My parents and I did the Long Island Lighthouse Challenge last May. We enjoyed it immensely, except for the horrific traffic getting to and from Long Island. We missed the Maryland one due to me being in Philadelphia at the time. This weekend we’re doing the New Jersey Challenge.
Our first stop was Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse in Paulsboro, on the Delaware River across from Philadelphia. It’s a steel tower light and one of the volunteers explained how it’s used by pilots in the river in conjunction with a forward range light to stay in the center of the channel. The top of the tower gave a great view of Philadelphia, including the airport.
The second lighthouse, Finns Point Range Lighthouse in Pennsville, is also a steel tower, almost identical in appearance to Tinicum. It’s a part of the Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and used to guide ships between the Delaware Bay and River.
East Point Lighthouse in Heislerville on Delaware Bay was our third stop. My mom and I were going to take the tour and go to the top (it’s not very tall), but the line was long and didn’t seem to be moving. We gave up, since we were behind where we wanted to be at the time, and left.
Next was Cape May Lighthouse. It was a good climb, although I of course had to do it myself, since my parents are getting on. I think my parents had been to it before, since they have vacationed in Cape May in the past. It’s a nice little town, I wouldn’t mind visiting it again and spending more time. There’s a nice beach near the lighthouse, which is in a state park. The next stop was not a lighthouse at all, but Cape May County Historical Museum in Cape May Court House. The reason? They have the first-order Fresnel lens from the Cape May Lighthouse. Those first-order lenses are humongous…
Hereford Inlet Lighthouse was the next stop, in North Wildwood. It’s a Victorian style lighthouse and looks very similar to Point Fermin Lighthouse, which we visited in July in San Pedro, CA. Wildwood was pretty sparse of people, but there were hardly any parking spots around Hereford Inlet. All the lighthouse goers were clogging up the place!
Late afternoon took us to Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City. Man, it is a bitch to get there! The traffic in that town is awful. I’m returning to Atlantic City in a couple of weeks for another Nine Inch Nails show but I definitely don’t like the looks of the place. It’s the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey. I took the climb in stages.
We considered ending the day after Absecon, but since the next lighthouse, Tucker’s Island in Tuckerton, was open for night climbs, we decided to cross it off our list before heading to our Saturday night hotel. It’s located in one of those “historic” seaports. Can’t speak to the quality of that, since it was dark. But it was interesting to see one of the lighthouses outside of normal hours.
It looked to be a chilly, but sunny, day at the beginning but it clouded up and even rained a little. Hopefully tomorrow will be an improvement.