Tanya is having an amazingly fun day today in Sanibel Island. She's kayaking with alligators and shelling and lots of other fun stuff!
She will update ya'll when she gets back to her laptop later this evening!! Can't wait to see her pictures!! - E
Welcome to Monday!
Wow - do me and Tanya have ALOT of recapping to do about our respective Sundays yesterday. Therefore, I will not waste any time getting to it!!
Yesterday, I was in the great NYC outer borough of Staten Island for the Great Staten Island Lighthouse Hunt. This was the first time I participated in this event, which takes participants all around Staten Island to visit and/or view 10 of lighthouses.
This was my first time participating and I have to tell you, it was one of the most fun things I've ever done!! If you live near Staten Island or are visiting the area next year when this event takes place again, it is an absolute must-do!!
Our day started off first thing in the morning yesterday and as fate would have it, the sun was shining brightly, affording the perfect conditions for being outside all day and viewing these beacons of light.
My co-pilot, Gianna joined me and not only did we have a blast visiting each of the lighthouses and learning about each one's unique history, but, it turned out to be an incredible mother-daughter bonding day! I couldn't have done it all without her by my side. From reading off the directions from one location to the next to taking charge of photography and assisting me with video taping, she was invaluable to me yesterday!
The drive from Long Island to Staten Island was perfect - no traffic, smooth sailing and lots of breathtaking views going over the Verrazano Bridge.
Our first stop was to the National Lighthouse Museum in St. George, located at the waterfront of Staten Island for a quick check-in where we received a map, directions in consecutive order from one lighthouse to the next and a very special sticker card for collecting stickers at each of the 10 respective lighthouse check-in points.
Video of Elisa at The National Lighthouse Museum - at the start of the Great Staten Island Lighthouse Hunt (c) travelincousins.com
Our first stop was just down the road from the Museum, a few blocks at the Staten Island 911 Memorial. Located on the waterfront, this site is the perfect viewing area for the first two lighthouses - The Statue of Liberty and Robbins Reef Lighthouse. It is also situated for one of the most spectacular views of downtown Manhattan!
Video at the first check point
1. Statue of Liberty
Although most people around the world recognize the Statue of Liberty sitting in New York Harbor, who for years welcomed arriving immigrants to the United States, what many people do not know is that for a period of sixteen years, the Statue of Liberty was used as a lighthouse and was under the operation of the Lighthouse Board.
Under presidential order of Grover Cleveland, on November 22, 1886, the light was lit for the first time as an aid to navigation. Albert E. Littlefield was appointed as the first head keeper of the Statue of Liberty.
2. Robbins Reef Lighthouse
If I had to pick a favorite lighthouse based on its history, Robbins Reef would be the one! This sixty-six foot tall stone tower was constructed by the D. Haselton Company. The tower had built-in living quarters, large enough for a single keeper and his family. Isaac Johnson was appointed the station's first keeper in 1839 and on the night of October 25th of this same year, he lit the array of lamps for the first time.
Through the years, Robbins Reef Lighthouse would be rebuilt two more times. But, the most intriguing aspect of this adorable "sparkplug" lighthouse is the story of its most famous keepers, Kate Walker. This lady, who stood only 4'10" and weighed barely 100 lbs, was quite a remarkable woman and should be celebrated far more for her valiant efforts to keep her promise to her dying husband. On his death bed, John Walker's last words to his wife were "Mind the light, Kate." These words motivated her to stay on as keeper of the lighthouse. From its isolated location, Kate would leaving the station to row her children to and from school on Staten Island.
By her own estimates she saved the lives of 50 people whose ships hit the reef. Most were fishermen whose boats were blown onto the reef by sudden storms.
3. Fort Wadsworth LIghthouse
Dating back to 1903, Fort Wadsworth Lighthouse sits atop Battery Weed on Staten Island in New York Harbor. The light illuminates the Narrows, the entrance to the harbor and is located under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
The setting is quite lovely with the very close view of the bridge. Part of Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Wadsworth Lighthouse was part of the transfer of Fort Wadsworth from the Navy to the National Park Service in March 1995.
Video at Fort Wadsworth Lighthouse under the
4. West Bank Lighthouse
Appropriately named, the West Bank Lighthouse is located on the west side of the main shipping channel in New York’s Lower Bay that leads to the Narrows and on to New York Harbor.
Raised in 1901, it stands 55 feet in height and it came to be largely due to the shallowness of the nearby waters, which are as low as six feet, to help make the channels at the principal entrance to New York Harbor safe and fully available to large vessels at night and during thick weather.
It was virtually impossible to get a photo of this lighthouse set so far out, so the above photo was taken from a photo at the West Bank Lighthouse check-in point.
We just loved the setting for viewing this lighthouse! The South Beach Boardwalk was the backdrop for looking across New York bay to view the West Bank beacon, with views of Coney Island, Brooklyn. I couldn't help taking a bunch of photos.
Video with West Bank Light house in background on
Hoffman Island (c) travelincousins.com
Video showing surroundings at South Beach Boardwalk
5. Romer Shoals Lighthouse
This lighthouse was named after Colonel Wolfgang William Romer, who sounded the waters of New York Bay in 1700. This beacon marks a dangerous shoal on the northwest side of Swash Cannel at the entrance of New York Bay.
