Lighthouses of Portland & the Area, Portland
Portland Headlight probably is Maine's most famous landmark. Located on the grounds of beautiful Fort Williams Park, this lighthouse was built at the end of the 18th century and was originally lighted with 16 whale oil lamps. Throughout the years, these have been replaced with lenses and the original tower has been elevated to its current 92' height. The former lightkeepers' residence has now been transformed into a small museum where you can learn more about the history of Portland Headlight (Open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; $2 for adults, $1 for children).
Fort Williams Park is open from sunrise to sunset, free of charge (free parking is available). This 90-acre park offers splendid views of the bay, and there are several spots where you can take pictures of Portland Headlight along the walking trails. There's also a small beach (but the water is pretty cold) and numerous picnic tables. I did not, however, find a place where you could buy drinks or snacks, so you'd better make sure to fill your picnic basket beforehand :o)
Spring Point Ledge Light is a 54-foot tall "sparkplug-style" lighthouse that was built in 1897. It used to be isolated from the main land until a breakwater was constructed in 1951. People are free to walk up to the lighthouse (make sure to wear good shoes, the breakwater is uneven, to say the least) and during summer, it is possible to go inside the lighthouse on Saturdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm for a small fee. Again, you need good shoes because you'll have to make it up some pretty steep and narrow stairs, and for this reason, small children are not allowed inside. Tours include a visit of the keeper's quarters inside the lighthouse and some stories about how they would keep themselves busy during the days they spent in the middle of the sea, cut off from their friends and family.
Spring Point Ledge Light is located next to the Portland Harbor Museum and on the grounds of Fort Preble (1808). There is also a small beach next to it.
Portland is a great place to visit lighthouses.
The most visited and photographed lighthouse "Portland Head Light", located in nearby Cape Elizabeth, south of Portland.
Maine is a major fishing and shipping area with rocky and cliff coast, open windy ocean and foggy at times.
These historical lighthouses were critical during the days using whale oil light before GPS, modern electronics and radar nagivation to guide ships, boats and fisherman safely home.
This state park is actually in Cape Elizabeth, but is close enough to Portland. It's a nice state park, very pretty views of the ocean and the lights. If you stay on the Two Lights road that leads to the park to the end, you'll get to a nice little cove, an expanse of cliffs that stretches for a little while, and a nice little seafood restaurant that is almost always busy during summer. Definitely a nice place for a few hours' getaway from the city. Also a great place to visit at night, although you do need to watch where you put your feet on the cliffs.
It's a lovely park that gets filled up on the weekends. Tour buses and the trolley go here regularly. It has the famous Portland Headlight and Museum to snap photos of, and there are informational billboards that talk about life at Fort Williams. Picnic tables, lawns, beautiful views all welcome you here!
The Museum's number is below.
It's an easy thing to do (watch your step!) and it's filled with romance, wind in your hair, ocean views, bobbing buoys, and photo ops. Take a few moments to soak in the solitude of being on the edge of the earth.
Anyway, Spring Point Light is a small lighthouse with a rocky path...and it is kept company by the tiny Portland Harbor Museum/shop on land.
The l;ighthouse was constructured in 1897 to try and deter many wrecks on the habor. A 900 feet granite rock water break was added in 1951 at a cost of $200,000. The break is 15 feet abover wate level. The candlepower has increased to now be 200,000 power-a lot. It went automatic in 1934. It is rarely open to public; maybe once a year.
This lighthouse is still being used. It happens to be a drop off point for buses so everyone can take a picture. Yes, me too. But I tried to get the buses out of the way. In 1787, George Washington had the lighthouse built and it burned whale oil for years. Then in m id 1800's lens were put in and 1964 an autobeacon installed. It is the most photographed lighthouse in the US.
We started with Two Lights, a pair of lighthouses near Portland. Neither one is very exciting to photograph. One is now part of a private home, but there is a small beach close by and you can stop for lunch at the Lobster Shack.
Portland Head Light was gorgeous. We got there an hour or so before sunset, looked at the fortifications, and admired the view. Sunset was the perfect time to be there. We would have liked to stay longer, but when they say the park closes at sunset, they mean it. The guards herded us all out and someone was waiting to bar the park entrance. There was a photographer who had climbed over the safety fence to get a better view and was hiding. I wonder what he did when he found the gate locked.
Anyhow, if you can only make it to one Portland lighthouse, Portland Head Light is the one to chose.
If you are driving on the east coast and happen to be near the Portland area, this is a good place to visit and see some of the lighthouses in this area. Two Lights State Park is outside of Portland to the south. The lighthouse that I saw stood on the small rocky ledges jutting out into the sea. I was albe to climb around some of the rocks just across a small inlet from it to get a good view. One must be careful around the rocks since they can be slippery when wet.
One of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. Once you visit, you'll see why. You can't get a bad shot. Whether photography is your hobby or it's the first time you've ever taken a picture, you'll leave with professional looking images.
Portland Head Light was not only Maine's first lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington in 1790, but also the first light to be completed under the direction of the newly formed government of the United States.
It was automated on August 9, 1989 to celebrate the bicentennial of the US lighthouse system. Portland Head is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine.
Maine's rocky coast is ideal for visiting the many lighthouses on the coast. A trip to Pemaquid Light State Park is about 1 hour from Portland. This lighthouse is best seen from below the colorful rocks
Try to go to the lighthouses near the ocean. It's a beautiful sight, when the water is splashing on the rocks, when the birds flies around . And on the way, take a stop at one of the amazing beaches all the way along the coast of Maine.
The observatory was not a lighthouse. It was built in 1807 and is the only remaining maritime signal station in the US making it a unique architectural site. Coded signal flags were used to alert harbor merchants to the appearance of specific ships coming into view via telesopes .The merchants could then reserve a berth on wharves and hire stevedores before a vessel docked. The 86 foot octogon shaped building wa added to the National register of Historic places in 1972