Friday, August 10, 2012

East Point Lighthouse: A Lesser-Known New Jersey Lighthouse

 The design of this lighthouse pleases me. The two-story keeper's quarters below seem like they'd be pleasant enough, and the trip to the actual light would be easy enough even carrying a bucket of whale oil. It is isolated still with salt marsh and bay all around, ideal for a person who enjoys solitary pursuits such as writing, reading, sewing, photographing, blogging. Okay, so we don't use whale oil anymore, but we also don't have keepers living at the light. I'm just daydreaming, looking for my next big career.
East Point Lighthouse (1849)
 East Point Lighthouse is less than an hour north and west from Cape May in a car, and even less if you take a boat or plane. It's on the bayside, and was deemed necessary in 1849 to guide sailors into the Maurice River. It was called the Maurice River Lighthouse until 1913. In 1842 it was outfitted with a sixth-order Fresnel lens and received its modern lens in 1980. It is the second-oldest lighthouse in New Jersey (after Sandy Hook). The Maurice River Historical Society was formed in 1971 with the goal of restoring the lighthouse, and that renovation is still going on.

East Point Lighthouse from the other side

We did not get to climb this light as it is only open on the third Sunday of the month from 1:00-4:00 or some such limited hours. Instead, we walked around and shot photos of the building, the bay, and the marshy surroundings. We had an idea of a picnic, but ultimately ran to the car swatting at bugs: biting ones, ugly ones, invisible ones. Oh. My. Gosh. Don't forget the bug spray if you go. This place is why they invented bug spray.

My Ring-Necked Pheasant (and MINIwindshield wiper)

On a brighter note, as we were leaving we spotted a very distinctive game bird. We couldn't identify the thing (we specialize in shore birds) but later found it in the field guide: a Ring-Necked Pheasant. I didn't score a super-clear photo, but National Geographic did:

As I mentioned, East Point Lighthouse is situated near a marsh. I photographed this wooden structure on our previous trip when the grasses were brown (it was November), and here is how it looked this week (August).
Tumble-down shack in the marsh near the East Point Lighthouse

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