Once you climb the 55-step winding staircase to the top of Rear Range Light in Newburyport, Massachusetts, you won’t really care what you eat or drink. You’ll be filled with the view from your glass-paneled private dining room.
The 365-degree vista follows the Merrimack River to the Atlantic Ocean and Plum Island, then back to shore and the old railway bridge, to the narrow streets and uneven rooftops of this old, historic town.
You get to watch the boats coming in and out of the harbor at dusk; guests wearing Topsiders and khakis heading out to the sailboats for sunset gin-and-tonics; amateur fishermen cleaning their buckets and untangling their lines; sunburned teenagers honing their docking skills in their Boston Whalers.
Although you may bring up to three guests, keeping it to just two people is the way to go. Quarters in the lens room are tight, but if you’re romantically inclined, it doesn’t get much better. There’s also access to the outside catwalk, nice for fresh air and picture-taking.
Dinner is prepared by one of five nearby restaurants. We opted for the BluWater Cafe (140 High St., 978-462-1088), which offers a range of cuisine, from simple local fish baked or broiled to forays into Asian and Mediterranean preparations.
Despite our server’s having to navigate up (and down) the stairs with two trays of food three times, to our happy surprise our Japanese-style sushi tuna and Thai mussels arrived cool and hot, respectively. And the plate presentations didn’t suffer from the travel, either.
Entrees and desserts were equally well prepared and delivered, but with a full moon and fireworks courtesy of nearby Hampton Beach, the dinner was “gravy,” frankly. Our server, having much experience working at the lighthouse, made it clear that she’d make noise coming up the stairs and knock on the trapdoor entry first before entering our glass-encased love nest.
Bring your own wine and keep in mind that the restrooms are at the bottom of that 55-step winding staircase. Music is provided, but you may bring your own if you prefer.
Rear Range Light
61 1/2 Water St.