TREMONT — The state of Maine’s 7th Annual Open Lighthouse Day will take place on Saturday, Sept. 12. More than two dozen lighthouses across the state will be open to visitors free of charge.
In the Mount Desert Island area, the lighthouse at Bass Harbor Head in Tremont and the Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse on Swans Island will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At Bass Harbor Head, only the light tower will be open. The house is a private residence.
On Swans Island, both the light and keeper’s house will be open. There are special exhibits in the keeper’s house.
The Little River Light offshore of Cutler, Dyce Head Lighthouse in Castine and the West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec also will be open.
The popular event, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, draws between 15,000 and 18,000 visitors annually.
The largest effort of its kind organized within the United States, Open Lighthouse Day is a family activity intended to help increase awareness of Maine’s maritime heritage and teach visitors about the rich history of its lighthouses and light keepers. All lighthouses will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Special packages, promotions and celebratory activities also are available in partnership with hotels and other attractions.
For Lighthouse Day, admission to all participating lighthouses and tours is free. Some parking and transportation costs to lighthouses are additional.
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 around 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, 65 of these lighthouses still stand.
“The public really looks forward to this event each year,” said Bob Trapani Jr., American Lighthouse Foundation executive director. “Though lighthouses are the stars of Open Lighthouse Day, visitors also enjoy basking in the beauty of the Maine coast, which uniquely embraces each sentinel. You can’t beat it for a fun-filled family experience!”
Other participating Maine lighthouses include Burnt Island Lighthouse offshore of Boothbay Harbor; Curtis Island Lighthouse offshore of Camden; Doubling Point Lighthouse, Arrowsic, (Kennebec River); Fort Point Lighthouse, Stockton Springs; Cape Porpoise offshore; Grindle Point Lighthouse offshore of Islesboro; Kennebec River Range Front & Rear Lights, Arrowsic; Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde; Monhegan Island Lighthouse; Owls Head Lighthouse; Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Bristol; Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, South Portland; Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth; Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse; Seguin Island Lighthouse offshore of Popham Beach; Spring Point Lighthouse, South Portland; and Wood Island Lighthouse, offshore of Biddeford Pool.