Save The Bay kicks off its 2016 lighthouse tour season this month, with several half-day and full-day cruises that promise exceptional views and a tour of Rose Island Lighthouse or Pomham Rocks Lighthouse Grounds.
Northern Lighthouse Tours are 3.5-hour cruises departing from the Bay Center at 100 Save The Bay Drive in Providence at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, June 18 and September 24. Tour offers historical sights of the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay and the Providence River, breathtaking views of eight active and inactive lighthouses around Gaspee Point, Hog Island, Prudence Island and Conimicut Point, as well as a foot tour of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse grounds. Recent restoration efforts of Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse have made it one of the more stunning lights in the Bay. Other lights included in Northern Lighthouse tours are:
- Bristol Ferry Light, just under the Mt. Hope Bridge, a privately-owned brick lighthouse that was operational from 1855 through 1927;
- Conimicut Light, seen from both Conimicut Point in Warwick and Nayatt Point in Barrington, and the last station in Rhode Island to be electrified in 1960;
- Hog Island Shoal Light, whose “spark-plug,” or “coffee pot tower,” design served as the standard from the 1870s through the 1900s;
- Nayatt Point Light, originally built in 1828 to help guide transports in and out of the narrow river shoals toward Narragansett Bay, and later rebuilt to protect the entrance to the river further south;
- Prudence Island Light, Rhode Island’s oldest lighthouse, maintained today by the Prudence Island Conservancy;
- Sabin Point Light, whose keeper and his wife were both swept away, but survived, in the hurricane of ’38;
- Warwick Light, the last Cast Iron Tower style of lighthouse remaining in New England, which is overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard and best seen by boat.
Southern Lighthouse Tours are 3.5-hour cruises departing from Alofsin Pier at Fort Adams in Newport, RI on Saturdays, July 9 and September 17 at 9 a.m. With breathtaking views of the Newport Pell Bridge, Prudence Island and historic Fort Adams, this tour offers views of 11 active and inactive lighthouses, including a stop at Rose Island for a tour of the grounds and a climb up the tower for a close-up view of the Fresnel lens. Other lighthouses included in Southern Lighthouse tours are:
- Beavertail Light, established in 1749 and considered the granddaddy of all Rhode Island lighthouses and the third oldest in the American colonies;
- Castle Hill Light, located at the westernmost point of Newport and at the entrance to the East Passage of Narragansett Bay;
- Conanicut Light, a wood-framed Gothic Revival lighthouse that appears in the 2012 movie Moonrise Kingdom;
- Dutch Island Light, sitting on a former Civil War military base called Fort Greble and continuously powered by a solar-powered battery;
- Gull Rocks oil house, site of a wooden A-Framed lighthouse built in 1887 that survived the devastating hurricane of 1938, was replaced by a skeleton tower in 1928, and was demolished in 1970 for construction of the Newport Bridge;
- Lime Rock Light (Ida Lewis Yacht Club), kept, at one time, by Idawalley Zaradia Lewis, who supposedly single-handedly saved 18-35 lives as keeper;
- Newport Harbor Light, built in 1824 at the entrance to Newport Harbor and witness to Goat Island’s transformations from fort, to torpedo station, to barracks, to condos, and now the Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel;
- Plum Beach Light, an example of “spark plug” design and a victim, over the years, to a loose construction barge, tidal wave in one of Rhode Island’s worst hurricanes, a legal battle over ownership, and years of guano and the elements, now restored by the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse
- Poplar Point Light, Rhode Island’s oldest unaltered lighthouse in its original location and the “oldest freestanding wooden” lighthouse in the nation;
- Rose Island Light, built in 1798 just south of the base of the Newport Pell Bridge and and a favorite spot for overnight and weekend guest keepers;
- Wickford Harbor Light, originally a square wooden tower replaced with a skeleton tower in 1930.
Ultimate Lighthouse Tours are 7-hour cruises departing from the Bay Center at 100 Save The Bay Drive in Providence and motoring down Narragansett Bay’s West Passage into Newport and returning home via the East Passage. Offered at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, August 20, September 10, and October 1, Ultimate Lighthouse Tours offer beautiful views of all lighthouses included in both the Northern and Southern Tours, as well as a lunch stop and tour at the grounds of Rose Island Light.
All tours are narrated by David Kelleher, a Friend of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse and member of
the American Lighthouse Foundation. Proceeds support the restoration of Rose Island Lighthouse and Pomham Rocks Lighthouse as well as environmental education programs for local urban and underserved schoolchildren. For more information and to purchase tour tickets, visit our lighthouse website at www.savebay.org/lighthouse.