Lighthouses by Land

With the clock heading into the late afternoon it was time to see if I could find my way back to Portland Head Light. I wondered if I could get an evening picture. The weather report had said there was a storm coming but you’d never know it by looking at the blue sky and sunshine of late afternoon.

My path took me over “The Bridge” . The Bridge is a wide span that takes you over to Cape Elizabeth.

The view from the bridge of Casco Bay is great. I got a good look when I was on the trolley tour but driving was a different story.

Especially driving during “rush hour”. I admit Portland’s rush hour isn’t anything like Boston’s. Boston’s rush hour is more congested, stop and go, a  tough on the brakes kind of drive. On a bad night it can take hours to get from one end of the expressway (AKA distressway) to the other. On the other hand being on “The Bridge” in Portland during rush hour has earned the name “Rush”. I  felt like I was  driving in the Indie 500. Cars were flying by me like I was standing still!  I checked and I was doing the speed limit which was plenty fast for someone who doesn’t know the road.

Once off “The Bridge” I was doing pretty good from memory until I hit a large intersection that I didn’t remember from the trolley tour. I made my best guess and of course, it was wrong. After a few more tries I was hopelessly twisted around. Time to break out the trusty GPS. Back on track I finally pulled into Fort Williams Park and Portland Head Light. Even getting twisted around it was way too early for the photo I was trying to get. So I decided to back track and see if I could find the lighthouses I’d seen from the “Sea” part of the Land and Sea Tour.

Since I didn’t have an address I couldn’t use the GPS and was left to my own devices. It wasn’t too long before I found a lovely park and there was Portland Breakwater Light  in the distance.

There was a parking attendant but she really only gave me directions. She pointed out another entrance to the park and told me to drive down that and it would take me much closer to the lighthouse. Success! I could walk the large rocks of the breakwater right up to the “Bug” light.

This is really a cute lighthouse. It’s classical Greek Styling combined with its short stature (the tower is only 13 ft tall) makes this little lighthouse look like it belongs on a chess board.

After exploring the light I spotted another interesting structure. It was a giant hull of a boat with ribs exposed. I’d seen this on the boat tour as well but up close it was enormous. It’s a monument to the men and women that worked in the shipyards that built the vessels for the war effort in World War II. This is the Monument to the South Portland Liberty Ships. It was building ships like these that made Rosie the Riveter and Wendy the Welder household names.

Beyond the “ship” I could just see the Spring Point Ledge Light so I headed back to the car to see if I could find my way to that lighthouse. Several bumps and turns later I was pulling into the Portland Harbor Museum parking lot. To reach the lighthouse you walk through the ruins of an old fort, climb a short set of stairs and there you are.

The breakwater stretches out before you, at the end, another “spark plug” of a lighthouse.

This  one much more simple without the Greek frills.  The design of this lighthouse was intended to help it survive the gale force winds , high water and pressure from winter ice floes.

I sat on the steps leading down to the breakwater watching the boats sail past and the sun sink toward the horizon. It was time to head back to Portland Head light.

Posted in lighthouses, Maine, Travel and tagged , , , .