Today’s edition of the New England Road Trip – Part IV takes us to Cape Cod, which ended up being my favorite part of the trip! We rode all the way to the tip of the island, seeing several lighthouses along the way, of course!
Cape Cod’s first lighthouse was none other than Highland Light.
The Highland Light Station is also known as Cape Cod Light, and is within Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro. This lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington, established in 1797, and is the 20th light station in the United States.
In the 1850s, Henry David Thoreau, known author and naturalist, visited this beautiful lighthouse. He is quoted describing it as,”A neat building, in apple pie order.” Then in 1864, Thoreau went on to write an essay for Atlantic Monthly. In this essay, he told the history of the Highland Light. I love how he described the power of the light:
“The keeper entertained us handsomely in his solitary little ocean house. He was a man of singular patience and intelligence, who, when our queries struck him, rang as clear as a bell in response. The light-house lamp a few feet distant shone full into my chamber, and made it bright as day, so I knew exactly how the Highland Light bore all that night, and I was in no danger of being wrecked… I thought as I lay there, half-awake and half-asleep, looking upward through the window at the lights above my head, how many sleepless eyes from far out on the ocean stream — mariners of all nations spinning their yarns through the various watches of the night — were directed toward my couch.”
Next up was the lighthouse you might recall from the Cape Cod potato chip bag in the grocery stores. If I am going to eat chips, this is my “go to” brand, especially the salt and vinegar! I could eat them until my mouth is raw! Ha!
My youngest daughter was surprised to learn that this lighthouse really existed. Some times you see pictures of things someone has envisioned and created into a colorful masterpiece, a work of art, but isn’t actually a “real” site you can visit. Not so here!
The Nauset Lighthouse is the most well known and most photographed lighthouse on Cape Cod. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nauset Lighthouse was painted red and white in the 1940s as a daytime indicator. Then, in 1981, the Fresnel lens was replaced by two rotating aero beacons, changing the signal from three white flashes to one red and one white flash, with five second intervals between them. Due to erosion, the lighthouse was moved and now sits across the road from its original location. Someone lives in the lighthouse keeper’s house today, so we were respectful and only stayed a few moments to enjoy the lighthouse. (The grounds are open for foot traffic, picture taking, etc.)
There’s so much more I could share with you, but alas, I will refrain as this travel segment has already gone into four parts. Instead of sharing more of our journey, I will, instead, encourage you to take your own road trip! You will marvel at the beautiful landscape New England has to offer! Take time off work to explore, make memories, and live!!