A Living Lighthouse Legacy
Mention "lighthouse" and most people picture the classic stone-tower edifice standing sentinel along a craggy, wave-tossed coast. But another type, the screwpile lighthouse, in its own way is just as picturesque and evocative. Hexagonal or octagonal, hovering above the water atop long steel pilings, a screwpile lighthouse looks like the ultimate kid's fantasy tree-fort on stilts. In a region—the Chesapeake Bay—where screwpiles once reigned supreme, now only one remains on active station, the last of the breed still serving as a bay beacon as it has for more than 130 years.
The Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse—one of just nine lighthouses in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark—is undergoing an ambitious restoration and has opened to visitors. Of course, a visit requires a half-hour boat ride from the mainland, but that only adds to the adventure.