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Annual Maryland Lighthouse Challenge
September 14 - September 18
One of the missions of the Chesapeake Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society is to educate, inform and entertain those who are interested in Chesapeake Bay area lighthouses. On the weekend of September 16 and 17, in partnership with the lighthouse organizations across the state, the Chapter will do just that.
Participants who visit participating lighthouses during the allotted hours will receive a complimentary souvenir of that lighthouse. It is not necessary to visit all the lighthouses to participate and they can be visited in any order. Those who score a perfect ten by visiting all the lighthouse attractions will receive an additional souvenir proclaiming that “they’ve seen the lights!”
The Lights of the 2017 Maryland Lighthouse Challenge include Concord Point, Seven Foot Knoll, Lightship Chesapeake, Hooper Strait, Choptank River Replica, Drum Point, Cove Point, Piney Point, Point Lookout and Fort Washington.
For participants’ added pleasure, and to really put the “challenge” in the event, organizers are offering three bonus lights – Sandy Point Shoal (to be viewed off shore from one of Maryland’s most popular state parks), the Blackistone Lighthouse Replica at the site of Maryland’s birthplace, St. Clement’s Island and Millers Island Lighthouse to be viewed from the Dock of the Bay Restaurant in Sparrows Point.
There will also be an add-on Bonus Cruise aboard Sawyer’s Charters, departing from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to see some of the Bay’s more elusive lighthouses plus an early bird special on Friday, September 15, which includes all of the Eastern Shore attractions, for those who want to jumpstart their Challenge adventure.
Lighthouses are an important aspect of our state’s maritime heritage and remain treasured keepsakes of a by-gone era. Participants will find these magnificent structures and the history surrounding them on the water’s edge at some of the most scenic destinations statewide.
Instructions and detailed driving directions, one light to the next, is available at www.cheslights.org.
Charter Boat Lighthouse Cruise
See six lighthouses on the Chesapeake Bay onboard a premier charter boat on September 14, 15 and 18. In addition to seeing six lighthouses, enjoy lunch on Smith Island, all while supporting the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society in its efforts to restore and preserve lighthouses on the Chesapeake Bay.
This year, Sawyer Charters and Tours is proud to sponsor the 2017 Maryland Lighthouse Challenge. Three of its cruises on September 14, 15, and 18 will be taking place during the Challenge weekend, enabling Challenge participants to see even more lighthouses.
On these cruises, view six lighthouses and learn about their histories on the Chesapeake Bay, onboard one of the best charter boats in the fleet. These lighthouses include: Hooper Island Lighthouse, Point No Point Lighthouse, Point Lookout Lighthouse, Smith Point Lighthouse, Solomons Lump Lighthouse and Holland Island Bar Light.
The cost is $125 per person and includes the cost of the meal. A portion of the proceeds will go to sponsor the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge and support the efforts of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society in its other activities. To reserve a spot on any of these cruises, or ask for more information, contact Sawyer Charters at 410-397-3743 or visit sawyercharters.com.
St. Michaels Lighthouse
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is participating in the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge, which takes place September 16-17, with an early bird date of Friday, September 15 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse is one of 10 Chesapeake lighthouses featured in this year’s tour. CBMM celebrated the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Hooper Strait Lighthouse in its St. Michaels location on May 20 of this year.
The Hooper Strait Lighthouse, now standing on Navy Point, was originally built in 1879 to light the way for boats passing through the shallow, dangerous shoals of Hooper Strait, a thoroughfare for boats bound from the Chesapeake Bay across Tangier Sound to Deal Island or places along the Nanticoke and Wicomico rivers. Saved from demolition, the lighthouse was moved by barge to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in 1966, one year after the non-profit museum opened. It now serves as a hands-on exhibition that explores the life of a lighthouse keeper and a venue for CBMM’s Lighthouse Overnight Adventures program for youth groups.
As a “screwpile” lighthouse, it is built on special iron pilings that were tipped with a screw that could be turned into the muddy bottom for a depth of 10 feet or more. CBMM’s lighthouse is the second lighthouse constructed at Hooper Strait – the first one was destroyed by ice in 1877.
The 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse at CBMM will open at 8 a.m. as an early bird lighthouse on Friday, September 15 with $5 reduced admission for lighthouse challenge participants offered for the entire three-day challenge weekend. The lighthouse will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for challenge participants on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, with more information at cbmm.org.