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Published: Saturday, February 22, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Want to stay in a lighthouse? They'll leave a light on for you

  • Visitors are transported the length of Dungeness Spit to the New Dungeness Light Station, east of Port Angeles.

    U.S. Lighthouse Society

    Visitors are transported the length of Dungeness Spit to the New Dungeness Light Station, east of Port Angeles.

  • The North Head Lighthouse is at Cape Disappointment State Park on the Washington state coast, south of Ilwaco.

    U.S. Lighthouse Society

    The North Head Lighthouse is at Cape Disappointment State Park on the Washington state coast, south of Ilwaco.

  • The Point No Point Lighthouse is located at the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula near Hansville.

    U.S. Lighthouse Society

    The Point No Point Lighthouse is located at the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula near Hansville.

Did you ever want to stay in a lighthouse?
Well, pack your bags. Now you can.
For real. There are five vacation rental lighthouses within a few hours of Snohomish County. Stay a night or a week.
"Lighthouses have always been places of interest," said Jeff Gales, director of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.
"It is only recently that people can rent the lightkeeper's house and use it for vacations. Before that, the best they could get was a tour."
All five local rentals have furnished living quarters. These are not-for-profit B&Bs, with revenues used to maintain, preserve and restore the respective light stations.
There's history, romance, solitude and Internet service.
"The goal is to give people a taste of what it's like to be a lightkeeper and have all the modern conveniences," Gales said. "Pizza delivery is available at two of the five lighthouses."
This is the ultimate beachfront property.
"You can't get much closer than a lighthouse," Gales said. "You can see a wide array of marine mammals and sea life.
"It is perfect for people who love bird-watching and photography. Set up a chair on the beach and watch the ships go by," Gales said.
"There is the illusion of being far away."
Booking a lighthouse is similar to any vacation rental.
"People are now booking for the coming summer months and into next year," Gales said. "Lighthouses are very popular Fourth of July and New Year's Eve. Holidays in general are popular."
Each lighthouse has its own charm and identity. Find the one that matches your family and fervor.
Two come with light housekeeping duties.
"You don't have to keep the light on or make sure the ships don't crash," Gales said.
Browns Point Lighthouse: On Puget Sound, 11 miles from Tacoma.
"If you want to get the feel of going back in history, Browns is the place to stay," Gales said.
"The keeper's quarters are one of the finest example of historic restoration of a keeper's dwelling."
The cottage, built in 1903, was named "One of Ten Best Lighthouses to Sleep in" by Smartertravel.com. It has three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a music parlor.
The "tour of duty" includes raising and lowering the flag. The light is still operated by the U.S. Coast Guard in a small neighborhood park.
New Dungeness Light Station: At the end of a 5.5-mile sand spit on the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim.
No pizza delivery here.
"It is an extremely difficult location to reach," Gales said. "They take you out with all your supplies, then you are on your own until they pick you up a week later."
You won't want to leave, anyway. It's impeccably restored.
"Even though it's at the end of the sand spit you are still in the lap of luxury," Gales said. There's a rec room and laundry facilities in the basement.
It's not all play.
"You might have to water the lawn or maybe even mow the lawn. It's a responsibility most enjoy doing," he said.
You also have to give a tour to those who make the hike all the way out there.
Transport day to get there is usually Saturday at low tide, which sometimes occurs in the middle of the night. Tides may require a Friday transfer during winter months.
North Head Lighthouse: Cape Disappointment State Park.
The lighthouse was built because of the dangerous coastline.
"There were so many shipwrecks and so many lives were lost," Gales said.
"Today, guests can enjoy a huge state park that surrounds the property's 27 miles of beachfront, lots of hiking and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It's all right there at your doorstep."
There are two lightkeeper houses, each with three bedrooms.
Point No Point Lighthouse: At the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula near Hansville.
"This is very good for those interested in shipping and boating traffic," Gales said. "You see ships of every kind: cruise chips, cargo ships, submarines, military vessels, anything you can possibly think of that floats on the water."
The setting has panoramic views of islands, the Seattle skyline, Mount Baker and Mount Rainier.
Built in 1879, it is regarded as the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound. One side is the national office of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, where Gales is based.
The rental side has a two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a reading area.
And it has pizza delivery available.
Point Robinson Lighthouse: On Maury Island southeast of Vashon Island
Hop a ferry from Seattle. Bring the whole fam damily or your 10 BFFs.
"There are two houses that sleep multiple people," Gales said.
"The proximity to the city is a nice aspect. It is good for a large family or people putting together some type of gathering."
The lighthouse has great views, a driftwood-lined beach and walking trails. It's a 15-minute drive to Vashon town center.
Want to stay?
For more information, call 415-362-7255 or go to www.stayatawashingtonlighthouse.org or www.uslhs.org.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » VacationsTravelHikingPuget SoundStrait of Juan de FucaGo See DoOutdoors

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