we saw and maybe the most ‘Maine’. We approached it from the house side and to start with I was a bit underwhelmed by the building, but as soon as we started walking away from it, looking at it from up the headland, it became all sorts of pretty!
What you can’t see on the photos is the snow and ice that was still littering the rocks from the snowfall the day before (or the annoying people who kept trying to ruin my photos by walking in front of me)
It was also kind of a cheat stop as far out to sea, almost a speck was another of the lighthouses. Ram Island Light which sits at the Entrance to Portland Harbour!
Our second stop was a trip to the Two Lights State Park, where we had a scramble on the rocks and had a momentary hope that one of the Lobster Huts down on the beach was open. It wasn’t, but we had that minute of hope. There were two lighthouses here, but they sit on private property, so they aren’t that easy to get at. But clambering over the rocks was fun.
Our next location was possibly my favourite stop of the day, the Spring Point Ledge Light at Fort Prebble. Getting there required navigating our way through the Southern Maine Community College and a bit of none-permit parking on school grounds but we made it!
To get to the lighthouse we had to wander along the breakwater, made up of huge chunks of granite. As the gaps between the granite were quite big in some places it meant a few leaps over gaps and some thought through food positions. But being out there right on the end of the breakwater in the middle of the water was really cool and a bit bloody cold!
We also got a little history lesson about a fort, Fort Gorges (pronounced Gorgeous!) that sits int he middle of the mouth of the river – it was built in 1858 to protect Portland, but now it’s covered in trees and derelict!
The final stop of the tour was to Bug Light, a tiny light on the edge of a park, built on a crop of man made rocks, from where you can see right into Portland. It was so small, had these wonderfully ornate markings on it, which made me think it ought to be in a Disney film!
We stopped here for a car picnic of left over Whole Foods salad and potato doughnuts, and watched the, mostly elderly, dog walkers with their charges! We also met some of the biggest and tamest seagulls I have ever encountered.
I really loved our little lighthouse tour, and I am so pleased with how many we got to see in such a short drive. And I even think Jim enjoyed himself. No matter how nerdy he might have thought it was on the outset!
We spent the rest of our afternoon driving the other way out of Portland to see the islands around Falmouth, and headed back into Portland for an epic happy hour – more about that here!
Being a bit of a lighthouse nerd, I had an awesome time – what do you love to search out on your holidays?