Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

Category Archives: portland head

A Clearing Storm at Portland Head Lighthouse

September 11, 2012 by Scott Gile

During the busy season in Freeport, Maine (July – October), we rarely get a chance to do our own sightseeing. However, this past Sunday afternoon we did have a couple of hours, so we packed up some camera equipment and headed to one of our favorite nearby lighthouses, Portland Head Lighthouse.

Last Saturday there was a bit of a storm, so we were hoping to see some nice cloud formations and waves. We were not disappointed!

In one of the traditional photo location, just south of the lighthouse, you’ll see (top) the clouds clearing just above the lighthouse. As we walked around Fort Williams Park, we also saw the large waves breaking on the rocks below the lighthouse (middle).

Then we were pleasantly surprised to see one of the antique schooners from Portland Schooner Company make its way past Ram Island Lighthouse, before turning to return to port from its noon sail (some of our guests were aboard!). Portland Schooner supplies the “surf” portion of our Fall Foliage Surf & Turf package!

All in all, a lovely day, some nice photos, and a good walk. You should try it!

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

Maine Lighthouses Near Freeport

February 28, 2012 by Scott Gile

You may also want to view our newer article, Touring Maine Lighthouses (with Lighthouse Map).

“Where is the nearest lighthouse?” “How long will it take to visit a lighthouse?” “Can we go up in a lighthouse?”

These and other questions are routinely asked by guests at Brewster House Bed & Breakfast in Freeport. A couple of years ago we wrote an article introducing some of our favorite lighthouses, and our Maine lighthouse map.

 

As you can see from the small version of the Maine lighthouse map, above, there are actually a number of lighthouses not far from our Freeport Maine bed and breakfast. The nearest ones you can see are off the coast just a little north on US-1, and can be seen from Harpswell Neck or from Bailey Island’s extreme end (called Land’s End), but neither is accessible without a boat. A bit farther up US-1, turning toward the coast from Bath, Maine, there are several small lighthouses along the Kennebec River, and can be seen from either side (from the road to Phippsburg, Maine, or from Georgetown Island), and then there are more lighthouses on islands offshore.

Similar to the smaller lighthouses elsewhere, Portland Harbor has two small lighthouses that can be visited, but the lighthouse most want to see in the Portland area is Portland Head Lighthouse. Commissioned by President George Washington, the lighthouse is the oldest in America, and is beautifully restored. The museum in the keeper’s house is very interesting, and provides wonderful insights into the life of the keeper, and area history. The park is a great place for a picnic, or to just while away the afternoon, watching kites overhead and sailboats on Casco Bay. You can only go up the tower at Portland Head on Maine Open Lighthouse Day, each year in September.

The nearest lighthouse where you can climb the tower is Pemaquid Point, near Bristol, Maine. It is about an hour from Brewster House, and is open whenever there is a volunteer available to assist you, seasonally. This lighthouse stands at the top of a rocky bluff, with ocean waves crashing on the rocks below, making a dramatic place to enjoy the lighthouse and the natural beauty of the area. As the map above indicates, there are many other lighthouses to explore, and quite a few of them are not far from our bed & breakfast. In fact, our Lighthouse Tour special will help you find your way to several of them!

Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast

Lighthouses in Maine: Tour (Part 1)

June 15, 2011 by Scott Gile

At our Freeport Maine Bed & Breakfast we’ve recently seen quite a few bookings for our specials and packages, especially our Maine Lighthouse Tour package. What is the attraction? Let’s see if we can find out.

First of all, there are over 60 lighthouses in Maine (check out our Maine Lighthouse Map for the locations), so seeing all of them in a day is somewhat challenging – especially when you consider that some are well off-shore! So we’ve made some hard choices, and come up with a tour that will take all day if you do it all, but will take you to seven lighthouses (and you’ll pass tantalizingly close to a few more), and some of the most beautiful and dramatic views along the Maine coast.

Portland Head Light

We begin by getting on Interstate 295 in Freeport, and heading south toward Portland. We’ll exit at Forest Avenue, wind through town a bit, cross the Casco Bay Bridge, and navigate through the beautiful and stately old homes of Cape Elizabeth, until we reach Fort Williams Park. Entering the park (Free Admission!!), we pass old barracks, a playground, the parade ground, and park near the gun battery. We can explore the grounds, including the old stone house, and another fort, or sit on a hill overlooking the lighthouse, watching kites and sailboats. Portland Head was originally commissioned in 1785 and first lighted in 1790. There is a nice museum in the keeper’s house.

