Happy Anniversary North Head Lighthouse – Ilwaco, Washington

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North Head Lighthouse

Did you know that the North Head Lighthouse on the south end of the Long Beach Peninsula celebrates its anniversary every year? And this year was the 116th anniversary, so we had to head out to see what was going on.

I had read there was a shuttle from the store at Cape Disappointment State Park, but of course, like everyone else, we first had to make the trip up to the lighthouse parking lot to see if there was a spot. There wasn’t. So we went back down and went to the parking lot and caught the shuttle. Very smooth and easy, very little waiting. Until we got up to the parking lot and had to wait for all those other people (who also just had to see if there was a parking spot) to get out of the way.

Then it was just a short, easy walk out to the lighthouse. What a view! The day was just right, with a nice breeze and mostly clear skies.

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We spent some time enjoying looking out as far as we could see, then headed into the lighthouse. The entry room was very small, with only space for a few people. We were informed that we would need to wait for the current group to come back downstairs as they only allowed about eight people in at a time. We spent the time looking at the items in the room, the pot-bellied stove, and especially the map of shipwrecks in the area.

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It wasn’t long before it was our turn and we stepped through a short hallway into an inner room. There the guide started telling us the story of the lighthouse. The first thing she pointed out was the decorative mosaic tiles on the floor. She said that the designer wanted to put his best efforts into this lighthouse and this is the only one with this particular added feature.

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Then we slowly headed up the spiral staircase. We were told this was a free-standing staircase. It was only bolted into the landing and was not supported by any legs of any kind.

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As we headed on up, the stairs got more narrow until we finally emerged into the light room. There was another guide who then told us the history of the lighthouse, which began operation in 1898. One of the most interesting aspects to learn about was that each lighthouse has a “code” and the light blinks the “code”.

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After enjoying the view, we headed back downstairs and made another little easy hike up to the gift store. We were thrilled to see they had the shipwreck map there and immediately bought it, along with a Lighthouse Passport. We got it stamped and now we have it to take with us to every lighthouse we visit!

Next we headed over to the Lightkeeper’s House, which can be rented. There, wonderful volunteers were serving drinks and cake. Unfortunately, they had so many more visitors than they had had previous years that they were out of cake and were waiting for more to arrive. We toured the house but didn’t stay for cake, much to Josh’s disappointment.

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Modern residence, available for rent

We headed back to catch the shuttle back to our car. That’s when a confused raccoon decided to join the group and created all kinds of excitement.

1-IMG_8600The North Head Lighthouse is open for tours from May-September. Children under 17 are free, and adults are only $2.50.

 

 

 

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Categories: Historical, Outdoors, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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