to the lighthouse

10.13.21 ~ Watch Hill Light

So, we finally made it to the Watch Hill Lighthouse! I’ve been taking pictures of it from the distance from Napatree Point (see here) but now we have managed to see it up close. Sort of. It’s surrounded by a chain link fence and is closed to the public, but it sits at the end of a peninsula where we could take a nice long walk, surrounded by water on both sides. I was able to get pictures of it from a few slightly different angles.

The Watch Hill Lighthouse in Watch Hill, Rhode Island has served as a nautical beacon for ships since 1745, when the Rhode Island colonial government erected a watchtower and beacon during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. The original structure was destroyed in a 1781 storm, and plans were discussed to build a new lighthouse to mark the eastern entrance to Fishers Island Sound and to warn mariners of a dangerous reef southwest of Watch Hill. President Thomas Jefferson signed an act to build the lighthouse in 1806, and construction was completed in 1807. The first lighthouse stood 35 feet (11 m) tall. In 1827, a rotating light was installed to differentiate it from the Stonington Harbor Light in Connecticut. Erosion forced it to close in 1855 and move farther away from the bluff edge. The next lighthouse opened in 1856 and remains as the present structure, standing 45 feet (14 m) tall.
~ Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association website

looking east
looking west toward Napatree Point
(the pictures I’ve taken of the lighthouse before were taken from that dune)
rose hip

Of course, it didn’t take me long to locate some birds. They were on the other side of a large thicket, though. It took me some time to find a way aroud the thicket and down closer to the cormorants and eiders.

double-crested cormorant drying its wings
juvenile double-crested cormorant ~ first one I’ve seen
side view of a double-crested cormorant drying its wings
view from the thicket
sticking out of the thicket
house sparrows peeking out of the thicket
immature male common eider
female common eider
immature male common eider
female common eider

What was it then? What did it mean? Could things thrust their hands up and grip one; could the blade cut; the fist grasp? Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life? — startling, unexpected, unknown?
~ Virginia Woolf
(To the Lighthouse)

Atlantic Ocean

It was a pleasant day for a walk by the sea. We found the walk-in entrance to another public beach to the east of the peninsula and will probably try to visit that one on another visit. It will be fun to photograph the lighthouse from that direction!

Watch Hill Lighthouse

28 thoughts on “to the lighthouse”

    1. Leelah, your comment about buses made me think of many years ago when I lived in Greece with my parents and sister. Often on the weekend we would hike up Mt. Hymettus and then take a bus home from the end of our hike. Sometimes we’d see a shepherd and a flock of sheep. We always brought wine, bread and cheese for a lunch. I loved the freedom buses gave us, and we didn’t need a car there. But I am grateful here that we can drive to so many nice places to take a walk. I wish you could, too!

  1. Great collection! Lighthouses fascinate me. I remember as a child that I climbed a spiral staircase all the way up one, but I have no idea which one or where. My parents enjoyed car travel to explore different states with us, kids, in the back seat. In my teens, they traveled by RV. My siblings didn’t liked going with them so they stayed home. But I absolutely loved climbing in that RV to go exploring with them.

    I’m a definite home person now. I think a combination of selling my island townhouse, moving to the Bay Area cottage, aging health, and the pandemic has me quite content staying right here with Yorkie, retired. Last out of state road trip I took with my two dogs was summer of 2019 when I was exploring property to purchase to retire.

    So now I travel with you and Tim! I like that you linked the information on the lighthouse as well as your personal observation notes!!

    1. Thank you, TD! It’s wonderful you have so many fond memories of seeing places and doing things with your parents. My parents loved the great outdoors so my memories are mostly of hiking, canoeing, camping, birdwatching…

      I’ve always been a homebody but it’s even more pronounced now because of our health problems. Since we’re more comfortable keeping close to home I’m glad we live in an area with so many great places to explore and a delightful change of seasons to enjoy. I hope you’re enjoying your retirement!

      It’s a pleasure having you along on our little adventures! 🙂

  2. Nice shots, Barbara, and I love seeing eiders, so plump and warm-looking! 🙂
    I was just last night telling a friend of the carousel at Watch Hill, apparently the oldest in America. Our kids loved riding it after a day at the beach.

    1. Seems like you and I have traveled many of the same paths, Eliza. 🙂 My children used to ride the Merry-Go-Round at Watch Hill, too. Hard to believe it’s been there since 1883! I was thrilled to see some more eiders at a different beach.

  3. Great shots, Barbara. I really like the Virginia Woolf quotes you shared to (because, of course, I thought of her when I read your post title — I read the book so long ago). It’s so interesting to see the lighthouse from various points of view.

    1. Thank you, Robin! I read that book a very long time ago, too, and don’t remember many of the details, just the general mood. But as we arrived there the title of the book kept popping into my head so I just had to find a quote that resonated. Maybe it’s time to read it again.

  4. Nice lighthouse! We’ve both visited lighthouses this year. Is it closed because of covid? (I smiled at all the pictures of birds you took–so very nice.)

    1. Thank you, Kathy! The impression I got from the website is that it has been closed to the public for quite a while, even before covid. Not sure why public access is restricted. Birds do have a funny way of showing up when I’m not even looking for them. 😉

  5. Another beautiful day! I enjoy your day trips so much. And “To the Lighthouse” made a big impression on me when I read it in college. I need to read it again.

