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A Trip to Mostly RI Lighthouses

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(Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont)

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Postby wheland » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:55 pm


Esther and I took a trip up to RI last weekend.

The main reason was the ALF Boat Trip on Narragannsett Bay. We had seen some of the lighthouses previously but even some of those are best viewed by water. We had not seen a number of the LHs involved as well.

We drove up Friday afternoon and decided after eating dinner since we were in mystic Seaport we should drive over to Stonington Harbor for the Sunset.

We got there just as it was beginning so we had a good amount of light still. I got a nice photo of Latimer Reef NY LH with a sailboat near it-

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I was also able to get a distant shot of the Watch Hill RI LH with it's lantern flashing.

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Here's a nice view of the Stonington Harbor CT LH as well.

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Here's a shot of the Sunset over the Harbor area.

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We left and continued on to our hotel in Warwick, RI.
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Postby wheland » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:55 pm


I won't say we got up bright and early the next morning- since it wasn't that early 7 AM and it definitely wasn't very bright- we had completely overcast skies with a bit of drizzle and fog that varied from non-existent to very heavy.

We drove over to Warren, RI where we were to board the Vista Jubilee for our short boat trip.

We spent the time waiting to board speaking with Greg Fitzgerald and Bob Taylor, mostly. I also had a chance to speak with Jeremy De'Tremont (who was to narrate the tour) and Bob Trapani and Ross Tracy of ALF. (Ross also has the website lighgthousing.net)

I did not run into anybody else I knew on the boat.

We got underway just about on time but almost immediately we had our first change to our route. The fog was so thick up river that we skipped going to Conimnicut, Nayatt Point and Ponham Rocks LH.

We opted to go down river and make Warwick LH our first stop. We had seen this light from land- you can get a view of the back of the LH from the end of a street in Warwick, RI. You have to look through the locked gate of the Coast Guard facility.

This LH is much better viewed from the water. Here are a couple of differetn views which emphasize how the fog was acting that morning.


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We continued motoring down river and encountered our next change in plans- Poplar Point was totally hidden by the fog so we continued on to the next LH- Plum Beach LH.

The first views we had were fog shrouded as well but it thinned out a bit as we got closer to the LH.

Here's a photo of Plum Beach LH which if you have not seen it recently might surprise you. It's amazing how they were able to restore that rusting hulk of a LH that Plum Beach was just a few short years ago. there were many people who thought it was beyond rescue- they were wrong.


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We had our next change in plans at this point. We originally were planning on going down to Dutch Island LH and Beavertail LH but because of our slow start due to the weather and the fact that Beavertail LH is under active restoration and has a scaffold around it the Captain opted to skip those lights.

We turned around and went back up to Poplar point hoping that the fog had lifted a bit- and we lucked out as it had.

Here's a nice photo of the LH as it is today- attached to a very large house that is a private residence. The LH itself is the oldest wooden tower LH in the United States having been built in 1831.


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Here is a photo of what survives of the Wickford Harbor LH deactivated in 1930 and demolished shortly after that. The rocks remain with a modern light on them.


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We left there and continued on our way. The next stop was the North Conanicut LH at the northern tip of Jamestown Island. The LH was decommisioned in 1933 and it's lantern was removed at some point after that. It has been a private residence since then. In fact the daughter of the present owner was on the boat- I did not meet her, though.

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We left there and continued on our way to Newport. We passed Gould Island which had a LH on it until 1932 when it was decommisioned. The LH was demolished in 1960 and all that remains is the Oil House. I have no usable photo of it, though.

We next came upon Rose Island LH. This is another success story as if you have seen photos from the 70's it looked much different. It was restored lovingly by many volunteer man hours and much donated money. Charlotte Johnson gets much of the credit for making the restoration happen

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The fog around rose Island was varied- from heavy to light and back over the span of literally moments.


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Postby wheland » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:56 pm


We continued on into Newport Harbor and were greeted by Newport Harbor (Goat Island) LH going into and out of the fog. We were unable to get as close to it as usual as there was a restricted area of the harbor being used by students learning how to sail sailboats.

