Adventure Two: The Cedar Island Lighthouse

July 2004 - With my new gear and okay from the doctor, it was time to go on my first real adventure, and it was a good one! I got to visit the Cedar Island Lighthouse, in East Hampton, New York.

It took about one-and-a-half hours to drive to lighthouse. I was comfortable in my new carrier. Before we started the walk out to the lighthouse, I had a drink of water. Then we walked along the beach, with me peeking out of my carrier at all the new sights! Bob even walked in the water for a while. It was funny to see the water splashing below me.

There were Piping Plovers with babies on part of the beach, so we couldn't walk in that area. I'm told there are several beaches on Long Island that where these endangered birds nest. We did see a couple of them, but we kept our distance so we wouldn't disturb them. Further down the beach, we saw an Osprey nest. An Osprey is a hawk that eats fish. There was a time when these birds were in danger from a pesticide called DDT, but with that pesticide banned, they have made a great comeback on Long Island.

After about a half hour walk, we came to the lighthouse. It hasn't actually been used as a lighthouse since 1934, and it is all closed up now because of a fire in 1974. A group called the Long Island Lighthouse Society is now working with the Suffolk County Parks Department, which owns the lighthouse, to restore the old lighthouse. They recently restored another building on the site, a small brick building, built in 1902, that held oil for the lighthouse's oil lamp, tools, and other things that couldn't be stored in the lighthouse.

I learned about the history of this lighthouse, too. The first Cedar Island Lighthouse was built in 1839, to help whaling ships get safely in and out of the nearby port of Sag Harbor. At that time, the area around the lighthouse was an island. A new lighthouse, the one that is there now, replaced the original one in 1869. They built the new lighthouse on a different part of the small island because the island was washing away. By the time they stopped using the lighthouse, in 1934, there wasn't much land left, and the water was halfway around the foundation of the lighthouse! A big hurricane hit the area in 1938 and churned up so much sand that it filled in the area between Cedar Island and Long Island! That's why we can walk to the lighthouse now.

I don't know if any kitties ever lived at Cedar Island, but I do know of at least two dogs, Mutt and Brownie, who lived there in the 1920s and 30s. They lived with the Follett family. William Follett was the lighthouse's keeper. He lived with his wife, Atta. They often had friends over (Brownie was given to them by a friend named Frank, who was a local painter). The Folletts even had two grandchildren, Bill and Warren, living with them for a few years. When Bill and Warren were big enough to go to school. they still came to live with their grandparents in the Summer. Life on the island must have been fun!

While I was at the lighthouse, I got to look at some other things I had never seen before. There were plants I had never seen, like the one in the photo on the right. Bob and Diane made sure I didn't eat any of the plant, though. It was so exciting, that I got up on all four feet to check it out. That's hard for me to do, but it gave me a better look at the plant.

I also got to sit on the beach for a little while and look out over the water. From the beach I could see Shelter Island. There was lots of sand on the beach (I had never seen so much sand before!), and there were shells and seaweed. I didn't stay on the beach too long, though, because it was hot out. Before we started our walk back to the parking lot, I had a little more water. It's important to drink enough water on a hot day, especially when you're wearing a fur coat.

I had to ride in the carrier on the walk back, to protect me from the sun, but I just had to peek out every so often to see what was going on. The splashing of the water as Bob walked in it was funny!

After our half hour walk back to the parking lot, we still had to make the long drive home. I was tired from my first really big adventure, so I slept almost the whole way. Bob and Diane said I was sleeping with my tongue sticking out a little, and it looked funny (I'm glad they didn't get a picture of me sleeping like that).



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