Friday, March 16, 2007

Point Bonita Lighthouse

There's something romantic about lighthouses. I know the real story is that lighthouse keepers worked long hours, performed gruelling tasks -- often in miserable weather, and received little pay. Nevertheless, whenever I see a lighthouse I immediately want to visit it, learn the history, and fantasize about the keeper's life.

One of my favorite lighthouses is located at Point Bonita on the north side of the entrance to the Golden Gate. The original lighthouse, built in 1855, was the third on the West Coast. The site was too high and fog frequently obscured the beam. As a result, the lighthouse was moved to its current site in 1877.

Point Bonita, on a sunny day, provides one of the area's special views. On one side the Pacific crashes against the bluff. On the other side sits San Francisco, just across the Bay. Docents are available to tell you about the lighthouse, its keepers, and the area's history.

The drive to the lighthouse, along Conzelman Road in the Marin Headlands, offers spectacular vistas of the Golden Gate, the Bridge, and San Francisco. Stop at Battery Spencer and walk to the edge of the cliff for an up-close view of the Golden Gate Bridge. After arriving at the parking lot, you will walk along a half-mile trail through a hand-cut tunnel and across a narrow suspension bridge to get to the light. Unfortunately visitors hours are extremely limited. The lighthouse is open only Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 12:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

If you visit, make sure you bring a sweater as Point Bonita is frequently swept by strong winds. More information on the lighthouse can be found on the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's website:

If you would like a private tour of San Francisco and/or Muir Woods that includes a visit to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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