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We continued on into the fort Adams Marina to get a view of the Ida Lewis Rock (lime rock) LH. We passed this lighthouse like structure that is used as a private aid to navigation for the Marina.


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We were not able to get too close to Ida Lewis but here's a nice look at the LH.

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We left Newport Harbor and passed by the remains of Gull Rocks LH- just an Oil House is left on the base. (Unfortunately no usable pictures were taken of this either. I did get a good look at it on sunday while going over the Pell Bridge to Jamestown.)

We also sailed by Rose Island again- and it again was playing hide and seek with us.

We motored up to Prudence Island (Sandy Point) LH. The Keeper's house was destroyed during the Great Hurricane of 1938. The keeper was washed away but was rescued by locals. Unfortunately his wife, two of their children and a local husband and wife lost their lives when the house was swept away.

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We had lost so much time- even with our skipping so many lights- due to the heavy fog at the beginning of the day that we were not able to get very close to eithe Hog Island Shoal LH or Bristol Ferry LH. Here's a distant view of both of them

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We continued on back to the dock and since the fog had lifted we were also able to get a very distant view of both Conimnicut LH and Nayatt LH.

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We tied up to the dock just about on time- got to see some nice lighthouses and unfortunately we had to skip some others.

Esther and I had intended to complete seeing all the lighthouses in rI on this boat trip but due to the skipped lighthouses this did not happen.

I decided to try and get to them by car on our own. I had my GPS with me and it has two different POI files with lighthouses in them so I figured what the heck it was worth a try.
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Postby wheland » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:57 pm


I got in the car and programmed the GPS to get me to the Bristol Ferry LH. It got me there-0 so to speak. It told me i had reached my destination as I was going onto the bridge the LH is located directly under.

We went acros and I manged to find Musselbed Shoals Rd which looked to go down to the bank of the river. It did.

I was able to get a much closer photo of Bristol Ferry LH.

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I was also able to get a nice photo of the base of Musselbed Shoals LH with the replacement light on it.


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I got this photo of Hog Island Shoal LH at a much closer viewpoint than we got on the boat.


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We left there and drove on up to Nayatt Point LH. It's a private residence in an upscale community. It's not a gated community so you can get quite close to the LH. Unfortunately you can't get a view of the front- only the side of the LH due to the layout of the houses in the area. I was able to get a photo with both Nayatt Point LH and Conimicut LH together.

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We left there to get the next to final LH in RI for us- Ponham Rocks LH. I knew it was visible from both a bike path and an apartment house. The GPS took us to a small parking lot adjacent to the bike path with a large apartment building overlooking it.

We were walking towards the bike path when we saw a familiar figure striding towards us- Greg fitzgerald. He had mentioned earlier that he was going to try and get to a few lighthouses before driving home to NJ.

We spoke for a few minutes comparing notes on our travels since leaving the Vista Jubilee. It seems that we had gone to the same places in a different order.

Esther and I walked out the bike path to the point where Ponham rocks is visible and took these two photos.

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This ended our lighthousing for Saturday. I was hoping to complete seeing all the lighthouses of RI the next day while in the Newport area
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Postby wheland » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:57 pm


Sunday was Father's Day and the plan was to spend a good part of it in Newport, RI.

Esther wanted to finally get to some of the mansions- I figured I'd go to one maybe two and then let Esther see some more and I'd do a bit of lighthousing.

I decided that because of the way that RI is setup that we would go to one lighthouse before going to Newport- Sakonnett.

The biggest problem with one of the smallest states in the US is that it can take ove an hour or longer to get to someplace that in a straight line is only 5-10 miles away. this is because of all the fingers of land seperated by different bodies of water and the scarcity of bridges going from one sliver of land to the other.

It was almost an hour's drive from Warwick, RI to Sakonnett, RI and then almost an hour from there to Newport, RI. It takes about an hour to get from Newport back to Warwick.

We lucked out with the weather for the most part on sunday. It rained a bit on the way to Sakonnett but by the time we got to the LH it had stopped raining.

Here's a shot of the LH.


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I then drove over to Newport and we went to the Visitors Center to get our tickets for the Mansions Tour.

