IN THE FIELD: West Quoddy Head Light

In my previous post, I described our quest to be the first people in the country to see the sunrise at Quoddy Head State Park, which is the eastern most point in the United States.

While the sunrise that morning was short lived due to dense fog, we returned a few hours before sunset to visit the West Quoddy Head Light.

The 49 foot tall lighthouse and keepers house were built in 1858 and stand guard over the Quoddy Narrows, which is a strait between Canada and the United States. Known to be a very foggy area, the beacon, fog horns and bells warn mariners of the dangerous ledges, cliffs, and the infamous Sail Rock, which is a large outcropping several hundred yards out to sea.

The lighthouse is now automated and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. While closed to visitors, tours can be taken of the light keepers house. As we explored the site on our own, we wondered what life was like for the person or family who’s task it was to maintain the lighthouse. How did they entertain themselves? Was it a lonely experience or did they embrace the privacy? Were they allowed to leave the site to go into town once in a while?

Fortunately, we ran into a volunteer who was preparing to give the last tour of the day. How lucky was that? We learned about the lifestyle of the light keepers and their families, how they maintained the station and what they did for amusement. This lighthouse is not as remote as others in the state, so the families often had visitors. The children walked to school for several miles to the town of Lubec. Supplies for the keeper’s families were procured there as well.

At the end of our tour, I was able to capture this image of the station, bathed in lavender light from the sunset. Grand Manan Island which is part of New Brunswick, Canada, is visible at the horizon, about five miles out to sea.


  1. January 23, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Great shot there! WTG

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks Teri, It turned out to be a beautiful evening after such a foggy day. It’s a cool place that far north and east! I have to admit that I love this shot also. I use it on my business cards.

  2. January 23, 2012 at 9:20 am

    So beautiful dear David, I loved it so much. Thank you, have a nice week, with my love, nia

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Thank You NIa, I am glad you enjoyed it and have a truly wonderful week yourself!

  3. Nandini
    January 23, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Sometimes, when we really want to know something, the teacher (who can be any person or just information) appears. It’s a great feeling and mostly goes unnoticed by many people. πŸ™‚

    I loved this photo. Lighthouses have always been an attraction for me, since I have not seen any.. yet. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing this. The lavender light is beautiful, and the lighthouse too. Though the island you mentioned would have gone ignored by me, if you hadn’t mentioned it, may be because of the blue light. πŸ™‚

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Nandini, You are a sweetheart. I am glad I am able to share my stories with you and you find them interesting. I have other lighthouse photos from my travels that I will share also…maybe in a few weeks…I don’t want to over do things…well…maybe sooner!

      • Nandini
        January 27, 2012 at 9:23 am

        Thanks for saying that, David. πŸ™‚ Share them anytime you want. πŸ™‚

  4. January 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Great photo, David. I too, have a weakness for lighthouses. When I lived in Michigan I always enjoy visiting those along Lake Michigan.

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks Bob, I would love to some from the Michigan area…they have some great ones! I have others I will post in a couple of weeks.

  5. January 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Great capture, David!

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Gracie…I love the light we experienced that day!

  6. January 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I really like the colours and where the shadows are on the side of the house-so that’s Canada,eh, in the distance?:) Thank you for giving the story of the people who stayed in these houses. I found that information intriguing.

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Yup that’s Canada eh! Campobello Island (Canada also) is off to the left out of the picture and up the bay (Bay Of Fundy) a few miles. If you ever come east, the coast is a beautiful place to visit!

  7. January 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Boy what a great photograph David. I keep coming back to it. The colours couldn’t be more perfect.

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Wow thanks Gerry! It’s one of my all time favorites. I have several different views with the same light!

  8. January 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Despite your morning fog, the atmosphere was amazingly clear for you later that day, David. In all the times I’ve visited there, I’ve never seen Grand Manan Island that clearly. The afternoon light on the lighthouse is really beautiful.

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks Lee, it did turn out to be a glorious day and I sure did get lucky with the color of the light that evening!

  9. Steve
    January 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Breath-taking David! Soft colours, and that wonderful light on the house make this image so beautiful. Great capture!!

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Steve, I have a couple of other versions and the light is very similar…it didn’t last very long, maybe ten minutes or so. Admittedly, I love this shot!

  10. January 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    What a very beautiful lighthouse. I am rather obsessed with lighthouses and have all sorts of memorabilia and artifacts around the house. I think it’s a shame that they are all automated these days.

    One of my favourite lighthouses in the UK is Portland Bill and we once went to visit it in order to do the tour. Unfortunately it was shut because of the weather πŸ™‚

    • January 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      I love lighthouses also and I am intrigued by the lives those folks led. Some had it really rough…stuck on a remote rock island miles out to sea..they were a special breed for sure! I think you need to take a trip up to the Portland Bill light. We would all love to see your rendition!!!

  11. January 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    “The blue hour” captured perfectly! Thanks for the story as well πŸ™‚

    • January 24, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Thank you Anne, and I am glad you enjoyed the story…there are plenty more!

  12. January 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    oh my goodness this is wonderful, those white walls against the blue water! It’s like a dream! This would a truly inspirational house to live in!

    • January 24, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Kristina, Oh my gosh living there would be the most fantastic thing! I would move up there in a minute!

  13. Jo Woolf
    January 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    That’s a beautiful image – lovely lighting, and very unusual. Thank you for the background information. Lighthouse keepers must have been very dedicated, but what wonderful, dramatic seascapes they must have seen!

    • January 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

      Thanks Jo, I would say lighthouse keepers were/are a special breed. It was a lonely but I would imagine very inspirational.

  14. January 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Wow! What a great writing. This is a beautiful lighthouse. Thanks for sharing!

    • January 24, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Thanks Jennifer, I just tell it like it was/is. I agree, it is a beautiful place and the setting is in my mind…perfect.

  15. January 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    That sure looks well maintained for its age!

    • January 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

      There is a whole group of volunteers that take care of the place all through donations and they do a fine job of it!

  16. January 24, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I love how late day light just colors things so beautifully. Great shot, David. πŸ™‚

  17. January 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    You and me both!! Although morning light does have it’s merits. Thanks Katie!

  18. sarahloub
    January 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I love lighthouses… and I too often wonder about the life of the people in them! My grandfather was in the US Coast Guard and the story is that he started smoking while he was on watch–the cigarette would burn down to his fingers to wake him up when he’d fallen asleep!

    • January 26, 2012 at 9:40 am

      I love lighthouse too…there is something about them and the lonely vigil they stand helping mariners. Funny story about your grandfather…whatever works !!!

  19. January 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm


  20. January 30, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Thanks John!

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