Forty-fifth Lighthouse Expedition
August 28 - September 2, 2004
Hudson River and Long Island with the United States Lighthouse Society
August 28, 2004, Saturday
- 7:05 am
- We left home and it was raining.
- 8:15 am
- We paid the toll on the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. From the bridge we could see Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. We crossed into Canada without any delay.
- 11:10 am
- We stopped in Lincoln at a McDonald's for lunch. We had some Canadian money and wanted to have lunch before we crossed the border back to the U.S. We left at 11:40.
- 12:30 pm
- We crossed back into the U.S. after about a 20 minute wait in line at the border.
- 5:15 pm
- Got off the New York Turnpike ( I-90) in Albany and stopped at a CVS drug store (we sometimes forget to bring things!)
- 5:30 pm
- We checked into the Quality Inn in Albany. It took us 10 hours and 25 minutes to reach Albany from home, and we had rain showers off and on all day. It was raining hard in Utica, MI and as we got into Albany, NY, the beginning and ending of our drive.
- 7:00 pm
- We went to the dining room and met the group we would be touring with: Tom and Barbara Anderson from Jersey City, NJ; Bill and Georgia Anker from San Rafael, CA; Jeff and Shari Atkinson from Holland, MI; Betty Chenoweth from Nashville, TN; Bill and Myrna Cherrix from Greenbackville, VA; Paul and June Codding from Rochester, NY; George Crum from Newark, DE; Bob and Linda Devlin from Lido Beach, NY; Mike and Susan Fisher from Lakeland FL; Nancy Flathman from Baltimore, MD; Joel and Virginia Grace from Big Flats NY; Jack and Mary Johnston from Rockwood, TN; Mary Ellen Michielini from Lido Beach, NY; Dwight and Doris Nicholson from Norris, TN; Chas and Lynn Nicklin from Kingston, WA; Skip and Joy Poole from Locust Grove, VA; Bob Quirk and Nancy Warzecha from Des Plaines, IL; Irene Robertson from Hendersonville, NC; Donna Ward Smith from Lancaster, PA; Dave Snyder (our tour guide from the USLHS) from San Francisco, CA; Chris and Joan Specht from Wantagh, NY; Joe and Jaque Styles from Stone Ridge, NY; Jake and Gloria Toering from St. Joseph, MI; Michael and Liz Travis from Holland, MI; Kevin White and Pat McCoy from Antwerp, OH. Janet Pergl from Binghamton, NY and Rusty and Patti Nelson from South Portland, ME were there as well, but they were only going along for part of the trip. Rusty is the Graphic Designer for the Keeper's Log, the quarterly publication of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. We enjoyed a wonderful buffet and enjoyed conversing with the other lighthouse lovers over dinner. Dave had us introduce ourselves. This was our 10th trip with the USLHS, but we have only traveled with 12 of the 48 participants on previous trips.
- We returned to our room.
August 29, 2004, Sunday
- 7:00 am
- We had a continental breakfast at the hotel.
- 8:05 am
- The bus left the Quality Inn in Albany, NY. It was hazy but YEA, it wasn't raining! Our bus driver was Bob Lawson. We found out over the next few days that Bob was once a chef and also an air traffic controller.
- 8:15 am
- We arrived at the boat dock near Hudson, NY, and the sun had come out. Due to low tide, we were transported in three trips by a cruiser, JOKAR, to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. Our captain was Marty Hudecek. He owns the crusier and is part owner of the Dutch Apple, the boat we would be taking down the Hudson River. As with some of the others we saw this day, this light just looked like a house sitting in the middle of the river! Construction on the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse began in 1873 and was completed in November of 1874. It was manned until the 1950's when it was automated. The Hudson/Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society maintains the lighthouse and were gracious to open it for our tour. Joe Kenneally, President of the Society, and Louise Bliss were on hand to tell us about the light and the restoration. They also maintain a small gift shop which helps to raise funds for their society. We, of course, wanted to help support them! We left at 9:45.
- 10:10 am
- While the other two groups were taking their tour of the lighthouse, we boarded the Dutch Apple. The captain, Lew Renna, had several crew members on board. The Dutch Apple is a good sized, very nice river boat with two fully enclosed decks, and a partially covered, but open observation deck up top, where the wheelhouse is located. We sat at tables on the upper deck with Bill and Georgia Anker. One of the nice things about the tours is getting to meet so many people from around the country. As we were waiting, we enjoyed watching the large freighters make their way up the river.
- 11:15 am
- The third group arrived from visiting the lighthouse and at 11:20, the Dutch Apple left the dock.
