Can’t miss this one: Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light standing firmly on rocky Maine shore

Portland Head Light standing firmly on rocky Maine shore

Although we’d seen Portland Head Light once before, we looked forward to visiting what we think of as the granddaddy of lighthouses along the Maine coast.  Of course, that’s not accurate — just our impression.  After purchasing a book called The Islandport Guide to Lighthouses in Maine by Ted Panayotoff (sold in the Portland Museum of Art gift shop), we read accounts of 64 lighthouses and found that most aren’t visible from shore.  So, to us, Portland Head is not only stately, but, with its commanding presence and height, is also the grandest in Acadia.

View from the walkway: Portland Head Light, Portland, ME

View from the walkway: Portland Head Light, Portland, ME

Just so you’ll know:

  • Location:  in Fort Williams State Park on Shore Road just a couple of miles from Portland
  • Completed:  1790
  • First lighthouse keeper: Joseph Greenleaf, appointed by President George Washington
  • Tower:  about 80 feet tall
  • Automation:  1989 — the end of an era when the last of the third generation Strout lighthouse keepers who had served for 59 years left the lighthouse
  • Museum:  The town of Cape Elizabeth leased light station from Coast Guard and opened a museum in the keeper’s quarters in 1990.
  • Open — grounds and museum are open in season; lighthouse is accessible only for Maine Open Lighthouse Day in September

The simple, elegant tower is appealing to all . . .

Portland Head Light

Simply white: Portland Head Light

as are the green signature color and red roofs on the museum.

Shopkeeper's quarters turned museum at Portland Head Light

Shopkeeper’s quarters turned museum at Portland Head Light

And the view from the side is the best introduction you’ll get of the rocky Maine coast.

Classic view of the Maine coast from Portland Head Light

Classic view of the Maine coast from Portland Head Light

Definitely worth a visit:  Portland Head Light.

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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13 Responses to Can’t miss this one: Portland Head Light

  1. Rusha, anytime I visit a lighthouse I can’t help but think what a lonely life it must have been for the keeper and his family. They’re always surrounded by beach houses today, but when many of them were built they were in the boonies. I’m sure there must be lots of lighthouse, gone-crazy/murder books out there. ~ James

    • We think about being lighthouse keepers every now and then, and then we dismiss the idea quickly. Not sure we have the constitution for it. And would probably be busy reading or taking pictures and forget to check the statistics required of lighthouse keepers. So, I guess we’ll just have to be tourists. Good to hear from you.

  2. A magnificent light house with a great setting. Good photos. Thanks Rusha. –Curt

  3. kzmcb says:

    I do like a good lighthouse! Pleasantly situated, as well.

  4. Tvor says:

    We visited there a couple of years ago on a beautiful morning. Views were indeed spectacular

  5. Definitely worth a visit. 🙂 You can get up close and personal. We’ve enjoyed many a lovely picnic in the area.

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