In 1838, a day beacon was constructed on the northwest extremity of the shoal, however, several steamships petitioned for a lighthouse and in 1886, The Lighthouse Board appropriated funds to build a lighthouse in a more effective location on the southeaster edge of the shoal.
Video at check point for viewing
Romer Shoals Lighthouse
The sparkplug lighthouse that now stands on the shoal, replaced the original lighthouse in 1898 and holds a deep connection to the National Lighthouse Museum, as it once stood on the grounds of The General Depot, where it was used to test wicks and fuels until its relocation. Unfortunately, the Romer Shoal's Light suffered significant damage during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
6. Elm Tree Lighthouse
Located in the World War Veteran's Park at Miller Field, The Elm Tree Lighthouse was built in 1855 and was named for an Elm tree used by early sailors of New York Harbor as a landmark at the sam location. This lighthouse was the front range light marking the Swash Channel, complementing the New Dorp Light. The original tower was replaced with a concrete structure in 1939 by the U.S. Coast Guard and operated the light until it was de-commisioned in 1964.
Video at World War Veteran's Park at Miller Field, location of de-commissioned Elm Tree Lighthouse
7. New Dorp Lighthouse
I have to say, this was one of the more cooler lighthouses because it really looked nothing like what we are used to seeing.
Set upon a hill surrounded by trees and a woodsy setting, The New Dorp Lighthouse is composed of a 6-foot square tower that protruded over forty feet through the center of a four room, one-and-half story keeper's dwelling whose beacon shined from 192 feet above sea level.
Video at New Dorp Lighthouse
Video of the grounds surrounding the New Dorp Lighthouse
Having been decommissioned in 1964, the former lighhouse has New Dorp Lighthouse has been privately owned since the 1970's.
8. Staten Island Range Lighthouse
While all of the lighthouses were unique and charming in their own way, the Staten Island Range Lighthouse not only had a wonderful story to it, but the actual lighthouse keepers where on-hand to meet and greet and tell us first-hand, their story!
Sisters, Joann Long and Elizabeth Campbell, have been the lighthouse keepers of the Staten Island Range Lighthouse since 2018. This was truly the highlight of the tour because it was brought the nostalgia of lighthouses to life, here in present day, 2020.
In 1992, visionary lighthouse enthusiast, Joseph N. Esposito (1938-2005) was appionted by the United States Coast Guard as caretake of the light, where he served until 2001. In 2018, his daughters became the keepers of the light, following in their father's footsteps. Elizabeth Campbell was kind enough to share her family's very personal and enthralling story in the video below on how their family became lighthouse keepers.
Video featuring Elizabeth Campbell, one of the Keepers of the Staten Island Range Lighthouse
They shared with me that as keepers of the light, they sweep and tidy the lighthouse as well as clean the lens of this 90-foot beacon of light.
As for the history of this lighthouse, it is also known as the Ambrose Channel Rear Range Light and it serves as the rear-range light companion to the West Bank Lighthouse, more than five miles away. Situated on Richmond Hill, 145 feet above sea level which was largely completed in 1909, but was not put into operation until April 15, 1912 (the day the Titanic sunk).
There is a lighthouse residence house that is located adjacent to the lighthouse, however, today, both the house and the land it sits upon is privately owned. However, the land that the lighthouse sits upon is government property.
9. Princes Bay Lighthouse
What is interesting about this lighthouse is that it once a summer retreat for the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York. On May 18, 1826 Congress appropriated funds to build a lighhouse along an 85-foot cliff along this former oystering community, in response to growing ship traffic in New York City.
The tower stood over thirty feet and in 1828, began projecting a fixed white light from a height of 107 feet above sea level, utilizing eleven lamps set in fourteen-inch reflectors.
Princes Bay is an active lighthouse on the highest point of the southern shoreline of Staten Island, in the Pleasant Plains neighborhood. It is situated on an 85-foot bluff overlooking Raritan Bay with an attached brownstone cottage which served as the lightkeeper's house.
Video at the Princes Bay Lighthouse
10. Great Beds Lighthouse
Located in Tottenville on Staten Island, the Great Beds Lighthouse is named for the oyster beds on which it stands and the tower's five iron sections stand at the height of forty-two feet.
Its history dates back to 1878 when the federal government responded to petitions from business and shipowners appropriating $34,000 for the installation of this iron tower.
The setting is just lovely with a view of New Jersey across the water.
This was our last and final stop and we literally made it there at a few minutes after 3pm, which was when it started to lightly drizzle. How's that for timing!!
We collected all 10 stickers as you can see in the picture of my holding the completed sticker sheet - one sticker representing each of the 10 lighthouses on the 2020 Great Staten Island Lighthouse Hunt!!
Stay tuned folks, because we will be premiering a YouTube video featuring this fun and festive experience!!
October 26, 2020 - Tanya's Florida Travel Adventure Day 11 - Sanibel Island |Kayaking with Alligators and Shelling|The Great Staten Island Lighthouse Hunt Recap
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