- 11:45 am
- The boat went under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. We observed many mansions along the river all day long. It was very hot and humid and we enjoyed the breeze from the water as we traveled along.
- 1:05 pm
- We arrived at the Saugerties Lighthouse. Alex Wade greeted us and along with his helpers, served us lunch. We had corn chowder and tomato bisque, with bread. Wine was served to drink. This lighthouse is at the mouth of Esopus Creek and the first structure was completed in 1838. The first lighthouse was replaced in 1867 with the current brick one. The Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy maintains the lighthouse. At the time they bought the lighthouse for $1.00 back in 1986, the building was a "pile of bricks ready to collapse into the river and the roof and floors had rotted and caved in; the road to the mainland was long gone." The lighthouse is now livable and beautifully maintained. The lighthouse is open on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day thru Labor Day and serves as a Bed & Breakfast. We left at 2:40.
- 3:20 pm
- We passed under the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge.
- 4:00 pm
- We arrived at the Kingston Maritime Museum in Kingston. We were taken by boat (a liberty launch boat from the aircraft carrier, USS Independence). Our captain was Vic and his crew member was Jim Muskett. We went the short distance to the Rondout II Lighthouse. Frank Almquist (along with his wife Peggy was on the Maine tour with us) met us to tell about the lighthouse and give the tour. This is the third lighthouse on this site. It was started in 1911 and finished in 1915. Ruins of the original tower can be seen across the creek. This light is constructed of yellow brick. It is a current aid to navigation and a museum. We climbed the 51 steps to the top of the tower. The Hudson River Maritime Museum is responsible for the maintenance of this light. We left there at 4:55.
- 5:10 pm
- We arrived back at the Maritime Museum but only had time for a quick tour and visit to the gift shop. We got back on the bus and left at 5:30.
- 5:40 pm
- We stopped in a park, with the helpful directions of Jaque Styles, to view the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse from a distance. Due to timing, we were not able to get closer to this light by boat. This light station was established in 1839. We left there at 5:45 as this was a photo stop only.
- 6:50 pm
- We arrived at the Campus of the West Point Military Academy. After being checked in through the gate, we arrived at the Thayer Hotel at 7:00. This gothic style historic building was originally built as a dormitory for cadets in 1926 but has been renovated into a beautiful hotel with wonderful accommodations. We said our farewell to Janet Pergl, who was heading back home tonight. We hadn't seen Janet since our trip to Sweden in 1999.
- 7:45 pm
- We went to one of the Thayer dining rooms for dinner. Diana had the salmon and Don had the sirloin and both enjoyed NY cheesecake for dessert! During dinner we enjoyed the moonlight reflecting off the Hudson River and after dinner took a brief walk on the grounds near the river.
August 30, 2004, Monday
- 7:00 am
- We toured the same area outside the hotel as we did the night before, but this time in the daylight. We saw several deer on the river side of the hotel before heading in for a wonderful buffet breakfast in another of the Thayer dining rooms.
- 7:55 pm
- Karon Ray from West Point Tours came on board the bus and was our tour guide. She is married to a 1976 West Point graduate who now teaches computer science at the academy. Karon was a marvelous animated and humorous tour guide. She provided us with lots of information about the academy, cadet life, traditions and famous graduates. We made a stop at the parade field and also walked over to Trophy Point next to the Hudson River. This spot is considered a "million dollar view" and it truly was. The last scene of the movie Hello Dolly was filmed here. This is also the site of the band shell and free concerts are given here every Sunday night in the summer. Also at this spot, is the repository of war relics dating from the American Revolution. The West Point Military academy was started in 1802. From the history portion of their web site, it states: "West Point's role in our nation's history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both sides realized the strategic importance of the commanding plateau on the west bank of the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America. Washington personally selected Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the heroes of Saratoga, to design the fortifications for West Point in l778, and Washington transferred his headquarters to West Point in l779. Continental soldiers built forts, batteries and redoubts and extended a l50-ton iron chain across the Hudson to control river traffic. Fortress West Point was never captured by the British, despite Benedict Arnold's treason. West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America." Further along in the history we find: "Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Arnold, Clark, Patton, Stilwell and Wainwright were among an impressive array of Academy graduates who met the challenge of leadership in the Second World War." When a cadet graduates, he receives a Batchelor of Science degree, a commission of 2nd Lieutenant and serves 5 years of active duty for his country. At one time there was a lighthouse on the point, but it disappeared in the 1980's.
