75 degrees, sunny, mild breeze...

...That was Point Arena Lighthouse the summer day BEFORE we arrived. They said it was one of the most beautifull days they've had in a long time. Just goes to show you you can never plan the weather in advance no matter where you go on California's coast. Reality: 53 degrees, low fog, and a moderate wind as we arrived in the afternoon.

Still, the lighthouse and surrounding area held a mystique unlike any other California lighthouse location. Surrounded by a low winding coastine, it is isolated on the end of a small , flat peninsula of land slowely being erroded away by the Pacific Ocean. If you want solitude and lots of grassy walking glades, this is the place to be... period.

Though it was surreal enough, we came back early the next morning to see what it would be like if the fog lifted. The fog did indeed lift. So, herewithin are some comparisons showing what 15 hours difference makes.

Before I continue, I would like to thank lightkeep (managing director) Jeff Gales for the invite and the hospitality.

As with most lighthouses built, they are built after one or more ships crash nearby promting the nessecity of a signal of some sort indicating danger or for navigation. The peninsula that this lighthouse sits on juts out as a rocky reef a mile or so into the ocean just a few feet under sea level. So, guess why this lighthouse was built?...

The lens here at Point Arena is a double bulls-eye 1st order Fresnel that gives off a double flash every six seconds. Unique.

Though this lens in not in use, as a smaller modern light attached to the outside has taken it's place, they have fund raisers a few times a year raising money to eventually re-light the lens (details on official website).

This lens is beauifull. Tours allow you to approach the lens. It is still in pretty good shape. Everyone, please be careful when around them. They are not replaceable (unless you have $4 Million for this one).


Okay, now for the 15 hour difference comparisons - late afternoon / early the next morning... in summer.

What a difference.

It was still cold though. :-)

This gazebo is a nice resting place on the Northern end of the grounds.

The museum is extensive... but I ran out of time. The giftshop is integrated with the museum and they close at 4:00PM. I did get a good look around... lots of good stuff. Besides, If I showed you everything, why go?

The main entry is a mile before the lighthouse itself.

Yes, you read the sign correctly: gift shop; museum; nature trails; aquariums; tours; and vacation rentals(!!!)

The bungalows are not 'hostels' or ran by the International Hostel Association. They are privately owned and each unit has it's own bathroom. An amazing place to stay when you want to get far, far, far... umm... far away from everything.

... And don't worry, the resident racoon is well fed and wired.

This trip was an adventure not unlike traveling to a different country (two-and-a-half hour drive up Highway 1 from River Road to get there aside).

Seriously, Point Arena Lighthouse is a must see at least once... you won't be sorry.

Oh yeah, tell Jeff 'Ed' sent you.

Location :
45500 Lighthouse Road
Point Arena, California
Region : Northern Coast
Nearest Cities :
Point Arena , Gualala (South 10 Miles) [that's all folks]
Interests :
Lighthouse tours, large gift shop, extensive museum, vast grass grounds perfect for walking in any direction, vacation bungalows.
Official Website :
Point Arena Lighthouse (extensive website!!!)
Related Websites :
(see official website)
Comments :
Not much in the town of Point Arena itself. Gualala, 10 miles to the south, is an artisans retreat - good places to stay and you'll find good mochas.
Copyright 2003 Ed Litfin