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Great Lakes Seaway Trail Lighthouses Beckon Travelers
Lighthouses Beckon Travelers

by Kara Dunn

Lighthouses once vital to maritime safety for sailors and War of 1812 soldiers on Great Lakes Erie and Ontario and on the St. Lawrence River now beckon theme travelers from around the globe.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail collection of 28 historic lighthouses includes three lights (Presque Isle, PA, Buffalo and Old Fort Niagara) claiming to be the first on the Great Lakes, Barcelona Lighthouse - the first public building in the U.S. to be lit by natural gas, and Selkirk Lighthouse, one of only four lights that still have a birdcage-style lantern room.

Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse
Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse on Lake Ontario

Selkirk Lighthouse is one of the three Seaway Trail lights offering rarely-found-in-a-lighthouse overnight accommodations. Call ahead for reservations at Thirty Mile Point and Selkirk Lighthouses on Lake Ontario and at Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Hostel in Cape Vincent located at the scenic junction of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The first Fort Niagara light was set atop the roof of the “French Castle,” built in 1781-82 and was likely fueled by whale oil. Today this lighthouse is among the fine collection of military architecture seen at Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown.

Oswego Lighthouse overlooks a harbor that is home to one of the last remaining tugboats used in the World War II Invasion of Normandy. Historic Dunkirk Lighthouse in Dunkirk, New York, is itself a veteran’s museum honoring the American armed services.

A climb to the top of the Old Sodus Lighthouse offers a spectacular view of Chimney Bluffs and Sodus Bay, often dotted with sailboats in the summertime. This lighthouse site includes a museum, reference library and gift shop and hosts summer Sunday afternoon waterfront concerts (generally from early July to September).

Some of the 1000 Islands lights set on islands in the St. Lawrence River can be seen from shore, some require a tour by boat. Horse Island Lighthouse just offshore of Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario can be seen from the Sackets Harbor Battlefield overlook, just a short walk from the historic Seaway Trail Discovery Center.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail lighthouses have been the subject of their own WPBS television show, a video, quilt patterns and a $5.95 guidebook now in its 4 th printing. For more information on the Seaway Trail, one of America’s Byways and a National Recreational Trail, visit www.seawaytrail.com or call
1-800-SEAWAY-T for a free JOURNEY magazine.

IF YOU GO…

Seaway Trail, Inc.
Seaway Trail Discovery Center
Ray and West Main Streets
PO Box 660
Sackets Harbor, NY 13685
315-646-1000
www.seawaytrail.com

Overnight Lighthouse Accommodations:

Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse Cottage
Golden Hill State Park
Box 20
Barker, NY 14012
716-795-3885

Selkirk Lighthouse

6 Lake Road Ext., Box 228
Pulaski, NY 13142
315-298-6688

Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Hostel
County Route 6
Cape Vincent, NY 13618
315-654-2700

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