Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Season for New England Lighthouse Tours

I'm now gearing up for a new season of New England Lighthouse Tours.

The tours are in a minivan, with no more than 5 passengers. My primary offering, a “Lighthouses of Portsmouth and Portland Tour,” includes the two lighthouses that are photographed more than any others in New England: Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and the Cape Neddick “Nubble” Light in York, Maine. At Portland Head, tour goers also explore the museum in the former keeper’s house.

The tours also include Spring Point Ledge Light and Portland Breakwater Light, both in South Portland, Maine, and Portsmouth Harbor Light in New Castle, New Hampshire. Participants get to climb to the top of Portsmouth Harbor Light to see the still-working nineteenth century lens up close, and to enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in the New Hampshire Seacoast region.

Lunch on the tours, included in the $99 per person ($59 for children) price, is at Joe’s Boathouse, located at the Spring Point Marina in South Portland. Also included is a shopping stop at Lighthouse Depot in Wells, Maine, renowned as “the world’s largest lighthouse gift store.” There are also smaller gift shops at Portland Head and Cape Neddick.

During the tours, I enjoy telling about the human history of the lighthouses and the keepers, but I try not to overwhelm people with endless facts and statistics. I find that the average person is most interested in what it was like for keepers and their families to live at these fascinating places.

While most of the people who have taken the tours so far have been from other parts of the country, I'm hoping this year’s tours might attract more local people. This is a great way to have a fun day out, visiting some of the most beautiful locations in the Northeast while letting someone else worry about the driving. A number of people have given my tours as birthday or anniversary presents, which I think is a wonderful idea.

The tours begin and end at the parking garage on Hanover Street in downtown Portsmouth. I've scheduled about 50 tour dates between late May and late October. You can read more at or you can call (603) 431-9155.