Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Travel Tuesday #3 - Race Point Lighthouse

     The third installment of Travel Tuesday goes back to Provincetown and the explores Race Point Lighthouse. Located at the tip of Cape Cod Wood End is one of three lighthouses in town.

Race Point Lighthouse
(Christopher Setterlund c. 2014)

     This photo was taken in May 2014 during an open house at Race Point Lighthouse. It frames the white iron-plated lighthouse in the doorway of the Whistle House. The photo itself is simple however it is getting to this spot that is the challenge. There is a walking trail located a little less than a mile north of Herring Cove Beach on Province Lands Road. From there it is more than 1 ½ miles out to the lighthouse, some over soft sand and the terrain changes somewhat with the tides.

     The walk out to the lighthouse is along Hatches Harbor and passes the Provincetown Airport. Race Point Lighthouse itself was built in 1876, replacing an old stone lighthouse that had been built in 1816. Ironically even though Cape Cod is being ravaged by erosion in many places Race Point is actually one where the shoreline is increasing. Some of the sand taken from neighboring beaches is carried north to the point increasing Race Point’s size, and thus protecting the lighthouse when several other Cape lights (Nauset, Highland, Gay Head) have had to be moved back from eroding cliffs.

     The wide open space of the dunes surrounding the lighthouse make for many beautifully scenic shots besides this one. However to get this particular shot it is important to choose a time when the grounds are open for tours. This is the first and third Saturdays of the month from June through October. This shot is from the entrance of the Whistle House roughly at midday. The brick Whistle House, built in the early 1870’s, originally housed a fog signal. It was renovated in 1999 and was first the field station for the Center for Coastal Studies. Currently it is available for rentals during the summer.

     Even if not able to visit Race Point Light during an open house it is possible to walk out and enjoy the scenery at any point in the year. It is great for sunrises and sunsets alike.

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Where to go to take this photo

     Race Point Lighthouse can be accessed by off-road vehicle, or walking. Off-road vehicles start from Race Point Beach, walking is easiest from a small parking area located just under a mile north of the Herring Cove Beach parking lot.

     It is open for tours on the first and third Saturdays of the month from June to October. Schedules are updated at their website:

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