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Southern Maine
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Nubble (Cape Neddick) Lighthouse

nubble

York, Maine- Built in 1876

Location:

On a small “Nubble” island near the entrance to the York River, a few hundred feet from the mainland of Sohier Park, off Nubble Road from York Beach.

Latitude: 43° 09' 54" N
Longitude: 70° 35' 30" W

 

Historic Stories:

Many shipwrecks had occurred near the Nubble island before the lighthouse was even built. The most famous was the ship Isadore in 1842 wrecked just north of the Nubble in which all the crew had perished, though many have claimed to have observed a phantom ship believed to be the Isadore over the years.

The first Keeper was Brackett Lewis, who also stayed the longest at the lighthouse for 19 years. His daughter Hattie also had a baby at the station. The first lighthouse was painted a reddish brown, and then changed to the current white in 1902. The distance from the mainland to the Nubble Island is only a few hundred feet from the main shore making the lighthouse a constant tourist attraction even to this day.

cape neddick light with bell

Early Cape Neddick Light With Bell
Courtesy US Coast Guard

During very low tide people could walk to the lighthouse (although access was not supposed to be allowed). For lighthouse personnel a special bucket was used to access the little island and for moving supplies to and from the short distance to the mainland.

The second Keeper, William Brooks, was fired from the position when he was found charging tourists and locals to be ferried to the lighthouse.

Between 1930-1943, Keeper Eugene Colman's 19-pound cat used to swim the tiny channel 3-4 times a day, which became a great tourist attraction.

In the late 1960’s, Coast Guard Keeper David Winchester put his two children in the bucket each morning to send them on their way to school, which caused problems with the district Commander when he found out. The Commander prohibited any future families with school aged children from being stationed at the light.

Each year the lighthouse is lit up is part of the holiday season, and also in July for tourists.

 

New England Lighthouses

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

York is an affluent community with beautiful Victorian homes, beaches, and organizes many events year round. York’s Wild Animal Kingdom has an old style amusement park and zoo for tourists. You can also see how taffy is made the old fashion way at the Goldenrod on nearby Short Sands Beach. The are two beaches nearby, Long Sands Beach for the true beach lovers, and Short Sands Beach with lots of shops, amusements, and places to eat.

There are plenty of summer events and parks in York to enjoy. One of the most popular current events is the annual Lighting of the Nubble during the holiday season, right after Christmas, and is also lit during the “Christmas in July” lighting event of the lighthouse.

Mount Agamenticus nearby is an easy hike to enjoy mountaintop views of the ocean and surrounding area, and the occasional concerts that happen there during the summer months.

Heading north up the road a few miles you"ll find the inviting tourist towns of Wells and Ogunquit full of curio shops, clean beaches, and fine restaurants. The Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells offers a paved walkway along coastal marshland for those interested in birding.

In Ogunquit, Marginal Way is probably the most popular one-mile walk in Maine with dramatic views of the area’s rocky ocean shoreline.

 

Driving Directions

 

Contact Info:
Friends of Nubble Light
186 York Street
York, ME 03909

 

 

Local Boat Tours

Boat cruise mentioned below offer different cruises. Each offers specific lighthouse cruises to Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse, and may also pass by the lighthouse during charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, fishing tours and other types of excursions.

Isles of Shoals Steamship Co.
Offers occasional tours up to Nubble lighthouse. Fall foliage tour is best known.
315 Market Street,
P.O. Box 311
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 431-5500
(800) 441-4620

 

Finest Kind Scenic Cruises
Provides scenic coastal and wildlife tours. Includes a tour around Nubble Lighthouse.

P.O. Box 1828
Ogunquit, ME 03907
Phone: (207) 646-5227

 

 

My 300-page book (with over 360 images), Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon.

In addition to historic rescues and stories for each lighthouse, and lots of attractions, you'll find a section of haunted lighthouse stories, like information about the events leading up to sightings of the ghost ship Isadore near Nubble Light over the years.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and attractions

 


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