New Jersey lighthouse trip

While I was checking out lighthouses on my Annapolis trip earlier in the month, I heard about a weekend lighthouse event in New Jersey in the middle of October where several lighthouses will be open to the public. As I was doing research on it, I came across a boat cruise that visited 9 lighthouses along the coastlines of New Jersey and Delaware on the Delaware Bay. The next one was the last weekend in August, so I decided to book it and plan my own Jersey lighthouse weekend. And that is exactly what I did this past Saturday, as I flew into Atlantic City Friday night. After staying the night in North Wildwood, I hit the beach and boardwalk there Saturday morning before heading over to my first light, Hereford Inlet.

I then drove south to Cape May where I boarded the boat for the 7 hour trip. Our first light was Ship John Shoal, which was the furthest light on the trip. We then slowly made our way back, stopping by the Elbow of Cross Ledge light next. The original tower is gone and all that is standing is a tower frame covered with birds. That’s more than the following light, Cross Ledge, which no longer exists except for the base, after being burned by the Coast Guard in 1962. The next light was the Miah Maull Shoal light, which was very similar to the Ship John one. As we continued along the bay, the next light, Fourteen Foot Bank, was on the Delaware side. Back on the Jersey side was the Brandywine Shoal light, the personal favorite of the captain. After a little ways, we crossed back into Delaware waters and cruised by the Delaware Breakwater and Harbor of Refuge lights.

Our last light was the Cape May lighthouse, which I was first at back in 1996. Whereas all the previous lights we visited were in the water, the Cape May one is on land. And after we docked, I then drove down to the Cape May light to go back up in it 14 years after I lasted climbed it. I wanted to stay in Cape May a bit longer as it is quite a cute town but I made my way to my last light of the day, East Point near Heislerville. The lighthouse wasn’t open but the bugs were definitely happy to greet me. I had an unexpectedly pleasant surprise as I was treated to a beautiful sunset on the bay. I then drove 2 hours north to South Amboy where I stayed the night.

I got up early Sunday morning and made my way to Raritan Bay Waterfront Park, where I was to see the Great Beds light out in the water. I then headed east to the Gateway National Recreation Area and the Sandy Hook lighthouse. I got there too early to climb it but I did get in some hiking around the area and explored Fort Hancock for a bit. As I drove off the island, I got some great hillside views of my next lighthouse, Navesink. Also known as the Twin lights, these fascinating lights almost looked like a castle and the view from the hilltop was gorgeous. I did get to climb one of the lights, but I almost couldn’t find the next light in Sea Girt. I got lost a few times but finally figured out where it was. Unfortunately, there was no parking available to get out and explore, and I was only able to get one picture of it from my car.

However, the next light made up for it, as I got to climb the cool Barnegat Lighthouse on Long Beach Island. I then made my way further south over to Tuckerton to the replica of the Tucker’s Beach lighthouse at the Tuckerton Seaport. I thoroughly enjoyed the walking tour of the marina and the surrounding historic buildings and even got to go to the top of the light. I was particularly fascinated by the pictures of the original lighthouse falling into the water in 1927. My last light and stop of the trip was the Absecon light in Atlantic City. I found it very odd and strangely cool seeing a lighthouse in the middle of a city surrounded by buildings. It definitely made for a great and unique ending to an incredible trip. And the weather couldn’t have been nicer as I landed back in rainy south Florida.

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