Esther discovered while we were there that there was a special fund raiser going on called The Secret Garden Tour. The setup was that many of the houses in a section of Newport had opened thier gardens to tours. They had banners to tell you where and you had to have the token needed to show you knew the "secret"- basically a handbook with a map and a list of the properties.

Esther opted to do this first and said I should go to some lighthouses while she did it.

I realized that I was literally on the Goat Island Connector (it's where the Visitor's Center is) so I drove over to the bridge area and took some photos of the Newport Harbor (Goat Island) LH.

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I then took the bridge over to Jamestown Island to get a look at those lights we missed on the boat trip- Dutch Island and Beavertail.

I drove up to the gate keeper at the park that gives you a great view of dutch Island LH as was greeted by a sign that said "No Drive Through". I decided to try anyway and the guard graciously allowed me to go on in to take my photos.


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I stopped on my way out of the park to thank him again and I tried to make a donation to the RI parks system but he said he wasn't setup to take it. We had a nice little talk about the different lighthouses in the area.

I left there and continued on down to Beavertail. I stopped at the parking area prior to the LH and got this photo of the ruins of Whale Rocks LH which disapeared during the Great Hurricane of 1938 along with it's keepers. The remains of the LH were actually found in 2004 by an archeologist.

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I got this view of Beavertail - as noted earlier the tower is obscured due to restoration work.

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I was able to get this photo of Castle Hill LH from the end of Hull Cove Rd which is one of the small roads on the right as you leave Beavertail Park.

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I met up with Esther and we finished up the Secret Garden tour and then took a tour of the Rose Cliff Mansion.

Esther went on to the Breakers and I rode out to Castle Hill LH.

The easiest way to view thi light is to drive onto the property of the Castle Hill Resort and when you get to the Gate Keeper explain that you'd like to take some photos of the lighthouse. He'll allow you to park and will point out the path to the LH.

It's a short walk out- a bit steep but not difficult at all. The winds were whipping quite high out by the LH. I opted to not go too far out on the rocks.

Here's a photo I took out there.

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Here's a photo of Beavertail LH with it's lantern lit taken from Castle Hill LH

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I walked back to my car and had a nice little talk with the gatekeeper- turns out he's a retired Sheriff's Officer.

This trip finished up another state for us- we now have been to all of the lighthouses in RI and seen most of the ruins of lights no longer in existence as well.
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Postby Grover1 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:30 pm


You covered a lot of ground there Mr Wheland ... I remember Sakonnet Point not being particularly close to anything else ... I did very much appreciate the shot from the ship of Poplar Point ... Memory says it was surrounded by a very exclusive community that allowed no onstreet parking ... It was very tough keeping both the van and the lighthouse in view as I attempted to not have the former towed and to try and get as many shots as possible of the latter ...

Thanks very much for sharing ...
Believe those who search for the truth ...
Doubt those who find it ...
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Postby wheland » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:02 pm


Grover1 wrote:You covered a lot of ground there Mr Wheland ... I remember Sakonnet Point not being particularly close to anything else ... I did very much appreciate the shot from the ship of Poplar Point ... Memory says it was surrounded by a very exclusive community that allowed no onstreet parking ... It was very tough keeping both the van and the lighthouse in view as I attempted to not have the former towed and to try and get as many shots as possible of the latter ...

Thanks very much for sharing ...


Barry,

You are right on both counts- Sakonnet Point is only about 5-10 miles from Newport- unfortunately you have to drive about 15 miles north go about 3 miles east and then drive about 12 miles south. It's the curse of RI- you can't get there from here.

Poplar Point is difficult to get any view of on land. I was a bit lucky since the time I drove there I had Esther do the driving so I could get out and not have to worry about parking.

Dennis
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Postby Red » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:49 pm


Dennis,
Thanks for reliving your trip, sure brought back many memories of our trip to Rhode Island. RED
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Postby wheland » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:54 pm


I've joined both the Dutch Island and Ponham Rocks LH groups.

They both are in need of funds to help with the continued restoration of both lighthouses.

Dennis
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Postby Blacktphoto » Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:00 am


Thanks for sharing these Dennis. I was hoping someone on the board would post images. We had hoped to make the R.I. trip this year but it didn't happen.
Rhode Island always makes for a fun trip.
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