Monday, October 5, 2020

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint, OR

After leaving Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park Campground at noon on 09 Sep 2019, we continued south. In what seemed like only a few minutes, I noticed a sign on the highway for Heceta Head Lighthouse. After pointing it out to Margaret, we both excitedly exclaimed, "Ooh, we have to stop here!"
 
A view of the beach and Light Keeper's house. Photo by Margaret.  
Located between Cape Perpetua and Sea Lion Caves on U.S. Highway 101, this stunning beauty is generally considered the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. Heceta Lighthouse (the primary pronunciation being “heh–SEE–tuh" but also labeled "acceptable" as  “HECK–eh–tuh”) is perched 205 feet above the Pacific Ocean and is the brightest light on the Oregon Coast. (Its Fresnel lens' beam can be seen 21 miles out to sea!)

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by Virginia.
Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by Margaret.
Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by Margaret.
Heceta Head Lighthouse information signage. Photo by Virginia.
Heceta Head Lighthouse from the trail looking up. Photo by Virginia.
Cape Creek Bridge from the trail to Heceta Head Lighthouse. Photo by Margaret.

In addition to the lighthouse, there is another building on the 19-acre site that is also on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the Light Keeper's house, from which the Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast operates. Construction began on both in 1892; and on 30 March 1894, that "brightest light" was lit for the very first time. It has been an active beacon ever since.

The Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast. Photo by Virginia.

We took an informative tour of the main floor of the Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast (the Light Keeper's house). The docent offered us fascinating facts about the history of the house and lighthouse. In 1963 the lighthouse was computer automated, and Oswald Allick was the last lightkeeper occupant of the house before it was turned over to the U.S. Forest Service.

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by Virginia.



The Heceta Head Lighthouse from the Light Keeper's house front yard. Photo by Virginia.

After the house tour, we walked up to the lighthouse, passing by the gift shop, which is housed in what used to be a barn.

The Heceta Lighthouse gift shop. Photo by Virginia.

We stopped in the charming gift shop after the attendant returned from lunch and browsed the inventory. Margaret treated us to a few pieces of Red Vines licorice, and I bought a couple postcards for my daughter.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse. Photo by Margaret.

The 56-foot tall lighthouse was closed for extensive repairs and restoration from August 2011 to June 2013. The lighthouse was closed up and unattended while we were there, but I read elsewhere that tours were possible.

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by Margaret.

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by Margaret.

Heceta Head Lighthouse highway sign. Photo by Margaret.

Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Photo by Virginia.

We spent two cool hours on the grounds; but during that short time, we were imbued with awe over the beauty and history of the lighthouse, light keeper's house, and the breathtaking views. What a grand experience! 

Next we'll spend time in and around a town with so much to offer that we stayed several nights!

[NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing situations that arise from it, please save yourself any inconvenience by checking park websites for their COVID-19 alerts and updates before visiting a park.]


[Note: Clicking on the photos in the post will open them in a larger view. If you want to see more photos of the beautiful places we've written about, we have them in this Flickr Collection: Over the Hill Sisters Photo Collection.]


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