Forty-ninth Lighthouse Expedition

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[edit] September 13 - 17, 2007 -- Chesapeake Bay & Maryland Lighthouse Challenge

[edit] September 13, 2007, Thursday

8:15 am

We left home.

9:25 am

We crossed the Michigan/Ohio State line and were on the Ohio Turnpike at 9:45.

12:20 pm

We stopped for lunch at McDonalds.

12:45 pm

We crossed the Ohio/Pennsylvania State Line. We had a few stops along the way for gas, etc. There was a beautiful stretch of road once we got off the turnpike along I-70 before getting in to Maryland. We stopped at a "vista" and we could see farmland for miles below.

4:05 pm

We crossed into Maryland.

6:00 pm

We reached the Best Western Motel in Annapolis and had dinner at an Outback restaurant.

7:30 pm

We returned to the motel.

[edit] September 14, 2007, Friday

8:00 am

We had breakfast at the motel and left at 8:45.

9:10 am

We arrived at the US Naval Academy and took the 9:30 walking tour which lasted just over an hour. It was very interesting. The Academy was established in 1850. There are 4,200 midshipmen and 600 faculty members. There are nineteen academic majors all leading to bachelor of science degrees. We saw the Lejeune Physical Education Center, which included the Athletic Hall of Fame; Bancroft Hall with a beautiful Rotunda and Memorial Hall and a sample of a midshipmen's room. This is the 2nd largest dormitory in the world. We went to the Crypt area under the Chapel and saw the crypt of John Paul Jones, considered one of the greatest Revolutionary War Heroes, along with several others. His remains were in France until 1905 when they were brought to the United States by the U.S. Ambassador to France. We visited the Naval Academy Museum in Preble Hall that has a Gallery of Ships featuring spectacular models constructed of bone and wood from the 17th century to modern times. The grounds were beautiful and there were many monuments throughout. Our one disappointment was not being able to visit the chapel as a funeral was taking place, but then it wasn't our funeral, so that was good. We walked around the grounds a little more and then stopped at the gift shop before leaving at 11:20.

11:40 am

We were fortunate to find parking in a garage in downtown Annapolis with an empty parking space. We walked to the Maryland State House. This building was the Capitol of the United Sates from November 26, 1783 until August 13, 1784. It is the oldest in the nation still in legislative use. General George Washington resigned his commission before the Continental Congress here on December 23, 1783. On January 14, 1784 Congress ratified the treaty of Paris to end the Revolutionary War and on May 7, 1784 appointed Thomas Jefferson Minister Plenipotentiary. From there on September 14, 1786, the Annapolis Convention issued the call to the States that led to the Constitutional Convention. We briefly toured the inside of the building.

12:10 pm

We had lunch at the Potato Valley Café at the corner of State Circle and Cornhill St. We choose a table outside as it was a nice day.

12:25 pm

We left the Café and started walking through town. We stopped along the way for ice cream. We were given the wrong dock information by Watermark Tours! We then had a long walk to the Annapolis City Marina (over a long bridge) and when we got there found parking right next to the Marina!

1:20 pm

Having arrived at the correct dock, we found several others waiting for the Chesapeake Bay boat tour. Among those were several we had met on former trips with the USLHS.

2:20 pm

The boat left the dock. Tony & Alma Pasak, whom we met on the Pacific Northwest trip, are members of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the USLHS and helped organize the boat trip. We had a beautiful seaside view of downtown Annapolis and the Naval Academy.

2:30 pm

We reached our first lighthouse of the trip, well almost. We saw the screw pile ruins of the Green Bay Shoal Point Light that are still visible out in the water. Tony Pasak narrated the trip. He gave us some interesting information while we cruised along. There are 8,000 miles of Maryland shoreline. Originally there were 75 lighthouses built between 1824-1908, but only 34 remain. Twenty-three are still active today.

3:00 pm

After going under the Bay Bridge we reached the Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse off the point of Sandy Point State Park. The present three–story 51-foot tall red brick dwelling with white roof was constructed in 1883. In 2002 the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2006 it was sold privately at auction.

3:20 pm

We reached the Baltimore Lighthouse. It is in 22 feet of water and is at the entrance of the Magothy River in the south entrance to Craighill Channel and was the last conventional lighthouse built on Chesapeake Bay. In 2002 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

4:15 pm

After crossing back under the Bay Bridge, we reached the Thomas Point Shoal Light, located 1.25 miles east of Thomas Point. The Chesapeake Chapter of the USLHS purchased this light and it is currently under renovation. Thomas Point was the last manned lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay. In 1999 it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. The management of the lighthouse was transferred from the Department of the Interior to a consortium led by the Chesapeake Chapter and the Annapolis Maritime Museum.

5:00 pm

We docked back at the marina and took a water taxi to the city dock to avoid the long walk. Well worth the $4.00!

5:10 pm

We arrived back at the city dock, walked back to the parking garage and left downtown Annapolis.

