Cape May, New Jersey



 Cape May was the first lighthouse I visited in New Jersey. I had to work in East Brunswick and had the Sunday before off. I got up early and headed south on the Garden State Parkway, a toll road. I had maps and still got lost looking for this one. But it was worth the search. Early crisp morning, perfect sky. It had a majestic stature. I was there too early for a tour, but you can go up in it. The lighthouse is located in the Cape May Point State Park. Very lovely grounds, with lots of hiking trails. Several groups of birdwatchers were about and seemed quite optimistic about anticipated sightings.

The first light was constructed at this site in 1823, a shorter conical tower that eventually eroded away. A second tower, also conical, was built in 1847, but so poorly that it had to be demolished. The present tower, 157 feet high, was completed in 1859 and was equipped with a powerful 1st order Fresnel lens. In 1946, the station was automated and the 1st order lens removed. That lens has been preserved and can be viewed at the Cape May Courthouse Museum. The current optic still flashes a white light every 15 seconds and is visible about 25 miles out at sea. 

Cape May is open year round and of course is located on Lighthouse Drive.

Here's how I saw it:
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John B Caddell

Copyright 2001