Maine's iconic coastal sentinels take center stage during Maine's 9th Annual Open Lighthouse Day to be held this year on Saturday, September 9. Twenty-five lighthouses will be open to the public throughout the state offering free entry for visitors on this one day. This popular family-friendly event, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, draws between 15,000 to 18,000 visitors annually with the unique opportunity to explore Maine's historic lights and learn about the rich history of its lighthouses and lightkeepers.
|Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde|
"This event highlights not only Maine's heritage, but the spirit of the Maine people. Every lighthouse comes with stories of faithful service, and in many cases heroism," said Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism. "Maine's pride in our maritime history can be seen in the dedication of the many local volunteers and "friends" who maintain these significant historic structures."
With more coastal lighthouses than anywhere else in the nation, Maine is often referred to as "The Lighthouse State." Beginning in 1791, lighthouses were built to help navigate mariners through dangerous waters and Maine's many small islands, ledges and shoals. By the turn of the 20th century, at least 70 lighthouses guarded Maine's seacoast, deepest rivers and even one lake. Today, 66 of these lighthouses still stand. Over the decades, Maine's iconic lighthouses have become more than simply navigational aids. They also beckon the general public to come near and enjoy the beauty, romance and history embodied by these timeless sentinels of the sea.
"The public looks forward with great anticipation to this event each year...a time when the beauty and allure of Maine's lighthouses 'shines' its brightest," said Bob Trapani, Jr., American Lighthouse Foundation executive director." This fun-filled event may showcase our state's historic sentinels like no other day of the year, but it also points the way to the charm of Maine's coastal communities and enchanting islands. Such grand experiences will not only prove to be memorable...the memories will last a lifetime!"
Many of Maine's lighthouses can be seen with ground visitation, some only by boat. Participating lighthouses will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during Maine Open Lighthouse Day unless otherwise noted. Entry to lighthouses and lighthouse tours are free, with donations optional. Some parking and transportation costs to lighthouses are additional.
For details and map of the 2017 participating sites and attractions visit lighthousefoundation.org/maine-open-lighthouse-day/.
Exhibits at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland and the new "Into the Lantern" exhibit which opened this summer at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath offer a year-round exploration of the history of Maine's lights.
Mainers and visitors planning a weekend getaway or longer vacation in coordination with the event can check out associated itineraries and packages near participating lighthouses by going online to visitmaine.com and searching "Lighthouse Day."
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