Tours shine light on nine lighthouses

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September 16, 2006|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,sun reporter

If you like lighthouses, then here's a challenge for you: visit Maryland's nine land-based lighthouses in 20 hours this weekend.

The Chesapeake chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society and Maryland lighthouse organizations are sponsoring the fourth annual Maryland Lighthouse Challenge to promote preservation and visitation to these sentinels by the water.

The event is the one time a year that all of the lighthouses are open to the public simultaneously and the only chance for the public to peek inside the Turkey Point lighthouse in the Elk Neck State Park, according to Karen Rosage, the event coordinator.

Other lighthouses open for the tour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow are Concord Point, Cove Point, Drum Point, Fort Washington, Hooper Strait, Piney Point, Point Lookout and Seven-Foot Knoll as well as the Chesapeake Lightship, moored at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Participants can visit the lighthouses in any order and will receive souvenir postcards depicting the lighthouses they visit.

Rosage says members of the Chesapeake chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society came up with the challenge four years ago after going on a similar excursion in New Jersey. In the past three years, 17,000 people have visited the lighthouses during the events and 1,264 have completed the challenge of seeing all the lighthouses on the tour, she says.

"We are doing a lot of good to increase awareness and preservations of the lighthouses," says Rosage, who grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and loved visiting the Cape Hatteras lighthouse as a child.

The longest drive in the tour will be from Havre de Grace to Point Lookout State Park - about 145 miles.

"Most people finish up on the afternoon of the second day," Rosage says.

Although the size, age and design of the lighthouses vary, Rosage says they all have one thing in common - they saved countless lives. "History doesn't always record the absence of tragedy, but we know they did a lot of good things," she says.

liz.atwood@baltsun.com

Maryland Lighthouse Challenge

Concord Point Havre de Grace Fee: None

Cove Point Calvert Maritime Museum Solomons Fee: None

Drum Point Solomons Fee: None

Fort Washington Fort Washington National Park Fee: $5 per vehicle

Hooper Strait Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum St. Michaels Fee: $5

Piney Point Piney Point Fee: $2 to climb

Point Lookout Point Lookout State Park Fee: $3

Seven Foot Knoll and Chesapeake Lightship Baltimore Inner Harbor Fee: $2, plus parking

Turkey Point Elk Neck State Park Elkton Fee: $3

For more information on the tour, call 410-437-0741 or visit cheslights.org.

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