When you end up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, testing a lighthouse is a no brainer. And there’s this one lighthouse that’s probably crossed your path, whether or not you’re an area or not.
I’m speaking concerning the Nauset Lighthouse—the enduring beacon that graces the packaging of these scrumptious Cape Cod potato chips.
Under, I’ll dish out some cool tidbits about its very attention-grabbing historical past and throw in a number of pointers in your go to.
What’s the Nauset Lighthouse
The Nauset Lighthouse is probably probably the most iconic lighthouse in Cape Cod and all of Massachusetts. Its wealthy historical past goes again to 1836 and it’s additionally grow to be well-known for its look on the Cape Cod potato chip baggage. It’s a really accessible lighthouse and simple to go to making it a preferred vacationer attraction.
Nauset Lighthouse historical past
Like many different lighthouses dotting the shoreline, the Nauset Lighthouse had its roots in a collection of shipwrecks plaguing the realm. Again in 1836, Eastham residents had seen sufficient and determined to petition the Boston Marine Society for a beacon of security.
The preliminary mild station was multi-structure setup, that includes three 15-foot-high masonry towers, a brick keeper’s home, an outhouse, and a properly. It stood greater than 500 toes east of the place you’ll discover the lighthouse at the moment.
However because of the relentless forces of seashore erosion, the station needed to decide up and transfer westward not as soon as, however 4 instances. This complete “lighthouse shuffle” appears to be a recurring theme and we’ve realized about it as we’ve journeyed via Cape Cod, Martha’s Winery, and Nantucket.
Again in 1836, when the lighthouse station was set with three picket towers talked about above, erosion had its say, prompting a switcheroo in 1892. Out went the unique trio, changed by three sturdier 22-foot-high picket towers, charmingly dubbed “the Three Sisters of Nauset.”
Quick ahead to 1911, and the continued battle with erosion led to a different strategic transfer—actually. The middle tower stepped again from the bluff’s edge, whereas the flanking towers gracefully bowed out.
However don’t mourn their departure simply but. These towers discovered a brand new house about 1,000 toes down the street on Cable Street, the place they nonetheless stand tall at the moment.
The crimson and white tower that you just’re laying eyes on at the moment (that changed the three sisters) has had fairly the journey.
Initially inbuilt 1877 as one in all two towers in Chatham, it later launched into a relocation journey to Eastham in 1923. This cast-iron surprise is a plate shell lined with brick, reaching a top of 48 toes.
When it first discovered its spot, planners thought they’d the erosion scenario sorted by putting it a good way from the encroaching tides.
But, by 1996, it had edged inside a mere 40 toes of the coastal street. Slicing it a bit shut, I’d say. The answer? They picked it up and moved it throughout the road to the place it now proudly stands.
The enduring picket home standing shoulder to shoulder with the lighthouse was the second home to affix the celebration, constructed again in 1875. This keeper’s home has performed the relocation hustle not as soon as, however twice. First in 1923, after which once more in 1998.
And let’s not overlook concerning the little oil home, a classic gem constructed in 1891. It’s a traditional instance of the outbuildings that have been par for the course through the heyday of oil-fueled lighthouses.
Again within the day, the sunshine station used a number of completely different fuels. From spermaceti (the sperm whale oil, that made the whale trade so large within the 1800s), to rapeseed oil, lard oil, and finally kerosene—this place has witnessed fairly the evolution in illuminating know-how.
Associated: New Bedford Whaling Museum Assessment: An Absolute Gem
The place is the Nauset Lighthouse?
The Nauset Lighthouse is present in Eastham, Massachusetts at: 120 Nauset Gentle Seashore Rd, Eastham, MA 02642. That is on the southern portion of the “Outer Cape” and a part of the Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore so Nationwide Park guidelines apply right here.
