Jun 3, 2010

Portland Head Light

Our homeschool group got the privilege of touring the Portland Head Light, one of the most photographed light houses ever. The tour was set up with some really nice men from the coast guard who took time out of their busy day to give our group an amazing experience! Thanks so much to the Thornes for setting this up, we had such a great time!! Here is the front of the lighthouse keepers home...now a museum.

When we started the tour we leaned about the shipwreck of the Annie G. Maguire on this very rock. The lighthouse keeper helped the stranded people by using a ladder to make a bridge! You can't see in this pic but there is a huge drop off between the kids and the sign.

We then learned how all the lighhouses in the area work together to warn boats about the dangerous rocks. The first pic is of the fog horn system which is so loud that they wouldn't let the kids go near it to protect their ears in case it went off. The black bump at the top of the lighthouse is on of the ways the lighthouses communicate with each other.

It was great to have my mom with us! She helped me so much with the kids and she loves the ocean and lighthouses so it was a great field trip for her too!

A group pic:

We then headed into the lighthouse! This pic is in the stair well at one of the little keyhole windows on the way up.

The stair well as you can imagin is a huge spiral! 79 steps in all!! It was very steep and intimidating! We all made our way to the top except for James who wanted nothing to do with the stairs! This pic is at the top looking down.

This is the little door that leads to the catwalk at the top of the lighthouse.

Here is the view from the top! I was a chicken so I passed the camera off to one of the braver sole's that ventured all the way around (thanks Cindy).

We also got to peak our heads up into the top where the light is. It is spinning all the time so we couldn't go all the way.

Safe at the bottom again, the kids pose in front of one of the old warning bells that they used before they had the fog horn system.

We then went into the museum. Here James is standing in front of a model of how the light house has changed through the years. It was first built at the time of George Washington! He was the one who commissioned this lighthouse into existence!

One of the many lights that was used through the years. The glass was cut just right so that only a very small light would look much bigger!

We also got to visit the Whistle House. This is where they house all the electronics that make the horn and other instruments work. In this pic he is showing us an old light and horn system.

Ethan checking himself out in one of the old mirrors used on the light.

On the way back to the car the kids wanted to pose with this old bell...

...and this old cannon used when this area was a military base.

After a picnic lunch at Mrs. Thornes parents house we walked a little ways to the beach! This was one of the beautiful homes in the area.

I didn't realize we would be ocean swimming in MAY so the kids didn't have their suits! They went in anyway!! My feet felt numb just standing in the water for only a few minutes! Oh to be a kid again!!! To their credit it was really HOT and the water was refreshing!

They also had a great time playing in the sand!

I'm guessing they needed to warm their blood back up and sitting in the warm sand was just the thing!

The little girls had a great time building sand castles!

Their masterpiece was this castle with a seaweed moat!

Mollie was not sure about the ocean waves! She held tight to Mimi's hand for a long time not wanting to get too close! After a while she warmed up. At one point not noticing Mimi was gone she grabbed the closest hand to her (Mrs. Jette)! Too cute! Thanks for being the standby!

After the beach we changed and then explored a couple of the old buildings near the lighthouse that were used when Fort Williams was a very active military base! The boy's could have played for hours there I think!
We then headed off the the Maine Mall for a long anticipated trip the the Build A Bear Factory! Mimi had been promising a trip there soon and we thought this would be a fun ending to our exciting day! I wish I had brought the camera into the store! They had such a great time choosing and stuffing their bears (a dog and a cat too). Thanks Mimi!!
It was such a fun trip! We can't wait to go back!

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