- 9:10 am
- We arrived at the dock area of the Academy on the Hudson River and our boat, the Dutch Apple, was waiting for us. Rusty and Patti Nelson left the tour at this point and rode the bus back to New York City, so we had to say good-by to them. The boat left at 9:15. We liked the upper deck on the boat, as the views seemed the best from there. Today we sat at a table with Skip and Joy Poole, and Jake and Gloria Toering.
- 9:45 am
- We went under the Bear Mountain Bridge.
- 10:15 am
- We arrived at the Stony Point Lighthouse. This light is located on a bluff over the river and could be seen from several spots through the opening in the trees. The boat circled around so the photographers could get shots from different angles. This lighthouse was first lit in 1826. It was deactivated in 1925 and relit in 1995, but only as an exhibit, not an active aid to navigation. The lighthouse scene from the movie Hello Dolly was filmed here.
- 11:10 am
- The boat passed Sing Sing Prison on the banks of the Hudson River.
- 11:35 am
- We arrived at the Tarrytown Lighthouse built in 1883 which is also known as the Lighthouse at Sleepy Hollow. This light is located near the Tappan Zee bridge which we passed under at 11:45.
- 11:50 am
- The crew of the Dutch Apple provided us with a wonderful buffet lunch of sandwiches and included fruit, veggies, salads and desserts. They also carved a lighthouse and duck out of apples for decorations.
- 12:45 pm
- We could spot the Jeffery's Hook Lighthouse and a long ways in the distance: the Statue of Liberty.
- 1:10 pm
- We passed by the Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. This light was made famous by the children's book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward. (Of course our grandson, Hayden, has a copy of this book.) This light was first erected on Sandy Hook, NJ in 1880 but became obsolete and was dismantled in 1917. In 1921 it was reconstructed by the Coast Guard on Jeffrey's Hook to improve navigation aids on the Hudson River. After the bridge was completed in 1931, it was felt the lighthouse was no longer necessary. The children's book was instrumental in the public's outcry that the little lighthouse be saved. Many children sent in their pennies to help save the Jeffery's Hook Lighthouse. In 1979 the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was renovated in 1986. At the time of our visit, the bridge was undergoing renovation and was surrounded by scaffolding.
- 1:15 pm
- From the boat we had a good view of Manhattan and could see many of the famous buildings and structures from the river. Among them: Grant's Tomb, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the area where the Twin Towers once stood.
- 2:00 pm
- We passed the tip of Manhattan.
- 2:05 pm
- The boat docked at Liberty State Park in New Jersey and we walked a short distance to the bus. We bid farewell to the Dutch Apple as they began their 14 hour trip back up the Hudson River to Albany. Captain Renna and his crew did a wonderful job and we so enjoyed our cruise down the Hudson. Don was able to get pictures of the Lightship Winter Quarter, which was docked in the marina and being used as a restaurant. Mike Fisher and Don made a little side trip to the lightship to get some information about it. It was built in 1923 and was stationed at several locations in the Atlantic. It was retired from lightship duty in 1968. The bus took us to the State Park office in the old train station to get tickets for the ferry.
- 3:00 pm
- We boarded Miss Gateway of the Circle Tour Boats for our trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Due to security, we had to pass through an airport-type check point. If we had known this ahead of time, several of the men would have left their pocket knives on board the bus (most of these were taken) and Don would have left all of his exposed and most of his unexposed film there, too. However, we can't complain as they are trying to protect one of our nation's greatest symbols.
- 3:10 pm
- We arrived at Ellis Island. We enjoyed walking around the restored Immigration Hall and reading the names on the walls outside. Ellis Island opened as an Immigration station in 1892. The wooden building burned down and the present main building opened in 1900. Between 1901 and 1910, 8.8 million immigrants arrived in the U.S. with 6 million being processed at Ellis Island. During WWI and WWII, the station was used to house enemy aliens when the U.S. curbed immigration. Ellis Island was closed as an immigration station in 1954. The main building of this national treasure was renovated as a museum in 1990. We left at 4:10.
- 4:20 pm
- We arrived at Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty. This was a very impressive and a very moving experience. We walked all around "the lady" and also enjoyed the views of Manhattan and Brooklyn from the island. We did not take the tour inside as we were short of time. The Statue was built by a Frenchman, Auguste Bartholdi, and given to the United States as a gift from France. She was first built in France, dismantled and then rebuilt on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor in 1886. The island was renamed Liberty Island in 1956. Emma Lazarus wrote the poem, "The New Colossus" and the famous lines "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore; send these, the homeless tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." This poem became the hope of many immigrants coming to America. The statue was, in fact, an official lighthouse from its opening in 1886 until 1902 as her torch welcomed ships into New York Harbor. It was decommissioned as a lighthouse, but still remains as a welcoming symbol of freedom for all who pass by her. We left at 5:40.
