The last stop on our Coasting adventure was brief. Too brief. And, as it turned out, a bit of a mystery. We arrived in Amelia Island, Florida, early on a Friday afternoon, anxious to see as much as we could before heading home the next morning.
At a public access, we walked from the parking lot out to the beach. The view? Large, naturally rough sand dunes and a wide stretch of beach that looked even wider on a rather foggy afternoon. (Would love to know what the beach is like on a “crowded” day.)
Then off to find the third lighthouse on our tour, the Amelia Island Lighthouse. (Read about the lighthouses on Tybee Island and St. Augustine in our earlier posts.) And that’s where the mystery began.
We set the GPS for Lighthouse Road but with no luck. (We know now from this site to look for North Wolff Street.) Since we could see the lighthouse in the distance, we kept driving around until Lighthouse Road finally opened up in a subdivision. Between two houses. That’s right. No visitor lot. No signage. We wondered what was going on.
Traveling between the two houses on a short stretch took us to a locked gate. And that’s where the journey ended. We stared at this sign and went no further.
With no more information than what we are sharing here, we snapped a picture through the chain-link fence of the lighthouse, even with that pole of a tree obstructing our view. But try as we did, we couldn’t get a better shot since we couldn’t get past the gate.
One thing for sure: The Amelia Island Light is lovely. Standing tall in its white “clothing” only, the lighthouse looked old (and it is) and intriguing (and it is).
So here’s the limited information we found through an Internet search back home. No guarantees this is accurate. It’s the mystery we haven’t solved. But it’s better than nothing.
Just the facts we could find:
- It’s the oldest lighthouse in Florida located on Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach.
- Built in 1838-1839, it’s perched high on a bluff above Egan’s Creek.
- It’s only one of two remaining lighthouses in the state designed by Winslow Lewis, an American lighthouse builder.
- It’s a double-walled lighthouse — a “cone within a cone” — that stands 67 feet tall and houses a very rare granite staircase.
If you want to see Amelia Island Light . . .
- You must make a reservation in advance with Fernandina Beach Recreation Center located on Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina, by calling (904)310-3350.
- Tours are available only on the first and third Wednesdays, leaving the Rec Center promptly at 10:00. Tickets are $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for children under 12.
- Lighthouse tours don’t allow visitors to climb the stairs.
- Property tours are open to the public on Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
And that’s all we know about Amelia Island Lighthouse, a light that beckons from the locked gate — and probably looks better up close!
If you’ve been, leave us a comment about what you saw. This is one mystery we’d love to solve, but we’ll have to get to Amelia Island on a Wednesday!
Amelia Island Lighthouse Tours Fernandina Beach, September 16, 2010
For more posts in our Coasting series, click here.