6:05 pm

We had dinner at the Double T Diner and returned to the Best Western just as it started to rain.

[edit] September 15, 2007, Saturday

The Challenge Begins.

The Challenge is a week-end long adventure, up and down the Maryland coast, to see all of the land-based lighthouses. It is sponsored by the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, and this was the 5th annual one. You can start at any one of the lighthouses. For each lighthouse visited, there is a special commemorative magnet. Volunteers are at each location on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and are there to greet and assist. There is a special magnet for those who "meet the Challenge" and visit all the participating lights! There are nine lighthouses and one lightship, all located at beautiful Chesapeake Bay area locations. Some lighthouses are open and visitors will be able to climb some of them. There was a special magnet for those who took the boat cruise on Friday evening.

8:15 am

After breakfast we checked out of the Best Western and left for the Challenge. It had stopped raining, but was still overcast.

8:50 am

We arrived in downtown Baltimore at the Pier V parking structure. We walked out onto the pier where the Seven Foot Knoll Light was moved in 1988. This barn red structure was the first screwpile light to be built in Maryland and established in 1855. Artist Donna Elias and her husband, Nick, were manning this light. Donna had many of her paintings on display and we purchased a print of the lighthouses of the Chesapeake Challenge. We had met them on the boat cruise on Friday. From there we walked to the Chesapeake Lightship. This ship was built in 1929 and decommissioned in 1971. It was launched in 1930 and was located at the north entrance of the Cape Cod Canal to protect the port of Boston. The ship was transferred to the National Park Service in 1971.

9:40 am

We returned to the parking structure and left downtown Baltimore.

10:35 am

We arrived at the Concord Point Lighthouse in Harve de Grace on the Susquehanna River. It is the second oldest tower lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. It was established in 1827 and deactivated in 1975. We climbed the 37 steps of the tower and visited the gift shop in the old keeper's dwelling across the street and left at 11:10.

11:35 am

We paid the toll on the bridge and after getting through bumper to bumper traffic in Harve de Grace, we were on our way to the next light. The sun came out but it was breezy near the water.

12:00 pm

We reached the parking lot at Elk Neck State Park for the shuttle to the Turkey Point Lighthouse and left 10 minutes later. We were dropped off at 12:15 and started walking along the path rather than waiting for a van.

12:30 pm

We reached the Turkey Point Lighthouse and since Don was the 200th visitor that day he received a Harbor Lights, This Little Light of Mine replica of Thomas Point! Turkey Point is located at the Elk River entrance of Chesapeake Bay. It was established in 1833 and deactivated in 2000. It was the home of the last woman lighthouse keeper, Fannie Mae Salter, and was tended by more women keepers than any other lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay. It is a beautiful white conical tower on a 100-foot bluff.

12:45 pm

We started to walk, but a van was available so we rode back to the parking area to wait for the bus. A Boy Scout troop was selling hotdogs, chips and pop, so we had our lunch while we waited.

1:10 pm

We took the bus back to the parking area. Our bus driver said it was 3.4 miles from the parking lot to the drop off area and he had made 28 trips so far that day.

1:30 pm

We left Elk Neck State Park.

3:25 pm

We arrived at Hooper Strait Lighthouse in St. Michaels. It has turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day. This screwpile light was built in 1877. It was scheduled for destruction in 1966 but was acquired by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and moved to this location. We were able to tour the lighthouse and look out across the beautiful bay. Tents were set up on the grounds for a wedding reception later in the day.

4:15 pm

We left and drove across the bay to get additional pictures of Hooper Strait and we left a few minutes later.

4:50 pm

We left the town of St. Michaels. We called ahead to make motel reservations in the town of Waldorf. We had called many, many places and there were no vacancies! We felt lucky to find a place to stay for the night even if it was not along the coast.

5:40 pm

We crossed over the Bay Bridge, the same one we went under on the boat cruise on Friday. We could see Sandy Point and Baltimore lighthouses out in the water.

6:05 pm

We had dinner at a Bob Evans just south of 50/301 and 301.

7:20 pm

We arrived in the town of Waldorf. As we traveled along we noticed there was no electric power and there were no lights on in buildings along the highway for miles. Fortunately the lights were back on just before we reached the Holiday Inn! We checked in and were happy we had chosen a place that had electricity!

[edit] September 16, 2007, Sunday

7:50 am

We left the Holiday Inn in Waldorf. Sunny but cool this morning.

7:55 am

We had breakfast at McDonalds and left at 8:05.

8:50 am

We arrived at the Calvert Marine Museum and the Drum Point Lighthouse. We toured the screwpile light which had been moved ashore. This light was established in 1883, deactivated in 1962 and moved to this location in 1975. It was originally located on the Patuxent River. This light has been beautifully restored. Bill Younger of Harbor Lights was at the Museum and signed the Thomas Point replica Don won yesterday. We also bought some gifts for family in their gift shop.

