Maine Adventure Series: A Lighthouse Adventure
In the mouth of Little River in Cutler Maine, a stately white lighthouse sits on an island, guarding the entrance of the peaceful harbor where docked boats dot the waters and wharfs jut out from all angles. On the harbor side of the island, the waters are still and crystal, but as you round the bend, they churn and spray ferociously.
As GPS and radar have become standard on every boat - though no doubt every fisherman and her family is thankful that the technology has so reduced the amount of deaths - the brave little lighthouses have slowly become more irrelevant, until many of them across the country have either dropped into decay, been eliminated, or at best automated.
But that is not so for Little River Light! An anachronism, maybe, but the white tower still gleams and sounds on a rock at the edge of Cutler Harbor. The best part of all, is that folks may stay at the lighthouse, just as in the not-so-far-away past.
Volunteers maintain the island and keep it going. If you rent out a night on Little River, Terry will bring you out in his skiff. He'll tell you a story or two as well! He came here as many young men did, when the military bases were still active in the area. Being the easternmost point in the US, and in the government's eyes nearly uninhabited, it became a tactical position and therefore many bases, radio antennas, and the like were built.
Terry tells the story of how he would leave the base and go to the post office in the tiny village and see a beautiful young women balancing a baby on her hip and wonder to himself "Would a girl like that go steady with a guy like me?" Many parents in the area did not approve of the 'navy guys' and their lifestyle. One day, he decided to ask the postmistress if she knew the girl.
She smiled wryly, he says, and told him yes, Cynthia was her daughter and the baby was Cynthia's younger sister.
Despite the moment of embarrassment, things did work out! While Terry mans the lighthouse, Cynthia delivers the mail, and it is she that picks up your yarn dutifully every day.
A couple summers ago, my husband surprised me on our anniversary with an overnight stay at the lighthouse. Another couple had booked a stay too, both music teachers from New York.
Despite the close quarters in the cottage, there are plenty of places for relaxation and isolation on the island, and many great knitting spots! Deep in the mature wood, the mossy floor and thick evergreens obscure the sounds of the mighty waves.
Sheep used to keep the grass cropped around the tower, as I surmised since it was rich with clover still. We stayed upstairs in the little guestroom, all decorated in old-fashioned linens and china. We fried steaks outside on a fire and sat in the lawn chairs and knitted and chatted, or sometimes sat silently and listened to the waves crash. My husband also may or may not have climbed on some ledges that were inadvisable to climb, but he just does that.
Perhaps it's not the most thrilling adventure to read about, but a full two days of sitting outside and knitting while your husband brings you food is all the adventure in life I need!
You can read much more at this site about the history of the light, and also the amazing community effort the save the lighthouse from the abandon that many lights have suffered. You can also see about reserving a night for yourself too!
All photos used are my own, except the first one which comes from the Little River Lighthouse Website and Terry and Cynthia, used with permission. It was quite foggy while we were there, which is of course why they needed a lighthouse!