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Along the Se-A-Way Trail

A Lighthousing Expedition


Original plans said for my dad and I to be heading for Maine over spring break the last week of April. But a sudden change of plans came up when he had to meet a prospective client in Buffalo. So, we were off to see the lighthouses of the Seaway Trail. Here's the story.


April 26, 2004

10:15 - Home

We left about 10:15 for Selkirk. It would be about 5 1/2 hours to get there. We took I-78 out as far as Clinton when we remembered that we forgot some things. Shoot. We turned back, losing an hour. It took us until 10:00 to be back on the road.

11:35 - Clinton, NJ Area

We're back on the road. It'll take us until 3:30 to get up to Selkirk now. Ugh! The route seems to be 78 to 33N to 80W to 380 N to 81N. It's raining quite hard. Something is wrong with the wipers on the Land Rover-they are leaving black marks on the windscreen. We'll have to get new ones. The silicone that holds the windscreen on seems to be leaking too..hmm...we need to fix that too. We havn't had driving rain in the area for a while. We have a towel with us...we folded it and put it on the dash. That should help. The NJ/PA border is coming up. Once we cross it, there'll be lots of long, deserted highways...

12:15 - PA/NY Border

We stopped at the New York Welcome Center just south of Binghampton. I got some new maps, travel guides, etc. and we had lunch - leftover sandwiches from when we viewed the Cunard ocean liners Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 sail across the Atlantic in tandem. Quite a sight! We gobbled them down - they were even better today! - and headed north.

I'll skip all the details between here and Selkirk. We drove and drove and drove. It was far. There were valleys. Enough said. You came here to read about lighthouses, not about everything we did in the car.

3:25 PM - Selkirk Light

We finally arrived at Selkirk at 3:25 - a bit ahead of schedule! Contrary to some online opinions I had read, I think that this light was kind of cute. It was smaller than I had thought. It has one of only 4 remaining birdcage lanterns in the US, and is one of only 2 that is operable. At least that's what the website said. I think I have heard different.

I went to the "Lighthouse Bait and Tackle" next door. It said "Gift Shop" on it. I needed postcards. I am sending two postcards to each of five online friends. I figured I'd get an early start. I got a few. I also got a pin of the light. This seems to be the "official" gift shop. The lighthouse itself is rented out as lodging. You can, for $125-$150, have free roam of the entire light. However, I think that there is no innkeeper. You're on your own.

I also noticed something that I would see alot of here. There was a tower out on the breakwater that looked somewhat like a red-striped cigarette standing on end. I shot some photos of this. They are plentiful on the Lakes, though. Probably they are the USCG's modular breakwater markers.

We left the light about 10 minutes after we arrived, which is less time than it took me to write this long-winded entry.

4:00 PM - Stony Point Light

We drove over to Henderson Harbor, where Stony Point Light awaited us. We turned prematurely, but were able to reconnect with our correct path. We followed the roads out to the point, which I assumed was Stony Point.

There are actually TWO Stony Point Lighthouses in New York. One is on the Hudson River. It is a short stone tower with a birdcage lantern like the one at Selkirk. I saw it at the NJLHS' Summer '03 meeting. There is also this one, on Lake Ontario.

This one is a tall tower that comes out of the lake side of a long, two story dwelling. Recently, the owners gutted the entire keepers house, leaving only the walls and foundation, as well as the tower. They have now restored it, making it look just like it originally did, with only two exceptions - the dormers are bigger, and the chimney has been removed. It looks very, very nice! And they bought the light for only $272,500!

We finally finished taking our pictures, and turned around for the journey back. What a pretty light, a pretty setting...just a pretty place.

4:32 PM - Horse Island Light

Penrose said this light wasn't visible. said it was. So we tried it. We drove into Sackets Harbor, home of Funny Cide, the horse. The locals are VERY proud of this. The new Funny Cide book is everywhere, even the Post Office. Which is where we stopped to get postcard stamps. The town looks like one of those historic cutesey little towns that I go crazy about. Oh, how I would love to stroll its Main Street in the In Season!

We drove along Ontario Street. We found Horse Island offshore. The lighthouse seems to be like Stony Point. I don't know, we could only see the lantern. But, as I always say, "A Light is a Light!" I put an arrow on the photo to show the location of the lantern room. It's bigger in reality, but photographs are smaller than reality. It looks like a very interesting light. According to Penrose, there are only it and a few barns on the island, which has mostly had its 32 acres cleared for fields.

5:26 PM - Cape Vincent Breakwater Light

We arrived in Cape Vincent and had our first view of the lighthouse peeking over the hill into the village. We parked in the Municipal Department offices where the light is in front of for photos.

The light is short and square. It kind of looks like Derby Wharf (MA) Light, except it has siding and flares out at the top for the gallery. A "Return Our Troops" yellow ribbon sticker with red, white, and blue on the right tip was on the door. A descriptive sign with all capital K's hung next to it, with a more updated, modern sign on the other side. I peeked into a window, and saw a ladder going to the lantern. One or two lantern panels were boarded up on the side away from the road. But it looked like it had always been that way. An anchor was nearby, too. A cute lighthouse. It's one of those ones you just want to sweep off its pilings and put in your own backyard.

5:41 PM - Tibbets Point Light