The Lighthouses of Portsmouth Harbor

The Piscataqua River is a tidal river that separates NH from ME, forms Portsmouth Harbor, and empties into the Gulf of Maine. Recently I ventured out into New Castle, NH, which is an island. Driving around the island I found a nice spot to see the Portsmouth Harbor Light and was so happy to see that from the same park, you can see the Whaleback Light just over the border in Kittery ME. Another site worth checking out in New Castle is Wentworth by the Sea, but I made the decision that visiting that historic beauty would need more time than I had…probably a nicer outfit too.

Portsmouth Harbor Light is actually at Fort Constitution. You can drive toward the Coast Guard Base and then follow the signs for the Fort Constitution Historic Site. From May to mid-October they actually do tours of the lighthouse! I am definitely going this coming summer. You can actually climb all the way up to the lantern room! Fort Constitution was originally Fort William and Mary. In 1791, NH gave the site to the US, and the fort was renovated and renamed something a little more American : )

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Coastline of New Castle NH from Great Island Commons
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Coastline of New Castle NH from Great Island Commons. The seagulls are so cute right now, all puffed up with their winter down.

I viewed the light houses from Great Island Commons, which is a pay to enter park in the summer, but is free right now! I also got a closer look at the Portsmouth Harbor Light from the end of Ocean St…..like I was one step away from trespassing on US Government property haha. The original wooden lighthouse was built in 1771. It was rebuilt in 1804, shortened in 1851, and then rebuilt again in 1878 lined with cast-iron bricks. There is an oil house built in 1903 and a keeper’s house from 1872 that is being used as US Coast Guard offices.

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Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

The Portsmouth Harbor Light is a fixed green beacon that can be seen 12 nautical miles out. Part of the reason for the steady fixed beacon and for the shortening of the light house was the construction of Whaleback Light, a little farther out in the harbor. Whaleback Light is actually just over the border in Kittery Maine off the coast of Wood Island. The original Whaleback was built in 1820, rebuilt in 1872 after a bad storm caused cracks to the foundation. The lighthouse is made of granite blocks and sits on a rocky outcrop in the harbor. There is a keeper’s living area and a storage area within the house. Whaleback has a bright white LED light (new in 2009) every 10 seconds. It originally had a fog bell, but at some point it was changed to a horn. The light was automated in 1963, so the last keeper to live there was James Pope, USCG in the early 1960s.

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Wood Island Life Saving Station & Whaleback Lighthouse

Wood Island is home to the Wood Island Life Saving Station. It was built in 1907 in Kittery, and before the USCG was around, this station had rowboats for the US Life Saving Service to help mariners in distress. The station is actually in the midst of a restoration to be used as a maritime museum! See the progress and more history of the station here.

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Whaleback Light- love the solitary gull there on the rock

There is something about exploring the coastal areas of New England during the off season. Great Island Commons is probably packed in the summer with walkers, families, picnic-ers, and so on. I bet there are days when the parking lot gets full and they have to turn people away! It is definitely cold, but for me its rejuvenating! Getting out of the car to this beautiful scenery and that raw wind blowing in your face- talk about all the shivers! In the winter, these coastal areas are so quiet, and still.

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Christmas Lights on the Nubble Lighthouse

Maine is home to many lighthouses; 65 to be exact. Maine along with being called Vacationland is also called the Lighthouse State! The closest Maine lighthouse to me is in York Maine on Cape Neddick. The lighthouse is on Nubble Island with a house and a couple other buildings. The lighthouse was built in 1879 and became automated in 1987.  I believe the official name for the lighthouse is the Cape Neddick Light, but many call it the Nubble Light. The Sohier Park has a gift shop and parking area so you can see the island. You can see the cable contraption to send packages from the park over to the island. It’s a pretty cool spot to visit.

The official lighting for the Nubble was the weekend after Thanksgiving. They had carolers and cookies and Santa; its quite an event. The lights will be on from dusk to midnight until New Year’s Eve. I went the weekend after to see it so I could have a little privacy with the Nubble. Here she is.

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Oh and if seeing a lighthouse in Maine light up for Christmas isn’t enough, on the way in and out of the park, you can see this lovely lobster trap tree!

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My first Lilly post: The After Party Sale…

So since I started this blog in the fall, I haven’t really gotten to post anything about one my favorite ladies, Lilly Pulitzer. She was smart, stylish, loved color, and became synonymous with her amazing brand and the resort lifestyle. You can say she started with money, being a student at Miss Porter’s in Connecticut with Jackie O….and then went straight to more money marrying Herbert Pulitzer, but no matter what you wanna say, she built an incredible company.

She passed away in 2013 and honestly, as time passes, I like less and less of the patterns. I think part of the problem for me is there’s a LOT of neon now, and very mod patterns. My red hair, as much as I love it, makes me stand out, so I have always kept my wardrobe a little muted, lots of navy and earth tones. Most of the prints I have liked from Lilly had a sort of New England feel to them. Also, I hate the hashtag “buy me lilly”. It sounds so spoiled and greedy, not at all the way I picture the ideal Lilly girl.

I got onto the website around 8:30 AM yesterday and there were over 40k users in front of me…by the time I got on, a lot of stuff was already sold out!! I did get one thing 🙂 A white shift that I am thinking would be lovely for the rehearsal & rehearsal dinner the night before my wedding. I think it retailed for $278, and it was $74 for the after party sale. It’s called the Delia shift. I had been hunting for a LWD (little white dress) and I think this fits the bill. shopping

Some of my favorite prints from the past include:

Clockwise from the top: You Gotta Regatta, Lobstah Roll, Get Nauti, Seafood Salad, & Watch Out.

You can see a theme right? Lighthouses, seafood, sailboats…..You gotta regatta and get nauti are total holy grail prints, anything in these prints is usually really marked up on Ebay. I still look from time to time. Always got my eye out for a deal 😉

I hope these patterns have given you all a little excuse for some summer day dreamin!!!

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