Posted by: ladybughugs | November 10, 2008

NJ Lighthouse Challenge, past

On September 10th, 2001 (I will never forget the date, it’s inescapable), on a whim, we stopped at Absecon Lighthouse on our way home from a long weekend at the shore in South Jersey. While we were waiting to climb we found a brochure for the 2nd Annual New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge, which was scheduled for mid-October. The New Jersey Lighthouse Society organizes The Lighthouse Challenge so that all eleven of the lighthouses in NJ are all open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. A better explanation can be found here.

My mother and I looked at each other, raised our eyebrows (with an unspoken, but understood, ooh!), and continued on our way to the base of the steps and on up to the top. Scout, who had just turned three, went with us and climbed to the top of the lighthouse, all 228 steps! And, so began my fascination with lighthouses.

Despite the events of the next day, my mother and I talked about it and decided to give it a try.

Our plan was to leave Scout with H, set out very early on Saturday morning, and start at Tinicum, the northern-most light on the Delaware River, at 8:00 am. We’d work our way, counter-clockwise, around the state, ending at Sandy Hook. We didn’t have a really good idea how far we’d get on Saturday, but given the shortage of options in affordable, overnight lodging along the shore we decided to set a goal to get to Long Beach Island. We figured we could at least make it to Absecon on Saturday and, if necessary, back track to Tuckerton on Sunday morning after Barnegat. I don’t remember which lights we actually climbed that year, though I’m fairly certain we climbed Sandy Hook (for the view of the New York City skyline) and the other towers, except Absecon.

Since then, I’ve done the lighthouse challenge at least two more times, until 2005. In October, 2005, I was 7-1/2 months pregnant with Lil’bug. (There was no way I’d drag myself around the state of New Jersey that year, never mind up those steps!) Until this year, doing it with an infant/toddler in tow just didn’t seem prudent.

This year, Mom was not available for the entire weekend, but maybe we could just go for one day. Then something else came up that clinched it for her. She would not be going.

I talked to Scout and he wanted to do it. H does not like car trips (his back does not do well sitting for long periods), so I asked him to go as a courtesy. Then Scout’s last game of the season was scheduled for that day, so he was out (and very disappointed). Fortunately, over dinner one night I mentioned it to a friend who was interested in the adventure so we decided to go for it.

to be continued…



  1. I think that’s awesome you’ve done this challenge multiple times. Here’s hoping you got to do it again in 2008!

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