Adventure Eight: Some Connecticut and
Hudson River Lighthouses

My first adventure of 2006 was a fun one!

My friend Alfred came to visit a few days before Easter. He used to live next door to Bob, but now he lives in Florida. When he got here, he commented that I hadn't been on any adventures in a while. Then we saw that the weather forecast for the day before Easter was going to be warm and sunny, after some morning fog, and we decided to take Alfred on a real Lighthouse Kitty adventure!

We decided that a day trip off of the island would be nice, and that we could see some Connecticut lighthouses, as well as a couple on the famous Hudson River. The night before, we packed up my gear, including my old traveling companion, Mr. DeOgee. In the morning, we got up real early, I had a little breakfast, put on my blue travel collar, we packed up the car, and got on the road.

We picked up Alfred, and drove to the ferry to Connecticut. The ride across the Long Island Sound, which took a little over an hour, was calm and foggy. We couldn't see much at all when we got to the harbor in Connecticut, and the fog was not expected to clear for another hour, so we decided to drive to the Hudson River lighthouses first, and see the Connecticut lights on the way back.

Our first stop was the Tarrytown Light, which has also been known as the Kingsland Point Light, and is now also known as The 1883 Lighthouse at Sleepy Hollow. That name comes from the fact that is located not far from the town of Sleepy Hollow, where Washington Irving's story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, took place (we even saw the location of the famous bridge in the story).

The Tarrytown Light is a round cast-iron lighthouse, like the Orient Point Light I saw almost a year ago, and about 60 feet tall. This lighthouse was built in 1883, and is the only remaining cast-iron light on the Hudson River. It was built to warn ships of shallow areas near the lighthouse.

The original plan was to build  a lighthouse on land at the point, but the land was not available for purchase, so the government built the lighthouse in the water. Over time, the riverbank changed and the lighthouse was not very far from land. A walkway was built to the lighthouse in the 1970s, about ten years after the lighthouse stopped being used (the opening of the nearby Tappan Zee Bridge, with its many lights, made the lighthouse unnecessary). In 1983, when the lighthouse was 100 years old, it was opened to the public, and tours are sometimes conducted.

There were no tours when we were there, so we couldn't get too close to it. It was still foggy when we arrived, so it was not easy to get good photographs. The sun did start to come out while we were there, though, and I took the opportunity to soak up some sun. I love sunlight!

After some time at Tarrytown, we got back in the car and drove away. We crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge, and drove north along the west side of the Hudson River to go find the Stony Point Light.

I was excited about going to Stony Point because I knew that pets had lived there. One of the images in Bob's next book (which I watched him write) shows a young girl with a dog sitting at the base of this lighthouse in the early 1900s, about 100 years before my visit. I was going to get to play in the same spot as that dog.

It was easy to find this lighthouse, as it is part of a famous historic battlefield site. We followed the sign, and went under a big stone gate and a bridge into the park. It was a bit of an uphill walk (but easy for me in my carrier) from the parking lot to the battlefield and lighthouse. We got to read a little about the battle fought there during the Revolutionary War. It was neat being in a place where people fought for the formation of our country. And we gained an understanding of why it is called Stony Point -- there really are rocks everywhere. It must have been a tough place for a battle.

We walked to the lighthouse, at the top of the hill, overlooking the Hudson River. The view was beautiful. The tower, built in 1826, is the oldest lighthouse in the Hudson River. There is no more keepers' house there, but we could see some of its foundation. The lighthouse was retired in 1925, but relit in 1995. A Fresnel lens is now in the lantern room.

Stony Point was my favorite stop of the day. I played in the grass, where that dog played 100 years earlier, and enjoyed the sunshine. there were some insects flying around, and I love to chase bugs! We stayed for a while, I had some water to drink, then we went back to the car to continue our trip.

We drove back to Connecticut, but had to take some back roads to avoid a bad traffic jam caused by a tractor trailer accident. The back roads were more fun than the highway, anyway.

Our next stop was the lighthouse at Fayerweather Island, also known as the Black Rock Harbor Light. We had to walk along a long breakwater (me in my carrier, of course) to get out to the island. As we got closer to the lighthouse, we could see that people have not been nice to it. The island is full of trash and the lighthouse looks lonely and beat up, even though it was restored about eight years ago. It made me sad.

The first lighthouse on this island was built in 1808. That lighthouse was destroyed by a storm in September 1821 (September storms tend to be the worst in this area, and have damaged many lighthouses over the years). The next lighthouse, which still stands, was built within a couple of years. It is about 40 feet tall. It used old-style lamps with reflectors until the 1850s, when a Fresnel lens was installed. The lantern was changed, too, and is an unusual one. The ventilator on top is not ball-shaped, like at most lighthouses, and the panes of glass are shaped like trapezoids (This was the same style lantern used at the 1854 Gardiner's Island, New York, Light, which fell into the water in 1894).

The lighthouse was retired in 1933. The site suffered after that. The keepers' house burned in 1977, and the old oil house is gone now, too (although we could see its brick foundation near the tower). Offshore, south of the island, we could see the back of the Penfield Reef Light. I'd like to get a  good look at that one some day.

The Fayerweather Island Lighthouse must have been beautiful when it was new, and when it was restored in 1998, but it looks tired and sad now. There is graffiti on it, and one of the solar panels installed to light the tower has  a hole in it. I don't understand why people would be mean to an old lighthouse, but maybe that's just because I am a kitty. We left Fayerweather Island a little sad, hoping that the lighthouse will get help soon.

Our next stop was back to the ferry. As the ferry left the harbor, we saw one more lighthouse up close: the Tongue Point Light. It is a small black cast-iron tower with a green light in it. It wasn't very pretty, but not everything has to be pretty. We liked the little lighthouse just the same. In the distance, we saw some other lighthouses on the way home, including Penfield Reef, Stratford Shoal, and Old Field Point. The ferry ride was a nice calm end to a real fun day.

I ate and took a nap when I got home, like I usually do, and dreamed of the lighthouses I saw and the history they represent. I hope that the Fayerweather Island Light gets help soon, and that all of the lighthouses I saw stand for many years for other people (and kitties!) to see and enjoy.

 


 

 

Click on thumbnails for full-size photos

 

 

 

 


Bob and me on the ferry

 


The sign by the park where the Tarrytown Light
 is located

 



The Tarrytown Lighthouse in the fog

 



The sun came out while we were at the Tarrytown Light.
I love sunlight!

 
 

 

 

 


The sign at the entrance to the battlefield

 


The stone gate at the bridge to Stony Point

 


Alfred and me at the Stony Point Light

 


I walked around where the keepers' house used
to be. You can still see some of the brick
foundation in spots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bob and me in front of the Fayerweather Island Light

 

 

 

 






 

 


The Tongue Point Light, as seen from the ferry

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