Visiting the lighthouse
Throughout your go to, there’s a handy giant parking zone accessible. Have in mind, although, that summer time months have a tendency to attract crowds. We, nevertheless, opted for a November go to and encountered solely two different people all through, with the parking zone almost abandoned. Facilities embrace restrooms on the parking zone and, I imagine, a washing home, operational seasonally.
As soon as parked, a path runs alongside the fence from the place you possibly can simply navigate your option to the lighthouse.
This spot marks the trail of one of many preliminary cables linking Europe to North America. Spanning a staggering 3,000 miles, this transatlantic telegraph cable was a game-changer, enabling the swift transmission of messages on matters starting from wartime updates to pure disasters.
For a strong 24 years, it performed a pivotal position in slashing communication instances from weeks to mere seconds. Its reign, nevertheless, got here to an finish in 1903 with the appearance of wi-fi communication, providing a brand new period in speedy info alternate.
After making your means via the path, you’ll have a modest ascent up some steps, and voilà, you’re there. (Have in mind, not pets allowed.)
Take a second to peruse a number of interpretive panels providing insights into the lighthouse – it provides a significant dimension to the go to. Tower and oil home excursions can be found in the summertime, though regrettably, we have been unable to partake.
Should you’re aiming to snag a photograph resembling the one gracing these potato chip baggage, you’re in luck. Nonetheless, remember that a direct match could be a bit elusive. It appears they’ve spiced up the chip bag picture by including the ocean into the combination. Primarily, it’s a fusion of two views to amp up the packaging’s visible attraction.
To get that shot, take it from the south and experiment with completely different angles to seize a vibe just like the chip bag’s iconic view. One factor to notice: the lighthouse didn’t all the time sport that particular crimson stripe. Again within the Nineteen Forties, they jazzed up the highest part with a coat of crimson paint, creating the now-iconic look.
I’m all about snagging superior lighthouse pictures with my drone, however the Nationwide Park Service doesn’t play good with drones right here. It’s a little bit of a downer, however I get it. I’m on board with the no-drones coverage in nationwide parks. Regardless that the shoreline right here is fairly in depth, I assume guidelines are guidelines.
After soaking within the lighthouse vibes, take into account extending your coastal journey to Nauset Gentle Seashore. Look out for indicators guiding you there, then comply with the walkway down the bluff—it’s a manageable stroll for many.
Now, this seashore is a scenic slice of Cape Cod, nevertheless it’s been wrestling with some critical erosion points. Alongside the Outer Cape’s ocean-facing seashores, the typical erosion price is about three toes per yr.
However Nauset Gentle Seashore is an erosion “scorching spot,” shedding over 45 toes of bluff edge between 2012 and 2016. It’s wild to see photos of the 1960 parking zone which might now sitting submerged within the ocean!
However the actual showstoppers? Grey seals. You’ll catch these guys bobbing and diving within the surf, placing on fairly the leisure. Bear in mind to maintain a respectful 150-foot distance, particularly in the event that they’re lounging on the seashore.
And right here’s a heads up: swimming close to the seals won’t be the most effective plan, contemplating the native residents—nice white sharks. Oh, and people rip currents imply enterprise, so dipping your toes within the water requires some critical warning.
A visit to a lighthouse is all the time an excellent day, nevertheless it’s additional particular when there’s a dose of intriguing historical past concerned. Take, as an example, the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine, a part of the Voyager Golden File. Right here in Cape Cod, the Nauset Lighthouse boasts its personal distinctive story, with all that shuffling round and its declare to fame on the Cape Cod potato chip bag. And hey, the truth that there’s a candy seashore close by simply seals the deal. So, if you end up in Cape Cod, this lighthouse is a particular must-visit.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founding father of UponArriving.com and the bank card app, WalletFlo. He’s a former lawyer turned journey knowledgeable masking locations together with TSA, airline, and lodge insurance policies. Since 2014, his content material has been featured in publications similar to Nationwide Geographic, Smithsonian Journal, and CNBC.