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.
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.
Acadia National Park recently celebrated its 100th anniversary which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service. A substantial portion of the parkland was gifted by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. much as he did to help establish Grand Teton National Park.
When looking at our photos from Big Sur, it strikes me that taking pictures here makes you feel like a brilliant landscape photographer at the same time that it makes you feel completely inadequate trying to capture this much beauty in a simple photo. Continue reading →