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A Walk Around the Portland Head Light

Despite the advance in modern technology, I still find it amazing how historic lighthouses are still used to this day to assist in maritime navigation. Of course technology has developed these iconic structures but one thing that has remained consistent is the preservation of their notorious architectural design. I am sure whenever you see a lighthouse, you pretty much know what it is!

On our recent trip to the New England states, I knew that this would be the best chance to see some of USA’s most famous lighthouses. One in particular, the Portland Head Light, given it’s legendary status among America’s finest was the one that I most looked forward to exploring. I am sure that Portland, Maine has a lot more to offer than just the lighthouse, but given that our time there was limited this was the only attraction we were able to experience.

Portland Head Light

Located in Cape Elizabeth, just outside the main center of Portland, the Portland Head Light sits proudly on a head of land overlooking the Gulf of Maine and beyond into the Atlantic Ocean. Approaching the Fort Williams State Park where the lighthouse is situated, we immediately noticed the overcast conditions as the fog swept across the ocean.

The eerie yet beautiful appearance of the lighthouse was certainly an impressive sight among the rugged landscape of the surrounding cliffs. We had not been there for very long whenever the fog began to lift and the sun started to break through.

Rugged Cliffs near Portland Head Light

It was really cool to peer over the ocean and notice other islands appear in the distance as the fog disappeared. You can just imagine those sea fairers fighting through the fog-swept seas with their only assistance being the Portland Head Light. We were fortunate enough to hear the foghorn several times, helping those vessels navigate their way along the New England coastline.

Portland Head Lighthouse

The original fog bell is located outside the lighthouse and although it is no longer in use, it still stands proudly as an iconic resemblance of the historic signals that took place over the years.

Portland Head Light Fog Bell

We really enjoyed our time at the Portland Head Light and would highly recommend anyone visiting this if you are in the region. The history of this lighthouse makes it one of the best to visit and definitely worth exploring on a weekend getaway to Portland!

Lighthouses are such mysterious and interesting pieces of architecture. Of course they are still a necessity in maritime navigation but even without that, their unique appearance makes them a worthwhile place to visit.

Do you enjoy visiting lighthouses or other maritime locations? Where have you experienced something similar?

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5 Epic Reasons You Should Want to Visit Maine

Thursday 1st of September 2016

[…] The iconic Portland Head Light once played an integral role in the maritime industry around the Gulf of Maine. The history of this lighthouse dates back to the late 18th century and despite some renovations, today it is still proudly standing at the head of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor. […]


Saturday 6th of December 2014

HOME!!! I miss Maine SO much sometimes, I used to run around Portland head light and its such a beautiful area. I'm always happy to see other love it as much as I do.

Joao Sa

Friday 27th of June 2014

I've never been to Portland, but reading your post really made me feel like I was there right now ! Loved the photos with the lighthouse and the smog, stunning !


Thursday 26th of June 2014

Looks nice! There is something about lighthouses that makes me dreamy... Also love the history of it!


Thursday 26th of June 2014

Every lighthouse has their unique stories and I always find it interesting to try and find an old local who has been around over the years to tell you some of the hidden, untold stories within the lighthouse.


Thursday 26th of June 2014

Heather and Chris! I love a New England road trip, for the tiny villages and the lighthouses. Jim and I visited the Portland one a couple years ago, and loved it. I think it would have been great to see on a foggy day! BTW: Your B&W photo is stunning!


Thursday 26th of June 2014

Thanks Corinne, we really appreciate your comments! Credit to Heather on that black and white photo, she is the pro photographer in our relationship and I agree it really turned out great capturing the eerie feeling of the conditions. As I have mentioned to everyone else, the reality is that we picked a perfect day to visit the lighthouse because we got the best of both worlds with the foggy and clear conditions! Makes for some great contrasting pictures.