    1. Thank you, Anna! I think it’s time for me to read “To the Lighthouse” again, too. I’m sure it will affect me differently now that I am so much older. When I saw the movie “On Golden Pond” as a young adult I sympathized with the daughter and when I saw it many years later I sympathized with her parents. Interesting how our perceptions change.

    1. Thanks, Jeff. So many things to explore right here close to home, and the internet on hand to answer all the history questions without having to make a trip to the library. 🙂 Hope you’ll be getting into your new place soon.

  6. I love lighthouses, and you’ve show us a dandy one, Barbara. I had to giggle, though, when I saw your pictures of the birds drying out their feathers — they almost look like they need a clothesline and some pins!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! A clothesline and some pins would certainly make the drying chore a little easier for the cormorants. 🙂 I’ve always thought they look a little sinister, great for Halloween decorations. Or maybe like Batman’s wings…

    1. Thank you, Donna!! This was my second eider sighting this fall, and in a different location, a very unexpected, pleasant surprise.

  7. I wondered if you had gotten to go to lighthouse on that Friday before last as you had planned to. I’m glad you got there Barbara! You got some great shots of the lighthouse and I’ll look forward to your return visit from the other side. I like that surf on the rocks shot too. You were so lucky with the birds. I always laugh when I see those Cormorants drying their wings and I’ve never seen a juvenile Cormorant (that I know of). Their beak is not so hooked and he/she kept the wings down, not airing them out. I’ve never seen an eider duck and now you have shown several so I know where eiderdown comes from. Glad you found a passage way in closer to view the lighthouse. I read the link – I like how it sits on that island – it’s large!

    1. I wasn’t feeling well on the Friday we originally planned to go, and then I got my covid booster on Monday and felt yucky for a few more days. But we finally made it!!! It was good to satisfy my curiosity and see the lighthouse up close. Walking around the grounds, hearing the ocean waves crashing on both sides of the peninsula — it was thrilling and grounding at the same time. I’m glad I got the pictures of the waves crashing on the rocks and hopefully when we get to the other beach I can get some of them crashing on the sand. They were curling before breaking and I couldn’t get a good picture of it from where I was. (I tried!) I thought that juvenile cormorant was a new kind of bird at first. That bare white chest really puzzled me. Love those eiders, I hope I keep seeing them around these parts…

      1. Barbara – I’m glad you are feeling better now and were able to get out to the lighthouse. I had the Moderna vaccine, so it looks like I should be able to get my booster sometime in the next few weeks they are saying – it’s just a half-dose. Like you, I’ll get it as I’m in the 65 and older category. The second vaccine made me get flu-like symptoms the next day. I rarely get sick and the first shot didn’t affect me, but this one did. It was a good excuse to down a bag of Goldfish crackers – I love them and they are my indulgence. I did like the waves crashing … l felt like I was there. I see the cormorants at Heritage Park drying their wings. Those eiders were quite plump and I was happy to “meet them” for the first time!

        1. Thanks, Linda! I’m not quite 65 but I have two underlying conditions so they let me get the Pfizer booster. Tim’s waiting for his Moderna booster, too. Apparently the Moderna vaccine had a somewhat better immune response than Pfizer so it lasted longer and not as much is needed for the boost. The side effects I got were headache, fatigue, malaise and a sore arm. My neighbor got a fever and chills. Oh yes, Tim and the kids and grandkids love Goldfish crackers, too. They would definitely agree with you about them being the perfect comfort food. 🙂 (I’m gluten intolerant so I can’t have them!) I used to keep a few in a snack tub for when we’d pick Larisa and Kat up at the airport, for the ride home. It will be interesting to see if Tim gets any side effects from his booster. I hope you’ll be getting yours soon! In the meantime we keep taking our walks…

          1. Thank goodness for our walks Barbara and this may be the last week for the mild weather (or so they say) … we have some stellar days for tomorrow and Wednesday. I’m wondering about side effects from the booster since it’s half the dose. Goldfish are great and really my only indulgence since I won’t bring Cheez-its into the house as I’ll eat too many of them. I tell myself the whole-grain Goldfish are healthy so it gives me license to eat them.

          2. It made me smile when you mentioned Cheez-Its. 😊 My father used to LOVE those! And he did eat way too many of them – lol. I almost turned on the heat last night and really had to bundle up in the wind at the beach this morning. It’s close to the full moon so the tide was pretty high and the waves were crashing, usually the water is relatively calm here. No storms that I know of. Even the gulls were hunched up with their feathers ruffling.

  8. Hi Barbara! The rose hip, here, is much more what I expect this time of the year, than the blooms you saw in your more recent post. And I love that you and Tim have found this positive side to the pandemic– exploring all these local corners. How much would I find if we started doing the same? Alas, retirement isn’t coming soon for us, but we do what we can.

    1. Hi Susan! I bet you’d find a lot of cool places, once you started looking. Most of the places we’ve found have been here all along, although the open space associations and land conservancies keep adding to their properties. I read an article this morning that said Connecticut is working towards setting aside 21% of its land as open space.

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