Navigating an overnight lighthouse stay

TRAVEL Q & A

December 26, 1993|By New York Times News Service

Q: Can you tell me about historic lighthouses that offer overnight accommodations?

A: At a lighthouse, you can prepare your own food and live in a dormitory setting or be served two or three meals a day in an

elegant atmosphere.

Hosteling International-American Youth Hostels runs three lighthouses where dormitory rooms, with two to six beds in a room, predominate. Visitors provide their own food and rent linens at $1 a person per stay. Both sites near San Francisco afford a view of the annual migration of gray whales between November and April.

The 118-year-old Point Montara Lighthouse, P.O. Box 737, Montara, Calif. 94037, (415) 728-7177, is 25 miles south of San Francisco. Its rates, which vary by season, are $9 to $11 a person for members and $12 to $14 for nonmembers.

Fifty miles south of San Francisco you will find the 110-foot-tall Pigeon Point Lighthouse at Pigeon Point Road and California Highway 1, Pescadero, Calif. 94060; (415) 879-0633. Rates: $9 a person for members, $11 for nonmembers.

On the shores of the St. Lawrence Seaway stands the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Hostel, R.R. 1, Box 330, Cape Vincent, N.Y. 13618; (315) 654-3450. Rates: $10 a person for members, $13 for non-members. Closed Oct. 25 to May 14.

Beyond hostels, the possibilities include Point Arena Lighthouse, Box 11, Point Arena, Calif. 95468, (707) 882-2777, in Mendocino County, on the Pacific. Linens and food must be taken along. Rates: $80 a couple, $110 for three to six.

Big Bay Point Lighthouse, 3 Lighthouse Road, Big Bay, Mich. 49808; (906) 345-9957. The lighthouse is 30 miles from Marquette, with a vista of Lake Superior and the Huron Mountains. Breakfast is Continental plus cereal, pancakes or eggs. No television or telephone. Rates: $80 and $120 a room in the winter, $95 to $165 in the summer.

In Narragansett Bay, a mile and a half from Newport, stands the Rose Island Lighthouse, where there is no electricity and the water comes from a cistern. An augmented Continental breakfast is served. Showers are available only outdoors, with two gallons of solar-heated water being provided. Information: P.O. Box 1419, Newport, R.I. 02840; (401) 847-4242. Rates last summer for a double: $120 for lighthouse members, $140 for non-members. A launch to the island, $10 a person round trip last summer, is extra.

Selkirk Lighthouse, P.O. Box 228, Pulaski, N.Y. 13142, (315) 298-6688, 30 minutes from Syracuse on Interstate 81, is set up for housekeeping. When chinook, or king, salmon are running up the Salmon River from Lake Ontario, usually Aug. 15 to Oct. 15, the rate is $125 for four; during the rest of the year, it's $100.

The Keepers House on Isle au Haut overlooks Penobscot Bay adjoining Acadia National Park, off the coast of Maine. It has neither electricity nor telephone, but does serve three meals. Open May 1 to Oct. 31, when the rates will be $250 a couple per night. The 45-minute boat trip from Stonington, $9 a person one way last year, is extra. Information: P.O. Box 26, Isle au Haut, Maine 04645; (207) 367-2261.

East Brother Island Light Station, 117 Park Place, Point Richmond, Calif. 94801, (510) 233-2385, is in the straits separating San Francisco and San Pablo Bays and dates to 1873. Guests are served a four-course dinner with wine and a full breakfast. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Rates: $295 a couple per night, including boat trip.

Q: My husband and I are considering going to Lourdes from Paris next April and would like to know about train and plane service between the two cities.

A: To get to Lourdes, you can fly from Orly to either the Tarbes or Pau Airport. A single Air Inter flight operates daily, departing at 10:55 a.m. and arriving at Tarbes Airport, six miles from Lourdes, at 12:10 p.m. (1:40 p.m. on Sunday). Up to four flights a day serve Pau, which is 25 miles west of Lourdes. Bus service links both airports to Lourdes. For flight information, call (800) 237-2747.

Most passengers can take advantage of the Visite Fare of about $176 round trip (coded YAP) if they buy a ticket to Tarbes or Pau when getting an international ticket.

Another favorable fare is the Super Loisir, which is about $141 round trip; it requires a Saturday night stay.

The TGV, or high-speed train, which takes five hours and 20 minutes, departs from Gare Montparnasse in Paris at 8:10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:40 p.m.

The one-way fare for tickets bought in the United States or Canada in 1994 is fixed at $138 for first class, $91 for second class.

Reservations, at $10 for going and $10 for returning, are required for TGV service. Handling fee: $10 per order.

Even less expensive is a France Pass, for unlimited rail travel in France for three days within a one-month period and is not sold in Europe. The charge in 1994: $180 for first class, $125 for second class.

Information: Rail Europe, (800) 438-7245.

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