Showing posts with label lighthouses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lighthouses. Show all posts

Monday, April 24, 2017

Borden Flats Lighthouse Hotel

One of my favorite lighthouses around is in Fall River. This is odd, because I tend to romanticize lighthouses as isolated things on the end of a lonely beach. In that regard, it's odd to see one while I'm eating Popeye's chicken in the car.

Borden Flats Lighthouse sits at the mouth of the Taunton River, where it empties out into Mount Hope Bay. If I were a better photographer, you'd see how cool it looks there, but that's why you can read this for free.

Borden Flats Lighthouse was erected in 1881. It, and the flats it sits on, are named for the famous Borden family of Fall River. The Bordens may have had a daughter turn up in the news at some point for some reason or another, I'm not sure....

I think the Borden family may have been into hotels, because the Lizzie Borden house is now a B&B. The Borden Flats Lighthouse, which looks pretty much like a lighthouse to me, is actually a hotel!

The actual good pictures are lifted from the Borden Flats Lighthouse website.

Fall River, a bustling textile town in the 1800s, got a lot of shipping traffic, as well as steamboat ferry action. Mount Hope Bay is rather shallow, and Borden Flats were ship-wrecking treacherous. It was formerly marked by an unlit beacon. $25K was set aside for construction of the lighthouse.

It went into action on October 1, 1881. It had a kerosene-fed fourth order Fresnel lens, and you know that I have no idea what that means. It got a modern plastic lens in 1977.

It was electrified in 1957, automated in 1963, and the fog bell was replaced by an electronic foghorn in 1983... a mistake in my view, but I also don't live near/have to listen to it.

The 1938 hurricane didn't topple Borden Flats Lighthouse, but it did give it a Pisa-style tilt that you notice once someone points it out to you. They built an additional caisson around it to keep it from having a ruined-castle style look.

In 2000, the lighthouse was auctioned off to Cindy and Craig Korstad, who are in the Buy Lighthouses And Turn Them Into Hotels business. I think they dropped $53K on it, then many K more renovating it.

It stands 50 feet tall, it has a 250 mm white light that flashes every 2.5 seconds, The foghorn goes off every 10 seconds, or- as Elwood Blues said when showing his apartment to Joliet Jake- "so often you won't notice it after a while." It is an active US Coast Guard aid to navigation, and is of the "Spark Plug" variety.

It seems to be tastefully decorated, and it looks delicate enough that I will be on the "Don't touch anything!!" prohibition orders from my photographer when we tour it.

That's right... you can tour it for $20 a pop. You can also stay the night, for rates as low as $299 a night off-season.

Here's what I can learn about it from the website without calling the people like a real reporter does:

- Swimming is "strongly discouraged"  as this is both a shipping channel and not too far down the coast from where the last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts happened. The current is around 7 knots, and the lighthouse is surrounded by large, diver-paralyzing rocks.

- It runs off solar panels, so having Chief Brody kill the shark by tricking it into biting the electric wire running to the lighthouse isn't a viable exit strategy.

- Just like when it was built in 1881, the lighthouse has a DVD player and can get local stations on the TV. It lacks WiFi.

- The best access is from Borden Light Marina, the trip takes 5 minutes. I'm not sure if they ferry you over themselves. It would be a heroic swim, especially while carrying luggage.

- BYOB allowed, no smoking inside.

- You call 911 for emergencies, unless you know the Sea Mafia or perhaps even Aquaman. They say that the Justice League only keeps Aquaman around in case trouble arises at the Borden Flats Lighthouse.

- The Coast Guard has 24/7/365 access rights to the lighthouse.

- Sunsets are amazing from the lantern room. I'd imagine that the rest of the day is pretty nice up there, too.

- The lighthouse, like every other one, is haunted. The ghosts seem to be a giggling little girl, a classical music fan, and one of the keepers entering the lower floor while you're on an upper one.

- If you dream of buying a lighthouse, understand that there is Herculean maintenance involved. "You can't buy it and visit it once a year, your investment will wash into the sea." Much of the hotel revenue is poured back into the lighthouse via renovations and maintenance.

- Two guests only, and no pets allowed... even seals.

- The picture below is from US Coast Guard, circa 1900:

Ned Point Light In Mattapoisett, MA

We paid a visit to Mattapoisett, Massachusetts to check out Ned Point Light.

Ned Point Light is also known as Ned's Point Light by the locals. It was built in 1838 for $4500 of those 1838 dollars. John Quincy Adams was instrumental in getting the funds. It is older than Mattapoisett, which was part of Rochester until 1857.

