The Piedras Blancas lighthouse was first illuminated on February 15, 1875. A mere 8 years later a severe earthquake caused some damage about 70 feet up from the base. Finally in 1948, after additional earthquakes, the determination was made that the upper three floors had to be removed. Therefore, the lighthouse stands at 70 feet tall rather than the original 100 feet. The original Fresnel lens was preserved and is on display in the nearby community of Cambria.
The lighthouse is located on a very scenic stretch of California coastline 5.5 miles north of San Simeon. In 2001 the Bureau of Land Management assumed management of the site with the objective to restore the light station to its period of greatest historical significance. The non-profit Piedras Blancas Light Station Association raises funds and provides volunteer assistance for restoration and maintenance. They also conduct scheduled tours which provided us the opportunity to tour the site.
As we previously mentioned, our original plan was to visit Savannah, GA, in early October. But then Hurricane Matthew came along and we had to re-route, heading south along the Gulf Coast of Florida as far as the Florida Keys, then north along the Atlantic Coast. Weeks ago, we had already booked a spot for an extended stay beginning in mid-November in Navarre, FL, on the Gulf Coast of the Florida panhandle between Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach. Bottom line, in order to get back to Savannah, we stopped off in Brunswick, GA. This would save us 150 driving miles to get to Navarre.
St. Augustine bills itself as the oldest city in the United States. When we stopped here we parked at the Stagecoach RV Park just off Interstate 95.
The territory we now know as Florida was first claimed for Spain by Ponce de Leon in 1513. On September 8, 1565, St. Augustine was founded by Spanish admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles. In 1763, the Spanish gave up Florida to Great Britain following the Seven Years’ War, only to regain control in 1784. In the years following the American revolution, it became increasingly difficult for the Spanish to control the Florida colony so in 1819 they relinquished it to the United States.
I would describe the shape of Cape Cod as a jester’s shoe extending out into the Atlantic from the southeastern corner of Massachusetts. We were parked in the Falmouth area, which is near the heel of the jester’s shoe, at the Sippewissett Campground. We took advantage of the Shining Sea Bikeway which is a 10 mile multi-use path that runs from North Falmouth down to Woods Hole, which is at the tip of the mainland on the heel of the Cape. You may have heard of Woods Hole since it is home to the Oceanographic Research Institute.
From Acadia National Park, we moved further south along the Maine coast to park at the Blueberry Pond Campground near Freeport, ME. Established in 1789, Freeport is a town that has transformed itself into an outlet shopping village. I think it all started with L.L. Bean since this is where this retailer of outdoor clothing and equipment got its start. Now there is a vast selection of outlet stores, some of which occupy original vintage buildings.