West Quoddy Head Light

GPS: 44.815156 -66.950633

LUBEC

Lubec is the easternmost town in the contiguous United States. It’s located on a tranquil peninsula that overlooks an ice-free harbor and faces Cambobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada. A bridge connects Lubec and Campobello Island, where the Roosevelt family kept a summer home since 1883.

First settled in 1775, Lubec remains a small coastal town that boasts a natural and rugged beauty. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 1359 residents.

WEST QUODDY HEAD LIGHT

One of the main attractions to Lubec is West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, situated inside Quoddy Head State Park. The park holds the distinction of being the easternmost point on the U.S. mainland, featuring hiking trails, wildlife, and a striped lighthouse. It also sits in full view of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, Canada.

August Sunrise

Since 1808, there has been a lighthouse on Quoddy Head Point to guide ships through the Quoddy Narrows. The current lighthouse, with its alternating red-and-white stripes, was built in 1858. The structures include a brick tower, keeper’s quarters, service building, and oil house.

The cliffside bearings of the lighthouse, along with its distinctive stripes, make West Quoddy Head Light a highly photogenic destination. It remains one of my personal favorites in Maine.

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH

West Quoddy Head Light is photogenic at both sunrise and sunset, and in just about any season. In part, this is due to the fact that you can photograph the lighthouse from several different angles, adjusting position to compensate for seasonal shifts in the sun.

Night scene

If you prefer a backlit scene, I find that October through February is the best time to catch dramatic clouds directly over and behind the lighthouse at either sunrise and sunset.

In summer, the lighthouse is also an excellent destination for night photography. The Bold Coast of Maine is considered one of the darkest regions in Maine, and Lubec is no exception. If you time your visit carefully, you may be able to catch the Milky Way rising over the lighthouse structures.

GETTING THERE

Lubec lies about 100 miles northeast of Acadia National Park. From Portland, Maine, allow at least 4 hours to reach the lighthouse, 5 hours from the New Hampshire border, and 6 hours from Boston, Massachusetts. You’ll be driving part-way on I-95N if coming from southern points.

June Sunrise

As you approach Lubec, drive on ME-189 until you reach South Lubec Road. Turn right at the intersection, and continue driving about 5 miles to reach Quoddy Head State Park.

Park at the top of the hill overlooking the lighthouse and walk down. The keeper’s house is occupied so avoid parking at the lighthouse unless you have a disabled parking permit.

PHOTOGRAPHERS BEWARE

West Quoddy Head Light sits on oceanside cliffs, so watch your step as you approach the edge, especially after dark. The dangerous rocks below would not treat you kindly in a fall.

Milky Way over the tower

There’s a large population of porcupines in this area. These are nocturnal animals, so you’re more likely to run into them at night. The clearing to the north of the lighthouse is especially notorious for its porcupine population. And since that field is usually covered with tall grasses, it can be tricky to traverse after dark. These are not dangerous animals but getting porcupine quills in a limb would surely earn you an urgent visit to a clinic.

Finally, be respectful of the folks who live in the keeper’s house. In particular, if you come here at night, be sure to keep all noise to a minimum so as to avoid disturbing their peace.

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