Yes, You Can Stay in a Lighthouse — These Are the Best
Unusual stays for families with kids By Yahoo! Travel
Saugerties Lighthouse (Flickr: Anthony Quintano)
Many of us humans feel an undeniable pull to the ends of the earth — forlorn, windswept places where it’s just us and the whales and the seabirds. Everyone talks about wanting to get away from it all, and the points and promontories where lighthouses are built are about as far as it gets. But as modern navigation and automation have rendered the historic structures less necessary, savvy hoteliers have turned them into tiny or even single-room hotels.
Here are ten worth adding to your life list. (And plan ahead: One thing lighthouse-going can’t be is spontaneous. Many of these places book up many months in advance.)
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, N.Y.
Built in 1869, this lighthouse sits on a speck of a shoal in the Hudson River, about a two-hour drive from New York City. The two bedrooms, with stunning nature views, can be rented together or separately. Guests reach the lighthouse by hiking a half mile and are encouraged to B.Y.O. dinner (a hearty breakfast is provided). The reward for the effort: a place to picnic, bird-watch, fish, and relax in (near) solitude.
Litloy Fyr Littleisland Lighthouse, Vesteralen, Norway
Litloy Fyr Littleisland Lighthouse (Flickr: Littleisland lighthouse)
The Scandinavians are expert at recharging in nature, as the lighthouse at Litløy Fyr proves. The hotel sits on an island in the open Arctic sea, with views of the Lofoten Islands on one side and the Norwegian Sea on the other. But for all its forlorn remoteness, it’s a full-service hotel, with cozy rooms in the former lighthouse keeper’s home and meals prepared with organic ingredients from the hotel’s own garden. But you don’t come for the food — you come to take in the Arctic Lights.
East Brother Light Station, San Francisco
On an island in the strait that separates the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, Calif., lies this Victorian bed-and-breakfast that’s just 30 minutes from downtown and a 10-minute boat ride from other land but worlds away from 21st century life. It’s still a working light station, and it’s luxurious to boot: Guests who stay in the rooms (four in the lighthouse itself and one in the evocatively named Fog Signal Building) are welcomed with champagne, fed a multicourse dinner, and sent off with a gourmet breakfast in the morning.
West Point Inn and Museum, Prince Edward Island, Canada
West Point Lighthouse Inn & Museum (Courtesy West Point Lighthouse Inn & Museum)
Like New England, the Canadian Maritime Provinces are dotted with lighthouses. This one, on PEI’s most westerly point, is among the most visually arresting. Inside its 69-foot-tall striped façade are 13 comfortable rooms, 11 of them with balconies for private windswept moments. It’s near a provincial park with a beach and 1.5 km boardwalk over picturesque sand dunes and wooded areas. Post-stroll, eat superfresh seafood as you watch the boats that bring it in.
Harlingen Lighthouse Hotel, Harlingen, the Netherlands
Three-sixty-degree views are the selling point for this historic beacon in the old trading town of Friesland. Just two guests at a time climb the spiral staircase up to a triplex residence with a bathroom with a striking circular shower, living space with a custom bed and sitting area, and a dining area on the top floor under the original copper dome. Guests can listen on the VHF to conversations of sailing ship and clipper charter captains. The owner also has a lifeboat hotel.
The Lighthouse, Island Bay, New Zealand
Lighthouse on Island Bay, Wellington (Flickr: Phillip Capper)
In Island Bay, about 15 minutes from Wellington, lies this single-accommodation lighthouse hotel. A kitchen and bathroom are on the first floor, a bedroom with a TV and DVD player (no one expects you to use them) on the second, and a sitting room and balcony on the top. Remote and romantic, it’s also a short stroll from nearby restaurants and from coastal walks that take you past colonies of seals.
Heceta Head Lighthouse, Florence, Oregon
One of the most beautiful working lighthouses in the world — and said to be the most photographed — the Heceta Head Lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. The keeper’s house is now run as a six-room bed and breakfast with a heavy emphasis on breakfast. The owners are trained chefs, and guests wake up to seven-course feasts of artisanal cheese, sausages, fresh produce from the garden, and homemade pastries.
St Anthony’s Lighthouse, Cornwall, England
St Anthony’s Lighthouse (Flickr: Robert Pittman)
Built in 1835 and used as the site for the 1980s television show Fraggle Rock, this lighthouse has a secluded keeper’s cottage that’s now rented as a holiday home. Reached by a 300-meter path down from the headlands to the rocks, the two-bedroom cottage is as private as it gets. An electric wood burner keeps guests toasty as they watch the winter storms.
Porer Lighthouse, Porer Island, Croatia
This stone lighthouse sits in the center of a tiny islet about two miles from the mainland, near Istria’s southernmost cape. Guests stay in two, two-bedroom apartments on the ground floor, along with the lightkeeper who still lives on site— and has a boat that he uses to take guest to the city of Pula or the island of Unije and its lovely bay. The island is small enough that you can walk around it in about one minute — and you should, at sunset, as dusk here is spectacular.
Borden Flats Lighthouse, Somerset, Massachusetts
This red-and-white “spark-plug” lighthouse was built in 1881 to protect ships navigating in Mt. Hope Bay as they carried textiles in what was then a booming trade. Eventually it fell into disuse and was declared “surplus” before private owners set about refurbishing it in 2010. Now its curved brick walls are filled with overstuffed couches and Americana décor, and set up for just one couple at a time.
By Ann Abel
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