Lighthouses speak to us of lives both spare and romantic. Barely 200 feet from the shallows of Maine’s Long Sands Beach, the Cape Neddick Light Station perches so handsomely on its bony 2.8-acre nest of Nubble Island that we call it simply “Nubble Light.” Maine boasts more than 60 standing lighthouses. Nubble Light, Maine’s southernmost […]
By Mel Allen
Oct 19 2015
Off the coast of York, in southeastern Maine, the Nubble and its lighthouse are off-limits to the public, but visitors can catch a great view from Sohier Park on the mainland. This area saw many shipwrecks before the lighthouse was constructed. The wreck of the Isidore in 1842 is the most famous; her crew all perished. Since then, legend has it that a phantom ship continues to haunt the seas around Cape Neddick.Photo Credit : Matt Rosenberg/Nubble Art
Lighthouses speak to us of lives both spare and romantic.
Barely 200 feet from the shallows of Maine’s Long Sands Beach, the Cape Neddick Light Station perches so handsomely on its bony 2.8-acre nest of Nubble Island that we call it simply “Nubble Light.” Maine boasts more than 60 standing lighthouses. Nubble Light, Maine’s southernmost light, may well be the one we love most.
In 1977, when Voyager 1 and 2 blasted off for Jupiter and beyond in search of possible alien life, their capsules carried photos to show what we revered here on Earth. Among those photos: the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, Nubble Light. The lighthouse and the keeper’s house are on the National Register of Historic Places, and their likenesses are engraved on York’s town seal, as if to say: Nubble belongs to the country, but here is its home.
The keepers of the light who lived here from 1879 until the last Coast Guardsman left in the summer of 1987 felt that this was their calling. They tended the French-crafted Fresnel lens as if it were a child, polishing its light until it shone like gold. Sometimes winter blew fog that blanketed the knoll for weeks at a time. The keepers knew that the safety of ships depended on their keeping Nubble’s red light glowing 13 miles out to sea. At dawn, they’d extinguish the light, watch the sun creep over the water, and start their chores.
Nubble Light is at its finest on a blue-sky day when the ocean scent makes mere breathing worth the trip. Stop at tiny Sohier Park on Nubble Road. Ahead you’ll see the gleaming white tower reaching 41 feet high, and beside it the trim red-roofed keeper’s house, a few outlying sheds, and a white picket fence, as if the lighthouse is standing on a shady neighborhood street.
Lighthouses have become icons of our yearning, speaking to us of lives spare and romantic at the same time. We wish we lived there; we know we cannot. So we carry the light inside, no matter where we live.—Mel Allen
Nubble Light Nubble Road (off U.S. Route 1A), York Beach, ME. nubblelight.org