Photographing Nantucket: Lighthouses

Published by Robin Slick, April 2, 2020

A breathtaking vista on its own or a backdrop for any photo, Nantucket lighthouses do not disappoint. This is why so many of our island's brides and grooms opt for weddings photos at these historical landmarks. Most notable for these photo spreads and visitors are Brant Point and Sankaty Head lighthouses since Great Point is only accessible with an over-the-sand permit and a four-wheel drive vehicle. No matter the season, time of day, or event to be captured, a visit to our lighthouses will provide memories for years to come. 

Great Point Lighthouse

Great Point is located on the northern most point of the island and is part of the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife RefugeThe lighthouse sits on a small spit of beach where the currents of the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound meet. Because of its remoteness, you will most likely have the dunes, marsh grass, sand and seabirds all to yourself. Built in 1784, the original wooden tower was destroyed by fire in 1816. The following year a stone tower was erected which stood for a long time until 1984 when destroyed by a storm. Rebuilt and replicated in 1986, the stone tower remains in operation today.  

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Brant Point Lighthouse (Light Station)

Possibly the most well known and visited of all of the lighthouses, due to its close proximity to town, being able to visit on foot and located on the west side of the entrance to the harbor for all to see coming and going by ferry. Built in 1746, it was the second lighthouse established in all of colonial America. It has since been moved and rebuilt more times than any other lighthouse in the Nation. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets can be viewed from the lighthouse.

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Sankaty Head Lighthouse

Sankaty Head is the only original lighthouse still standing on the island. It is located on a 100 foot bluff, the highest point on the island, at the eastern end in Sconset. Completed in 1850, the lighthouse was 60 feet high with 10 more feet added in 1888 as a lantern deck. No longer needed as a working lighthouse, and in serious danger of falling into the sea, the Sconset Trust in 2007 took ownership of the property and moved the lighthouse to safer ground. A detailed story of the move can be found in "Keeping the Light" by Rob Benchley & Robert D. Felch. The grounds are open daily and several times a year the public is welcomed to walk to the top. These dates can be found on the Sconset Trust website along with a virtual tour of the top. 

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Robin Slick

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