Lighthouse News of the Week

News of the week December 16, 2022

Stay overnight at the Frying Pan, NC lighthouse—a thrilling 32 miles out to sea

“Send him up!” a fisherman says into his radio as I sit precariously on the bow of his boat, bobbing in the cold swells of the Atlantic, more than 30 miles from shore. A wooden plank beneath me lurches like a swing, lifting me upward, off the boat, and far above the water, towards the entrance to an old U.S. Coast Guard light station where I’ll be staying for the weekend.

Frying Pan Shoals Lighthouse & Lightship, NC – US Coast Guard Historian’s Office

Suddenly, the hoist shudders and comes to a halt.

“Whoops, hang on,” Richard Neal calls out calmly from the tower’s deck. For a moment I’m stuck in midair, dangling 60 feet above the sea. “I haven’t dropped anyone—yet,” Neal says with a smile, only after he’s gotten the hoist working again a few minutes later and I’ve been safely brought into the tower’s entrance.

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The Spirit of the New London Ledge Lighthouse (CT)

A few weeks ago, I came across some photographs taken close to 20 years ago when my wife and I and several lighthouse enthusiasts, all members of the New England Lighthouse Lovers organization, spent a summer weekend scraping, painting and doing other miscellaneous restoration work at the New London Ledge Lighthouse.

New London Ledge, CT – Mike & Carol McKinney

Of course most of us enjoyed a great deal of good-humored conversation and, for a few, some slight apprehension about an unexpected appearance of the lighthouse’s legendary “Ernie the Ghost” during the hours of darkness on our two-night stay. I recall my wife and I electing to sleep on sleeping bags in an upstairs bedroom that was reportedly once occupied by the former lighthouse keeper for whom the ghost had been named.

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Montauk (NY) Lighthouse dazzling star of holiday show

By sea, the Montauk Lighthouse shows no sign of changing seasons. Its white light flashes every five seconds, serving steadily as a navigational aid to boaters in surrounding waters. 

Montauk (NY) – photo by Devin Stein Wikimediacommons

But by land, New York State’s very first lighthouse is touched by the same holiday magic as the rest of the Island. As autumn fades to winter, a crew strings lights along the edges and windows of the tower and its adjoining museum and keeper’s quarters. 

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After 117 Years the Port Isabel (TX) Lighthouse is brought back to life

PORT ISABEL, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Dec. 2 the City of Port Isabel along with the Texas Historical Commission held a ceremony where hundreds filled the streets trying to get a glimpse of history being made. 

Port Isabel TX – USLHS archives

Many anticipated as the lighthouse was brought to life, including several members of the Port Isabel City Commission and Mayor Martin Cantu. 

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Planes — and Santa — make annual flight to Fire Island (NY) Lighthouse

It was 1953, and the pilot Edward Snow was on a mission to uphold tradition. Each year at holiday time, Snow would fly over East Coast lighthouses and parachute packages of small gifts to the keepers and their families. That year, he sent candy, wooden toys, newspapers, and a box of spices down to the Fire Island Lighthouse’s keeper and his family, said the structure’s current executive director Tony Femminella. 

Fire Island, NY – USLHS archives

The practice originated decades before Snow’s Fire Island flyover, as is documented in news clippings from the 1930s and ’40s that dub the pilots “Flying Santa Claus.” And in spirit, it has long outlived Snow’s run.

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Quezon town (Philippines) transforms lighthouse into giant Christmas tree, draws tourists

QUEZON, Philippines – A lighthouse constructed during the COVID-19 pandemic for local fisherfolk and crew of vessels passing through Tayabas Bay is now a giant Christmas beacon for Quezon province.

Quezon Philippines – photo by Ramon FVelasquez Wikimediacommons

Every night, residents and visitors flock to the coast of General Luna town, almost 104 kilometers from Lucena, the capital of Quezon province, to see the 42-foot “tree,” as police and civilian personnel stand by to ensure safety.

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India Govt starts work on 65 lighthouse tourism projects

Government proposes to develop close to 65 lighthouses located along its coastal belt as places of tourist interest under the public private project (PPP) mode.

Kapu India – Vinay bhat Wikimediacommons

According to ministry of ports, shipping and waterways, the 65 light house sites are spread across 11 states and union territories. These would now be developed as lighthouse tourism projects with construction of world class tourist infrastructure by the private sector.

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Why Hendrick’s gave a British lighthouse a glow up to promote its coastal-theme gin

Looking to the sea for inspiration Hendrick’s Gin has launched Neptunia Gin Lighthouses, by transforming coastal beacons into multimedia art installations.

Belle Toute US – USLHS archives

Lighthouses at East Sussex, The Wirral, and Hendrick’s hometown of Girvan were chosen for the marriage of gin and seascape, sating a thirst for visual drama while adding to Hendrick’s Cabine of Curiosities.

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Upgrade of Ireland’s Youghal’s lighthouse among 20 projects to get funding

Marine projects across Cork have received a funding boost with more than €6m earmarked for 20 projects, including an overhaul of Youghal’s lighthouse, dredging of Ballycotton harbour, and upgrades to piers in Courtmacsherry and Schull.

Youghal Ireland Lighthouse – Ralph Eshelman

The funding, which comes from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve funds, was announced as part of the Brexit Investment in Public Marine Infrastructure scheme, which is designed to support economic sectors, businesses and local communities affected by Brexit.

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4 new Philippine lighthouses, Coast Guard presence elate Batanes folk

BASCO, Batanes, Philippines —A new lighthouse in Ivana town on the western side of Batan, one of the islands that make up the northernmost province of Batanes, is a sign of change for the fishermen who live there.

Photo by FRANCES MANGOSING / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

It is actually one of four new lighthouses built by the Department of Public Works and Highways and maintained by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in partnership with the municipalities of Ivana, Mahatao and Sabtang and with the Port of Valanga.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research.

If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to Jeremy D’Entremont at

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