Cape Elizabeth Light (Two Lights)



Turning left as we leave the park, we’ll make our way through Cape Elizabeth to the road which leads to Two Lights State Park, but rather than going into the park, we’ll pass it by and go to the end of the road, where we can see the twin lighthouses known as “Two Lights,” built in 1828. If there’s room, we’ll park in the dirt lot at the end of the road, then walk out the rocks to get a good look back at the towers, and, if the weather is clear, back down the coast to Portland Head Light. Climbing a small bluff, where Two Lights Lobster Shack is located, there is a great view of the lighthouses, and also out across the bay.

Cape Neddick Light (The Nubble)

We have a choice of returning to US-1 to continue south, or getting on Interstate 295/95, but in either case we’ll want to get back to US-1 at Biddeford, then take the drive from Kennebunk to Kennebunkport on Route 35. This pretty drive goes past some beautiful old homes with interesting histories. If you like, you can also take a small detour to Cape Porpoise, hidden away just above Kennebunkport, and home of Goat Island Light, just offshore.

Continuing back to US-1 from Kennebunkport, you pass through several interesting towns – Wells, Ogunquit, York and York Beach, before winding toward the sea and Cape Neddick Lighthouse, built in 1879 (which, interestingly enough, is located in York Beach, not the town of Cape Neddick). The lighthouse is located just offshore on a rocky island, hence the nickname “The Nubble.” The keeper used to cross via boat (and it could be waded at low tide, but that was treacherous, until a gondola and cable system was installed.

Cape Neddick Lighthouse is lighted in white lights at Christmas, but since many who visit there choose to come in warmer weather and would otherwise never see its decoration, it is lighted again for the month of July each year.

In our next installment, we’ll head north of Brewster House to see more lighthouses!

Christmas season is underway in Freeport!

December 7, 2010 by Scott Gile

Portland Head Lighthouse

As always, the Christmas season kicked off this year with Sparkle weekend – the first weekend in December. L.L. Bean had lighted their huge Christmas tree a week or so beforehand, with the beginning of their annual Northern Lights Celebration.

Sparkle starts with a parade, with Santa Claus arriving on a Lobster Boat, all the shops and B&B’s are decorated with lights, and there are sales and activities for all ages.

Yesterday we had our first snow that lasted more than a few hours, so the Christmas spirit is in the air!

One of our favorite things to do is to visit some of the Maine lighthouses, to see them with their wintry snow coats! It is a completely different view to see them in winter, when we’re so accustomed to seeing them in warmer weather.

Give it a try! You’ll enjoy your visit, and the photos you can get are like nothing you’ll see in the summer months!

Let’s Look At Lighthouses! Portland Head Lighthouse

June 2, 2010 by Scott Gile

Portland Head Lighthouse is located in Fort Williams Park, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, less than half an hour drive from Brewster House Bed & Breakfast. It is easy to visit, in a local park, with free access and plenty of parking. The drive through Cape Elizabeth is enchanting, with a mix of old and newer homes, and glimpses of Casco Bay through the trees.

Portland Head Lighthouse (Maine)The setting for Maine’s Portland Head Lighthouse is dramatic, with its rocky coast and waves which sometimes lash the shore. The small coves to either side of the lighthouse make it a photographer’s dream come true – a site that is the epitome of Maine.

The location was the site of different forts, throughout US history and its wars, and now is a community park, with beach, trails, remains of the military installations and a stone house. The lighthouse itself is one of only four colonial era lighthouses whose tower has never been rebuilt. Commissioned in 1787 by George Washington, the lighthouse was first lit in January, 1791. The tower height has been changed more than once, but now stands 80 feet high, and 101 feet above water.

Portland Head Lighthouse, prior to 1891American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was born in Portland, was a frequent visitor, and Portland Head lighthouse is thought to be the inspiration for his 1849 poem, “The Lighthouse.”

On Christmas Eve in 1886 the British bark Annie C. MacGuire was shipwrecked in a terrible storm – so bad, lighthouse keeper Joseph Strout is reported to have said, that even Santa Claus was afraid to be out. The keeper’s family was able to help with a rescue and all aboard made it safely ashore.

Much of the history of Portland Head Lighthouse is on display in the small museum in the keeper’s house, which may be accessed for a nominal charge. The rest of the park is free, and is a popular location for picnics, kite-flying, wading, and hiking, all while watching the boats – sail and power – just offshore.

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