Little River Light, lantern room
In today’s post, I’m departing from my normal format of historical and historical fiction stories about lighthouses to tell you about my personal experience as a lighthouse keeper in 2013.
One year ago, I wrote a post called “New Year’s Resolution – Be a Lighthouse Keeper.” I decided to take my own advice and pursue this lifelong goal, and my husband eagerly agreed.
Of the various lighthouses that offered volunteer positions as lighthouse keepers, the Little River Light in Cutler, Maine, appealed to me the most. The charming 19th century lighthouse and keeper’s house situated on a small island captured my heart. We completed the application, anxious to get one of the five two-week slots available, and were thrilled when the board of the nonprofit organization that manages the property approved us.
In July, we arrived in the picturesque lobstering village of Cutler to begin our assignment. First, I must clarify that we were not really lighthouse “keepers.” We were caretakers of the property, since the US Coast Guard oversees the automated light and foghorn. Some of our duties were to keep the buildings and grounds clean and maintained. We did our best, but I wondered if the lighthouse inspectors of the past would have approved our work.
We fell in love with the place. The setting at the mouth of the Little River and the Bay of Fundy was an ongoing panorama of changing beauty. We couldn’t stop taking pictures. On a clear day, we could see an island in Canada, as well as its lighthouse. To the south, we could see the lighthouse at Machias Seal Island when it came on at sunset.
The keeper’s house had been home to several families throughout the years. Relatives of the last keeper, Willie Corbett, are still in the area and have been involved in the home’s renovation. These days, guests pay for the privilege of staying in one of three upstairs bedrooms. One of our responsibilities was to pick up these guests from the mainland and take them back to the island. We met many nice and interesting people during our stay.
And of course, the lighthouse, the proud sentinel that guarded the entrance to the harbor, was my favorite place. From the galley, I could see