PRECIOUS PLACES:The Lighthouses of Massachusetts
From Salem to Cape Cod and all along the coast, the lighthouses of Massachusetts are windows into North America’s nautical past, filled with folklore and stories of shipwrecks, heroism, romance and, some say, ghosts.
Once trusted tools for navigation at sea, the structures today beckon tourists, eager to see sensational sites by the seaside, and to explore the living history of New England
There are dozens of structures in the area around Boston to discover – annd along the way, stop in some of the area’s must-see spots: Salem, Rockport, Gloucester, and Cape Cod.
Here are a few interesting options:
NORTH OF BOSTON
Baker’s Island Light: Just 10 km off the coast of Salem, home of the infamous witch trials, a phantom foghorn bell haunts Baker’s Island Light. This bell sounded a warning to sailors of impending danger until a bolt of lightning struck and destroyed the bell. Lore has it that 17 years later, the bell mysteriously rang, followed by a waterspout from the sea that capsized a boat and drowned all but a few passengers. This bell can be heard sounding an alarm even when there is no danger. While the lighthouse has no public access, it can be seen from Salem Willows Park and Winter Island in Salem and from Chandler Hovey Park on Marblehead Neck.
The Screeching Lady of Lovis Cove: Less than a mile from Marblehead Light stands a small, stone strand called Screeching Lady Beach just off Front Street in old town. Also known as Lovis Cove, the beach is home to The Barnacle Restaurant, a Marblehead institution that claims that waves actually crash over the building during Nor’easters. The beach takes its name from an old specter known to local fishermen as the Screeching Lady, a woman who was captured by pirates in the late 17th century. Just before she died on the beach, the townspeople of Marblehead could hear her bloodcurdling screams. Some people insist that each year on the anniversary of her death, they hear her cries rising from the beach. Both Marblehead Light and the beach are open to the public.
Boston Light: This beacon is the first and oldest lighthouse station in the United States, established in 1716. The three-hour visitor adventure begins with a narrated tour on a vessel through Boston Harbor Islands to learn about the rich maritime history of the islands. On the way to Boston Light, visitors can explore two other historic lighthouses of Boston Harbor. Disembark at Little Brewster Island and climb the 76 steps and two ladders of the tower where America’s first lighthouse keeper, George Worthylake, drowned with his wife and daughter in 1718 when their canoe capsized just offshore. Beware of the mysterious sounds of footsteps!
SOUTH OF BOSTON
Bird Island Lighthouse: Allegedly, the first keeper of Bird Island was a pirate named William Moore. After owing the government a hefty sum, they banished him to Bird Island in 1819. His wife, who suffered from tuberculosis, died on the island and rumor has it that Moore murdered her. According to legend, an old woman’s ghost, hunched over, knocks on the door late at night. The lighthouse is not open to the public, but can be seen by boat.
Plymouth Gurnet Light: America’s oldest wooden lighthouse dates back to the Revolutionary War and is supposedly one of the nation’s most haunted. Many believe the spirit of a former keeper’s wife haunts its rooms, waiting for her husband’s return. During the War, she stood vigil at her window each evening, waiting for her husband, a soldier, to return. Some say she still keeps vigil, appearing at the window for a moment and quickly vanishing. The lighthouse is not open to the public, but can be seen from Duxbury Beach.
Minot’s Ledge Light: Many years ago, the first keeper at Minot’s Ledge warned his superiors about the lighthouse’s “instability.” To no avail, the light keeper retired after only 14 months. His successor once flew a flag from the lighthouse indicating he needed a ride to shore and left his two assistants. Shortly after, a brutal nor’easter attacked, killing the two assistants. There have been reports of shadows in the lantern room, whispers at night and soft taps on the shoulder, which the assistants used to signify the end of a shift. Many keepers thereafter have gone insane after feeling the taps or hearing whispers. Keepers have also reported the windows to mysteriously become clean even after being soiled by seagulls. The lighthouse is best seen by boat and from points along the shore of Cohasset and Scituate. It is not open to the public.
For more, click HERE.
First published at Travel Industry Today