9:15 am

From the Calvert Marine Museum we took the shuttle bus for Cove Point Lighthouse. This light is located on a beautiful peninsula and we could look a long ways out into the bay. Cove Point was established in 1828 and automated in 1986. It is a beautiful while conical tower with a large keeper's dwelling.

10:00 am

We took the shuttle and arrived back at the Calvert Marine Museum. We left there and drove to the other side of the bay for additional pictures and left at 10:35.

11:20 am

We arrived at Point Lookout Lighthouse in Scotland, MD at the mouth of the Potomac River. Don climbed the tower and Diana found a flat penny machine for Hayden's penny collection. Laura Berg, the last person to live in the lighthouse from 1969 to 1981, was at the light and had photo albums showing the house prior to it being unoccupied and vandalized. The home is a large two family dwelling at the tip of a point with Chesapeake Bay on one side and the Potomac River on the other. This station was established in 1830 with the current dwelling rebuilt in 1883 and deactivated in 1965.

11:50 am

We left Point Lookout.

12:15 pm

As we were driving along a road to find the shore line, our car was attacked by large bugs. We could see Point No Point out in the water, but we didn't want to get out of the car! We eventually took pictures through the windshield and left! Point No Point Lighthouse is located two miles from the western shore of Chesapeake Bay, and six miles north of Point Lookout at the entrance to the Potomac River. After several problems with construction, the light was completed in 1905. While this light could be seen off shore, it was not part of the Challenge.

12:55 pm

We arrived at the Piney Point Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on the Potomac River. We climbed the 31 steps in the tower. The light was established in 1836 and deactivated in 1964. In 1980 the Coast Guard transferred ownership to the Saint Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks. They have done a wonderful job of maintaining the park area, the tower and keepers dwelling.

1:40 pm

We left Piney Point Lighthouse.

2:05 pm

We had lunch at a McDonald's in Leonardville and left at 2:20.

3:20 pm

We arrived at the Fort Washington National Park and walked to the lighthouse. Fort Washington Lighthouse was established in 1857 and is located on the Potomac River. At that time is was nothing more than a light on an 18.5 foot iron pole! The conical tower was erected in 1882 and the keeper's house was built the following year. This is still an active light. We had officially completed the Challenge and had collected all the magnets! Since we completed the challenge, the volunteers from the Chesapeake Chapter took our picture on the steps of the lighthouse.

4:15 pm

We left Fort Washington.

4:30 pm

We crossed the Maryland/Virginia state line.

4:40 pm

Another light not on the challenge, but close enough to want to photograph was the Jones Point Lighthouse, part of Jones Point Park in Alexandria, VA. Due to road construction we had a difficult time finding a place to park and had a long walk under a bridge construction area to get to the lighthouse. Jones Point Light was built in 1855, and is the oldest surviving inland lighthouse in the United States. It is a small, one-story house with a lantern on top. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1926. After being dark for more than half a century, Jones Point Light was relit in 1995 by a private concern.

5:10 pm

We returned to the car and spent about ten minutes with the GPS to determine the best route to start our trip home.

5:45 pm

We crossed the Virginia/Maryland state line and the Potomac River.

6:35 pm

We arrived at the Hampton Inn in Hagerstown, Maryland. After checking in we went to the Richardson's Family Restaurant and found our first Dairy Queen of the trip. Finally!

8:15 pm

We returned to the Hampton Inn.

[edit] September 17, 2007, Monday

7:30 am

We left the Hampton Inn in Hagerstown, MD after breakfast.

8:05 am

We stopped at an overlook area along I-68 in northern Maryland. While still a little hazy, the view was beautiful. The drive through this part of Maryland is especially pretty!

8:55 am

We crossed the Eastern Continental Divide. Elevation was 2610 feet.

9:15 am

We crossed the Maryland/West Virginia state line.

10:10 am

We crossed the West Virginia/Pennsylvania state line.

11:00 am

We crossed the Pennsylvania/West Virginia state line. (We traveled in and out of West Virginia twice and were only in the state for 42 miles.)

11:25 am

Due to a stop at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, our stay in West Virginia lasted much longer than just driving 42 miles! We crossed the West Virginia/ Ohio state line.

12:20 pm

We picked up lunch at a McDonalds at an exit along I-70.

1:20 pm

We reached I-270 in Columbus, Ohio and headed north.

1:40 pm

We had a brief stop for gas and left at 2:00

4:05 pm

We crossed the Ohio/Michigan State line.

5:35 pm

We drove past our condo to pick up a pizza at Little Caesars and arrived home at 5:45.

Special thanks to the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society for organizing this 5th Annual Maryland Lighthouse Challenge. We also want to thank the many volunteers who manned and organized the various lighthouses that were open for our enjoyment. We had a great time!

Trip Totals: 14 Lighthouses + 1 Lightship, 1684 Miles, 5 days.

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Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey

Conceived and Developed by David S. Carter
Photographs by Donald W. Carter
Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter

Copyright © 1995-2011 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.

This article was last modified on 6/6/2009.

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