- 5:55 pm
- We arrived back at Liberty State Park and the bus left at 6:05.
- 6:40 pm
- We crossed the Bayonne Bridge to Staten Island and then the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn.
- 7:00 pm
- As we traveled along, we had more views of Manhattan. The Empire State Building was lit. We could also see the United Nations Building, Shea Stadium and the world globe from the 1964-65 World's Fair.
- 8:00 pm
- We arrived at the East Buffet and Restaurant in Huntington Station, NY. This was the MOST fabulous Oriental buffet we have ever experienced. It's one not to miss if you are in the area. Marie Chalmers met us at the restaurant. She has been on tours with Dave before. She gave each of us a gift of 12 mini prints of NYC. We left at 9:10.
- 9:15 pm
- We arrived at the Huntington Country Inn just down the highway from the restaurant. It began to rain as we were unloading the bus. We had a very nice room and were very tired from our long day.
August 31, 2004, Tuesday
- 7:00 am
- We had a continental breakfast at the Huntington Country Inn. It was raining again this morning while we were loading the bus.
- 8:00 am
- The bus left Huntington Station, Long Island. We were originally scheduled to stop at Eaton's Neck, however due to the Coast Guard being unable to meet us there we had to skip it. Dave decided to go to Old Field Point Light instead. We thought we had a new traveler with us this morning, but it turned out to be just Mike Fisher in his long haired wig and fake buck-teeth. We sure do feel sorry for Susan!
- 9:05 am
- We arrived at Old Field Point Lighthouse. This old stone house was built in 1868 and is now the Town Hall. We could see Stratford Shoal Light out in the water but it was not close enough for photographs. It rained until we arrived at the lighthouse and then it stopped shortly afterwards. We left at 9:45.
- 10:50 am
- We arrived at the Fire Island Lighthouse on the southern (Atlantic) shore of Long Island. Bob LaRosa met the group and told us about the light. We had to stay on the board walk as deer tics are plentiful in the area. There has been a lighthouse at this location since 1827. The current building was erected in 1858. The group was divided in two. We had lunch first and then we climbed the 168 foot tower. The view of the ocean and the beach area was spectacular. One of the members of the Lighthouse Preservation Society (which was established in 1982), Fred, gave us lots of information about the lighthouse and the surrounding area as we climbed the tower. We were delighted that the skies were blue and the sun was brightly shinning after our rainy morning. The lighthouse is part of the Fire Island National Seashore but is maintained by the Preservation Society. The keeper's home is also a museum and they have a nice gift shop. We left at 1:35.
- 3:55 pm
- We reached the eastern tip of Long Island at the Montauk Point Lighthouse. This spot separates the Atlantic Ocean from Block Island Sound. There were lots of visitors here as it is a popular destination for summer travelers. This lighthouse was the first one built in New York State in 1796 and is the fourth oldest active lighthouse in the United States. The 78 foot tower was increased by 14 feet in 1860 and a larger lantern room was added. The original keeper's dwelling was replaced in 1838 and when the double keeper's dwelling was built in 1860, the 1838 house was converted into a barn. We were able to climb the 137 steps to the top of the tower. The view was beautiful. The Montauk Lighthouse Society maintains the lighthouse. In front of the lighthouse at the top of the cliff is the Lost at Sea Memorial which honors the commercial fishermen of eastern Long Island who have been lost at sea. We left at 5:25.
- 5:40 pm
- We arrived at the Oceanside Motel in Montauk. This motel probably has not been remodeled in many years and was the most "rustic" of our accommodations on this trip. However, we could hear the ocean waves and it was satisfactory for our one night stay.
- 6:50 pm
- We left the motel and arrived at Montauk Manor for dinner. This elegant 1927 resort hotel has been recently renovated and is a National Landmark in the Tudor style. It would have been nice if we could have stayed in this hotel, but they have a three night minimum stay in August (and I'm sure their rates are a LOT higher than the Oceanside!). We had an excellent dinner, but the service was quite slow. However, that gave us a chance to visit with our tablemates Jake and Gloria, and Skip and Joy. Jake and Gloria are members of the Hoosier Lighthousing Club and are involved in the restoration of the Old Michigan City Lighthouse. Skip and Joy were looking forward to spending several days at the Selkirk Lighthouse on Lake Ontario following the tour.
- 9:45 pm
- We arrived back at the Oceanside Motel.
September 1, 2004, Wednesday
- 7:15 am
- We left the Oceanside Motel in Montauk and returned to the Montauk Manor for a buffet breakfast. We left there at 8:40.
