The middle of May in New England: sunny skies, temperatures in the mid 60’s, and miles of open road ahead, with countless possible locations to visit. What better way to spend a day than to take a road trip to the shore, returning to Cape Cod to explore yet more of National Seashore Park. This time, the destination would be the oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod, as well as a walk along the Cape’s famous dunes.
Authorized by President George Washington in 1797 and constructed that same year, Cape Cod Light was a wooden lighthouse that served to warn ships of the dangerous Cape Cod coastline. The original lighthouse’s wood construction presented a fire hazard, so it was torn down in 1840 and was replaced by a brick tower. That building, however, was structurally unsound after only 17 years, and so in 1857 a new lighthouse was erected in its place, which stands to this day. It was also renamed “Highland Light” to prevent confusion due to the numerous other lighthouses on the Cape (via Wikipedia).
While the lighthouse still stands, it does not stand in the same place. Due to coastal erosion, by 1996 Highland Light stood a mere 10 feet from the edge of a 125-foot cliff. With the lighthouse in danger of falling into the ocean, engineers moved the lighthouse 450 feet away from the shoreline. While this was an engineering marvel, it is only a stopgap solution. At the current rate of erosion, the lighthouse will need to be moved again in approximately 130 years.
Before I finish, some updates are in order. DH is finally equipped with Massachusetts license plates, and I chose to order “specialty plates” (pictured above), which display the Cape Cod dunes and Nauset lighthouse (which I visited a few weeks ago). The proceeds from the plates go toward supporting the National Seashore Park on Cape Cod. DH also passed his first Massachusetts vehicle inspection with flying colors. Second, my car is rolling on a brand new set of Nokian WR G3 tires, free of charge. A few months ago, I had noticed cracking on the tires where the tread meets the sidewall. Two tire shops (I got a second opinion) inspected the tires and pronounced that the cracking was not a safety issue, but they suggested I contact the manufacturer. I sent Nokian photos of the tires, and they also assured me it was not a safety issue, but they told me they want their customers to be happy, so despite the tires having over 30,000 miles of driving on them, they were replaced free of charge. Score!
Finally, some news from across the country. My friend Tyson, whose blog “Drive to Five” was one of the inspirations for this blog, recently added a new car to his stable of Acuras. His blog was originally started to detail his travels in his 500,000 mile 1994 Acura Legend coupe. The intervening years have seen him add an Acura NSX, an ILX, a Vigor, an Integra, and a Legend sedan to his stable of vehicles. Earlier this month, he took delivery of a 2007 Acura TL Type S. The third generation TL is, in my opinion, one of the nicest cars ever made, and you can read more about Tyson’s latest purchase here.
It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon on Cape Cod. Days like today I wish I was an artist, because the seascapes I witnessed deserved to be immortalized in a beautiful watercolor painting. But don’t take my word for it… visit Cape Cod National Seashore and see it for yourself! Highland Lighthouse, located in North Truro, is open daily from April through October, 10:30 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is $6 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, and children must be at least 48″ tall to climb the lighthouse. Thanks for coming along on another Voyage of DH!