Portland Head Light
portland head light
A QUINTESSENTIAL COASTAL landmark
Situated along the shores of Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Portland Head Light sits at the entrance of the shipping channel into Casco Bay. A popular destination for those touring the area’s historic lighthouses or those simply looking for a quintessential coastal scene on their visit to Maine, the lighthouse, a commission of George Washington, is Maine’s oldest, dating to 1791.
Portland Head Light is a prized landmark for its historical significance, but also for the adjacent 90-acre park that is its home, with stunning ocean views, hiking and walking paths dotted with viewing lenses, and other historic structures. The Museum at Portland Head Light is also here, contained within the former Keepers’ Quarters, where lighthouse lenses, interpretative displays and a seasonal gift shop are located. The lighthouse, museum, and Fort Williams Park itself makes an enjoyable family outing spot with its many opportunities for exploring.
TOUR or visit the museum
The museum is located in the former keepers’ house which was built in 1891 as a duplex for the head Keeper and the Assistant Keeper and their families. The history of Portland Head Light is told through exhibits displaying artifacts and documents, navigational aids, Fresnel lenses, models and photographs. A historical time line will guide your tour through the museum beginning with the origin of the lighthouse and the lives of the keepers, technology changes over the course of 200 years, the military activities at Ft. Williams and ending with the decommissioning and automation of Portland Head Light in 1989.
The museum opened in 1992.Plan on one-hour for a visit to the Lighthouse, Museum and Gift Shop. The Town operates a gift shop and museum on the property, which is open daily from June – October from 10:00 to 4:00 PM. It is open weekends only, starting mid April into May and then again from November into mid December.
fort williams park
Fort Williams Park is located at 1000 Shore Road. From the north, or Interstate 295 in Portland, take Route 77 south to South Portland. Go left on Broadway, then right on Cottage Road for 2 miles, until you reach the park entrance. Cottage Road becomes Shore Road at the Cape Elizabeth town line. Approaching from the south, take Route 1 north to Oak Hill in Scarborough. Go right on Route 207, then left on Route 77 north to Cape Elizabeth. Turn right at the flashing blinker on to Shore Road. The park entrance is 2.4 miles from the Shore Road/Route 77 intersection. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
With over 90 acres of recreational space, there are opportunities to picnic, fly a kite, stroll paths, tour the arboretum, walk the cliffside loop, explore the rocky beach, and enjoy the playground. There are two vendors in the park offering lobster rolls, sandwiches, and gelato.
other lighthouses in Greater Portland
Cape Elizabeth is filled with history and striking scenery and is admired for ongoing preservation of green space.
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