Friday, October 16, 2009

Lighthouses & Romance

I just want to thanks Miriam and Denisse for having me today at The Pen & The Muse. I thought I'd pop in and talk a little about lighthouses. I grew up near water and while I didn't explore very many lighthouses as a young girl, I have been to a few.
For me, I've always been attracted to the sea. Growing up in Manchester, NH, I was only an hour west of the Atlantic Ocean. Going to Hampton Beach and playing in the surf are happy childhood memories for me. It wasn't until I was an adult though that I discovered lighthouses.
Lighthouses have a silent, romantic quality to me. They stand sturdy, lighting the way on the blacked nights and the roughest storms. They were a shining beacon of hope to travelers who passed by.

Lighthouses dot both our coasts and several of our lakes. I visited my 1st lighthouse in York, Maine when I was a young adult and was impressed by it's quiet strength and rich history.
Today, my husband and I have several lighthouses pictures and motifs in our home to remind us of our love for the sea.

Moving on to my old home...

While NH has the smallest coastline in the U.S. (only 9 miles) it has several lighthouses that embody the romance of the sea. White Island, one of the NH Isle of Shoals, was the first to have a lighthouse which was built in 1821. Originally, it flashed red, white, and blue, but the blue was stopped due to poor visibility.

In 1838, Thomas Laighton become the lighthouse's innkeeper. His daughter, Celia Thaxter, gained widespread fame as a poet and author.

After a storm in 1839, the brig, Pocahontas, was wrecked on a sandbar inspiring Thaxter's poem, "The Wreak of the Pocohontas."

In 1986, the lighthouse was automated. More recently, a restoration project was started on the lighthouse to preserve it's condition which was deteriorating. The innkeeper's house was reroofed and painted. Rotting wood work was replaced. Bricks were also replaced. Now, in 2009, the lighthouse uses LED lights. It's come a long was from the first Fresnel lens to LED, but White Island Lighthouse still inspires as a rich gem on NH's Romantic seacoast.

Here's a poem in honor of the romance of the lighthouse, which I recently wrote:

The Romance of White Island Light

Bright white beams pierced the dark night.
A humble fisherman came bold,
wanting a reprieve from the cold.
She took him in from the sea's sight.

A fire blazed in a warm room.
Bright white beams pierced the dark night.
A summer's gale whipped up fright.
The bricks stood the time under the moon.

Crack! Hiss! Pop! Cold flesh to shiver.
Arms entwined, seeking warmth, feeling right.
Bright white beams pierced the dark night.
Passion flamed in blissful rivers.

He had to leave by the light of dawn.
Sweet promises he gave to return.
She closed the door, heart beating tight.
Bright white beams pierced the dark night.


  1. Yes, lighthouses are neat, Steph. Part of my family lived at one time in St. Michaels, MD and my brother and I went down there to see their murseum and model of a lighthouse, which is as close as I have come to the real thing.

  2. If you get a chance, I think a visit would make a nice daytrip. I'll see if I can't find the St. Michaels one on online. hehe

  3. Thanks for sharing this information with us Steph! I really enjoyed about where you are from.