Hidden Gem: Saugerties Lighthouse

You can arrive by foot or boat, only.

If you’re walking, you must be wary of the tide chart delineating the twice-daily flooding of the half-mile trail to the lighthouse.

“Among the suggested packing list items are waterproof footwear, a flashlight, and your favorite snacks and beverages, as the only meal served on the premises is breakfast,”an e-mail from Lighthouse Keeper, Anna Landewe, preceding my one night stay with my visiting friend in a lighthouse, converted into a bed and breakfast, last January.

A time-lapse video of the half-mile walk to the Saugerties Lighthouse.

Saugerties Lighthouse, located in Saugerties New York (just 45 minutes from Marist) at the convergence of Esopus Creek and the Hudson River, was originally erected in 1834 by a $5,000 grant funded by U.S Congress to guide ships to the nearby port. After a damaging fire, the structure was re-built in 1869 as it stands today, a still-functional lighthouse and now historic site owned by Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy, who bought the property from New York State in 1986 for one dollar.

National Archives' 1886 photo of the lighthouse

National Archives’ 1886 photo of the lighthouse.

Comprised of just two guest rooms (East and West), a shared bathroom, kitchen and living room, the lighthouse interior feels more like a tasteful friends home than it does a bed and breakfast. Representative of its time, the rooms are heated by coal burning fireplaces that steam the heavy glass windowpanes. For a panoramic view of the surrounding Catskills, guests are permitted to travel up the winding staircase, climb a metal rung later and emerge through the trap door in the ceiling to the top of the 46-foot lighthouse.

Lighthouse keeper, Patrick gives crash courses to overnight guests on fireplace use upon arrival

Lighthouse keeper, Patrick, gives crash courses to overnight guests on fireplace use upon arrival.

Breakfast, cooked by Anna’s husband and co- Lighthouse Keeper, Patrick, was family style and served on a weathered wooden table to bring together both guest parties. Julian and I were joined by the West Room occupants, an older couple visiting from Texas, to create the friendly atmosphere of a ski lodge where passionate conversations about outside conditions and hometowns ensue. Stacks of blueberry pancakes, doused in real maple syrup, were served on mismatched china, next to a heap of eggs and thick slabs of bacon. All of their ingredients are locally sourced from the Hudson Valley, Patrick told us as he forked a piece of raw bacon onto the crackling griddle, from the glass container of milk in the fridge to the lavender hand soap in the bathroom.

For guests staying longer than one night who cannot be sustained on Pringles and Milano cookies, as Julian and I were the night we arrived, there are several restaurants in the town of Saugerties recommended by Anna and Patrick.

As the overnight stay prices ($225/night plus tax) are only justifiable for a really nice Christmas present, Marist students may find better value in making the hour day trip to Saugerties Lighthouse by first grabbing food at a local café, “Love Bites,” to enjoy at the public picnic tables next to the lighthouse.

Although interior tours are restricted to guests and scheduled tour groups, the lighthouse trail, picnic tables, and dock are open to public day use from sunrise to sunset throughout the year.

Patrick clearing snow from the nature trail last January

Patrick clearing snow from the lighthouse trail last January.

Marrying history and scenic beauty together, Saugerties Lighthouse is an experience unique to the Hudson Valley worth the splurge. According to a “Lonley Planet” review, “Anyone can visit the lighthouse, but to experience the raw beauty of this place, I highly recommend staying the night… you can almost forget what century you’re living in.”

Speaking to its success, Saugerties Lighthouse is booked for the remainder of 2015 and is now accepting reservations for winter 2016. To check availability and rates, visit their website, or call at (845) 247-0656.

Director Josh Aronson’s short virtual tour of the interior of Saugerties Lighthouse.

 

Below, Saugerties Lighthouse is appreciated throughout the changing season by its many vacationers.

I may have to start Catskills love notes. For more, check out @phillyescapes

A post shared by Philly Love Notes (@phillylovenotes) on

Inside the lighthouse. First snow of the season.

A post shared by Alison Taffel Rabinowitz (@taffeltherabinowitz) on

A post shared by jordanbardach (@jordanbardach) on

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