Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

Category Archives: Bass Harbor

The Secret of Bass Harbor Head Light

July 10, 2012 by Scott Gile

The first time we visited Maine, long before we became the owners and innkeepers at Brewster House B&B in Freeport Maine, we fell in love with Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

We spent a  few days of our trip on Mount Desert Island, in Bar Harbor, and visiting some of the really picturesque spots, from Acadia National Park to Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Bass Harbor, but our favorite was Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

Not too long ago we revisited our beloved lighthouse, and were reminded of the secret we had inadvertently discovered on our first visit, but more about that in a moment.

To get to Bass Harbor, from elsewhere on Mount Desert Island, head for Southwest Harbor. At the intersection on Route 102 there is a sign indicating that Bass Harbor is to the right, but Route 102 makes a loop, so either way will actually work. If you’ve gone to the right, you’ll need to stay left where the turn for Tremont goes right, then take Lighthouse Road (which feels like a long driveway) out to the lighthouse location.

Since our first visit we’ve been back many times, and have recommended it to many guests, and a number of friends. Sometimes we hear back that they just didn’t see what was so wonderful about the lighthouse, as the view wasn’t that good. When they say that, we know that they’ve forgotten the secret.

The most recent time we were there, we pulled into the parking lot, where there is a large sign from the US Coast Guard, who maintains the light, directing visitors down the paved path to the right of the lighthouse (as you face the water), where you can see the lighthouse up close. However, up close doesn’t always make for the kind of photograph you are seeking.

Sure enough, there was a man, loaded down with photographic equipment, trudging dejectedly up the hill to the parking lot. Spying our camera bag, he asked if we knew where to get a “good” picture of the lighthouse. We told him to come with us – and the secret was revealed!

At the far end of the parking lot (near the restrooms) is an unmarked, dirt, path through the woods. At the end of the path is a wooden staircase, leading down to the rocks below, at the waters’ edge. From there you look up at the lighthouse as it perches on the cliff, and this is where the more dramatic photos can be taken.

And that’s the secret of Bass Harbor Head Light.

Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Let’s Look at Lighthouses: Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

August 18, 2010 by Scott Gile

Today’s look at Maine lighthouses ventures a bit farther afield than some of our others, but to a place many of our guests go, after a few days at Brewster House Bed & Breakfast in Freeport. It is Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, on Mount Desert Island (not far from Bar Harbor, Maine), after which our Bass Harbor suite is named.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Perched high on the rocks, overlooking Bass Harbor, stands the picturesque lighthouse. The harbor is very accessible, but the light was needed to navigate the entrance. In 1857 the land was acquired and in 1858 a 32 foot tower constructed, and its fixed red light was lit.

Driving into the parking lot, visitors are often puzzled about where the lighthouse is located, as, looking in the sky, there is no tower visible. Because of the terrain, the parking lot sits above the height of the lighthouse, and only the top part of the tower is visible to arriving guests.

Unlike many modern lighthouses, the keeper’s house at Bass Harbor remains a residence. Visitors can walk down the paved pathway from the parking lot, but must stop near the keepers house, to avoid disturbing the occupants. Often this can frustrate photographers, as they can not stand far enough back from the tower to get it all in the picture, but can not go farther to change the perspective.

Somewhat less noticeable, is the dirt path through the wooded area at the opposite end of the parking lot (near the public restrooms). It leads a short distance through the woods, to a wooden staircase leading down the cliff, to the rocks below. From this angle some of the most dramatic photographs of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse may be obtained.

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Maine Lighthouses – Touring some out-of-the-way places

May 13, 2010 by Scott Gile

One of the favorite pastimes of our guests is visiting the nearby Maine lighthouses. The closest one to Brewster House Bed & Breakfast is Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. We also love to send guests to visit Cape Neddick Lighthouse (the Nubble) in York Beach, as well as Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse (Two Lights), Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Owls Head Lighthouse and Marshall Point (Port Clyde) Lighthouse. The locations of these and the other lighthouses in Maine can be seen on our lighthouse map.

Here we are at West Quoddy Head lighthouse - the Easternmost point in the USASome of our guests are already aware that we’re in the process of changing room numbers to room names, and that the names will be some of our favorite Maine lighthouses. We needed some new pictures of these lighthouses to put in the guest rooms, so we decided to venture a bit farther than most of our guests would normally go for a day trip from Freeport Maine. We went all the way to the Canadian border, to visit West Quoddy Head Lighthouse near the town of Lubec, Maine. We had a sparkling, sunny day, with vivid blue skies, as we visited this eastern-most point in the United States. While it made for a long day trip, it is a worthwhile one, and can be done with a (relatively) early start, and willingness to explore.

We were able to climb down the stairs from the park area to the rocky beach for some unusual angles to photograph the lighthouse. Since it was low tide at the time, we were able to scramble out on some of the rocks to get nice pictures back toward the beach and the lighthouse.

Lubec Maine Smokehouse and Mulholland Point Lighthouse CanadaAcross the waters of Quoddy Narrows is Great Manan Island, owned by Canada, while to the northeast, behind the lighthouse is Campobello Island, once a playground of the rich and famous, now a vacation spot that is part of New Brunswick, Canada.

While in the area, we went into the town of Lubec, where the Franklin Delano Roosevelt bridge connects the US with Campobello Island, and took photos of Canada’s Mulholland Point Lighthouse, across the river, and learned from a local museum curator about the smokehouses, where herring was caught and smoked.

Porcupine, Acadia National Park, Schoodic Peninsula MaineAs we returned to the south on US-1 we turned left at Gouldsboro Maine, to take the loop that Route 186 makes, to Winter Harbor, then into the Schoodic Peninsula and the remote part of Acadia National Park that relatively few of those who visit Maine ever see. From there we could see lobster boats passing Winter Harbor lighthouse, and we were greeted on the road by an adventurous porcupine (from whom we kept a respectful distance)! We also were able to find some fine opportunities for pictures at Prospect Harbor and Prospect Harbor lighthouse.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse MaineWe continued to Mount Desert Island, where we made for Bass Harbor Head lighthouse. We scrambled onto the rocks and took several photos, but were a little disappointed to find the sun almost directly behind the lighthouse, making picture-taking a bit difficult.

Driving back as night was falling, we stopped for some wonderful chowder in Camden Maine, then home to fall into bed, tired and happy after a full day of sightseeing!

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