Every year, I say I'm going to participate in the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge in October, and every year I don't. October is a very busy month for me, and I just can't seem to fit it in. This year, Fred, Gladys, and I decided to make our own challenge on Thanksgiving weekend. We thought we'd hit all the oceanside lighthouses from Sandy Hook in the north to Hereford Inlet (North Wildwood) in the south on Day One, hang out in Cape May for Day Two, and then travel north on starting at Cape May (at the confluence of the ocean and Delaware Bay), visiting the three bayside lighthouses. (That's the East Point Lighthouse in Heislerville, on the bay, at the top of this post.)
Unfortunately, Fred had to go to work on the morning of Day One, and I hadn't considered that the days are short and we'd lose daylight around 4:30. This was important because I had planned to photograph each lighthouse even if I didn't climb them. The Day One plan was spread over Day One and Day Two, and there was a lot of extra driving. On the positive side, we enjoyed traveling the Ocean Drive in the off-season through some of the shore towns we don't often visit. Gladys was thrilled that all of the lighthouses were dog-friendly this time of year except Hereford Inlet in North Wildwood. This is because they have a pretty awesome garden and prefer to regulate the fertilizer that goes in it.
So we visited the eleven lighthouses: Sandy Hook, Twin Lights (Navesink), Sea Girt, (Day One); Hereford Inlet, Absecon, Tucker's Island, Barnegat (Day Two); and Cape May, East Point, Finn's Point, and Tinicum (Day Three). I photographed all and climbed none. At the beginning, we borrowed the term 'challenge' for our adventure, but about halfway through changed that to 'crawl' (see the title of this post). Red and green words in this post are hyperlinks, by the way.
STUFF I LEARNED
- Sandy Hook is famous not merely for its nude beach, but also for its lighthouse, the oldest in the United States (1764) and occupied by the British during the Revolutionary War.
- The Absecon and Barnegat (pictured below) lighthouses were designed by the same engineer, Brigadeer General George Meade who later distinguished himself at the Battle of Gettysburg.
- The Absecon Lighthouse is only steps away from the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City, and is New Jersey's tallest lighthouse with 228 steps.
- The exoskeletal Finn's Point (pictured below) and and Tinicum lighthouses are rear range lighthouses, and each was used with another light. Ships' navigators would line up the two lights to make sure they were on course to enter a channel, river, or harbor.
- Cape May is still my favorite.