- 9:55 am
- We waited for the south ferry in North Haven for about 15 minutes before making the crossing. There was some question as to whether or not the bus would fit on the ferry, but luckily it was able to fit on the larger of the two ferries.
- 10:05 am
- The ferry docked on Shelter Island. It was only a 15 minute drive across the island.
- 10:20 am
- We took the north ferry and arrived in Greenport about 10 minutes later. The East End Maritime Museum was right next to the ferry dock. However, they were not scheduled to open until 11:00, so we got back on the bus to go on to Orient Point first. We would stop by here before heading to Horton Point.
- 10:50 am
- The bus pulled off to the side of the road so we could get photographs of Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, but it was quite a distance out in the water and the sun was not in the right place to get good pictures.
- 11:05 am
- We arrived on the north eastern tip of Long Island and we could see Orient Point Lighthouse and the Plum Island Lighthouse out in the water, both again at quite a distance. Orient Point was built in 1899 and Plum Island in 1827. We left at 11:20.
- 11:40 am
- We arrived back in Greenport at the East End Maritime Museum located in the old train station. They were just opening as we arrived, even though their sign said "Wednesday-Monday: 11:00 to 4:45. Closed Tuesdays." Glad we didn't wait around before we went to Orient Point! We left there at 12:10.
- 12:30 pm
- We arrived at Horton Point Lighthouse and Museum in Southold. We were greeted by Audrey Barnett, Carol House, Peggy Murphy and Diane Joost from the Southold Historical Society who gave us information about the light and the surrounding area. We were divided into two groups: the first climbing the tower and visiting the museum and the other eating a box lunch. We ate first! Then the two groups switched. Everyone also had the opportunity to visit the gift shop! The Horton Point Lighthouse was built in 1857. Like other lighthouses, this one was automated, left to ruin and then restored again in 1990 because of the hard work of the Historical Society. This was the spot chosen for the group photo as it was the last lighthouse of the tour. We left at 2:10.
- 3:45 pm
- We dropped off the five tour members from Long Island in Wantagh along with Bob Quirk and Nancy Warzecha. It was nice to see Bob and Nancy again, as they had been on the San Francisco tour with us in 2001. Chris Spect had agreed to take them to JFK airport to pick up their rental car thus saving the rest of us on the bus at least an extra hour going in the opposite direction of Albany. Bob and Nancy were driving themselves back to Albany, visiting sights along the way.
- 5:05 pm
- The bus crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge and we could see the Tarrytown Lighthouse again.
- 5:30 pm
- We stopped for dinner at an expressway rest stop in Sloatsburg. Everyone was on their own for dinner. We left at 6:25.
- 8:15 pm
- We arrived at the Quality Inn in Albany where the tour began 4 days ago. We said our farewells to a great group of lighthouse lovers and traveling companions!
- 9:00 pm
- We finally had a chance to sit down with Dave Snyder and catch up on things of a personal nature. We had been so busy the last four days, we hadn't really had much time to talk. We had gotten in so late each night that we never even had time to play TIC (a card game we usually play on our tours)!
September 2, 2004, Thursday
- 7:35 am
- We left the Quality Inn in Albany after a continental breakfast and some more goodbyes. We stopped for gas and got back on the road, heading west on I-90.
- 12:45 pm
- We crossed the Rainbow Bridge (in Niagara Falls) into Canada without any wait. We made a quick drive down near the falls, but couldn't find a handy parking spot, so we didn't stop. We know É but it's not like we've never seen the Falls before!
- 1:15 pm
- We stopped at a McDonalds in St. Catharines for lunch (to use up some more of that Canadian money) and left at 1:35.
- 4:30 pm
- We crossed the Blue Water Bridge back into the good old USA. The Fort Gratiot Lighthouse was still there! Immigration and Customs took about 30 seconds!!! Amazing, since we know that sometimes traffic can be backed up all the way across the bridge.
- 5:50 pm
- We made a quick stop at Krogers for bread and milk.
- 6:10 pm
- Arrived HOME after a long day on the road (10 hours, 35 minutes).
Our thanks to the United States Lighthouse Society and the fine leadership of Dave Snyder. We had a wonderful time on this tour, as usual, with lots of fun people and great lighthouses! We were fortunate to be able to travel with Dave on two tours this summer!
Trip Totals: 14 Lighthouses, 1 Lightship, 6 days and 1135 miles which does not include boat or bus miles!
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Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey
Conceived and Developed by David S. Carter
Photographs by Donald W. Carter
Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter
Copyright © 1995-2004 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.