It was made with stones that they found nearby. The contractor (Leonard Hammond), who also owned the town tavern, didn't finish in time. Stalling an inspector at his tavern, he had a crew try to make it look finished. The inspector stepped into the lighthouse and fell through the floor, which was merely planks laid over barrels.

It used to have a lightkeeper's house, but that was floated across Buzzards Bay to Bourne, where it now serves Wings Neck Light.

Ned Point Light was deactivated from 1951-1963. It was restored by locals in the 1990s.

It isn't open for touring, other than once a week in the summer. It's 39 feet high and has 32 granite steps.

She guards the northern edge of Mattapoisett Harbor.

The Three Sisters


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Massachusetts Lighthouse Tripping

The fun part about my job is that, while covering other stories, I can stop along the way and take pictures of lighthouses. I grew up near one, and am sort of accustomed to foghorns and circling lights. I never miss a chance to get a picture of one if I am out and about.

This is Nauset Light, one of the Three Sisters. She's essentially a replacement sister and sort of married into the family, but she sure does look nice. She's 48 feet tall, made of cast iron and is encased in brick. She's set back a bit, as Cape beaches were eroding long before the discussion of eroding beaches became fashionable. She was built in 1877. Lovers of snacks should know that this lighthouse is the represented in the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips.

This is the much-loved Chatham Lighthouse. She's old enough (1808 birth) that Samuel Nye, her first keeper, was appointed by Thomas Jefferson. She went automated in 1982, and is prominent in the film The Finest Hour. The house next to it is an active Coast Guard Station, and even serves as a base for Homeland Security-type stuff. I actually drove by this without a hitch  the day before Tropical Storm Hermine came to town, but when I returned during the height of the storm, the traffic was like Boston. While I failed as a photographer in "getting a level horizon," I did manage to catch the light when it was flashing towards me. 

Old Scituate Light, the lighthouse that the American Army Of Two defended. She was built in 1811, the Bates sisters did their thing in 1814, and the construction of Minot's Ledge Light pushed her out of service in 1850. This being Scituate, she was brought back into service 2 years later when MLL was destroyed in  an 1851 tropical winter/spring storm. I suppose you can imagine the "I told you so" action that was going on among the old salts back then. MLL went back in service in 1860, which sent Old Scituate Light back to the bench. Scituate bought it in 1910 for $4000, and it was in a state of disrepair for most of the last century. They fixed it up well enough that you can tour it these days. 
Our photographer appears to be using the rocks to position himself to shoot Old Scituate Light, but I know him well enough to say that he is most likely looking at porn, fantasy football or both. Sharper-eyed readers may get a kick out of knowing that the only picture of his we used is the one that has water drops all over the camera lens... but we did lead off with it, so props to the Big Man.

Just in case you think that went to a shabbier lighthouse and just told you it was Scituate Light, we threw in a pic with the sign. We try to keep it real here at Cranberry County Magazine. This lighthouse is steeped in history. It is where the USS Chesapeake fought and lost to the HMS Shannon in 1813, a battle famous for the "Don't give up the ship" command was uttered by a dying Captain James Lawrence just before his surviving crew, well, gave up the ship.

Here's how you challenged a ship to a fight in 1813... "
As the Chesapeake appears now ready for sea, I request you will do me the favour to meet the Shannon with her, ship to ship, to try the fortune of our respective flags. The Shannon mounts twenty-four guns upon her broadside and one light boat-gun; 18 pounders upon her maindeck, and 32-pounder carronades upon her quarterdeck and forecastle; and is manned with a complement of 300 men and boys, beside thirty seamen, boys, and passengers, who were taken out of recaptured vessels lately. I entreat you, sir, not to imagine that I am urged by mere personal vanity to the wish of meeting the Chesapeake, or that I depend only upon your personal ambition for your acceding to this invitation. We have both noble motives. You will feel it as a compliment if I say that the result of our meeting may be the most grateful service I can render to my country; and I doubt not that you, equally confident of success, will feel convinced that it is only by repeated triumphs in even combats that your little navy can now hope to console your country for the loss of that trade it can no longer protect. Favour me with a speedy reply. We are short of provisions and water, and cannot stay long here."...  Captain Phillip Broke
A year later, two American girls chased away a boatload of British marines, so we sort of won back the honor of the coast. Eff England!

Not all naval action around Old Scituate Light involves us trying to kill Europeans. This rock represents the grounding of the Italian freighter Etrusco in a 1956 blizzard. The crew was saved by the Coast Guard. The ship, stuck on the rocks of Cedar Point for quite some time, was a local tourist attraction until it was freed by dynamiting most of the ledge.

Duxbury Beach, MA