The crisp October breeze is blowing off the Atlantic onto the beaches of the Jersey Shore. The leaves on the trees are blazing orange and yellow. What better place to be than the 5th annual New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge! This event challenges participants to visit all 11 participating land-based New Jersey Lighthouses during one weekend.
The Challenge is the invention of New Jersey Lighthouse Society invention of Rick Weber, a New Jersey Lighthouse Society member, who wanted to have the lighthouses open for the public during a given weekend. This idea developed into the popular Lighthouse Challenge, which has been duplicated in Maryland and is also very popular there.
“The event has become really big,” says Weber. “We had over 1,100 people complete the challenge from 23 states last year.
People talk about the event all year. People look forward to it for months in advance.”
Doreen Lagattuta, the event chairperson, reported that 1,152 people completed the Challenge this ear. “Participants came from 27 states and three [foreign]
countries: Costa Rica, Canada [Nova Scotia], and Germany,” according to Dorren. “We also had 360 people finish both the New Jersey and Maryland Lighthouse Challenges. There were 16,500 visits to the 11 lights during the weekend.”
Many motorcycle and car groups take part each year. This year, the Delaware Valley Miata Club attended the event, and 23 Miatas completed the challenge. The event also attracted artists, writers, and photographers. Artist Donna Elias was at Cape May on Saturday and East Point on Sunday. She unveiled her new painting of Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, which was recently painted yellow, its original color. Donna has also created a special print especially for the Lighthouse Challenge in New Jersey as well as Maryland.
The New Jersey Lighthouse Society funds the event through donations and the sale of t-shirts, and this year a special pin was introduced and quickly sold out. Members of the Society volunteer at each lighthouse to give out souvenir cards and answer questions.
Harbour Lights sponsored the souvenir cards this year and also unveiled their new replica of the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse. “This is the best replica I’ve ever seen,” said Hugh McCauley, head architect at Hereford Inlet. “I couldn’t find any flaws in it.”
This well-organized event is very productive for the Society and informative for visitors. But the most attractive aspect of the event is that it is fun. People young and old enjoy the weekend. I myself have completed all but one challenge event with my family, and we look forward to the event every year. We see the same people from year to year on the road and at the lights. I recommend that everyone take the time and try to attend next year’s Lighthouse Challenge. I think you will not be disappointed. Are you up for the challenge?
The New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge is held annually on the third weekend of October. For more information on
next year’s Lighthouse Challenge visit www.njlhs.burlco.org.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2005 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
All contents copyright © 1995-2018 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.