The first Assateague Light was built on the Virginia side of Assateague Island in 1832. The original structure proved too short, however. The red and white brick tower seen today replaced in in 1867.
The tower is 142 feet tall, the base over 27 feet in diameter, with 175 steps to the top. The tower’s twin rotating lights are 154 feet above sea level and can be seen 19 miles out to sea.
The initial beacon was just a candle. An oil lamp that needed refueling every hour replaced it. Can you imagine lugging two, five-gallon cans of oil up 175 stairs every hour? Now there’s a workout. Phew!
The beacon was eventually upgraded to a modern electronics but the light’s old, first-order Fresnel lens can still be seen at the Museum of Chincoteague.
The historic Assateague Light is one of less than 20 lighthouses of its kind still in use on the Eastern Seaboard. Best of all, it is open to the public on weekends for much of the year!
Visiting Assateague LighthouseThe Assateague Lighthouse season runs from April to November. Hours are 9am to 3pm, with a half hour closing break for lunch between 12pm and 12:30pm.
Getting to the lighthouse, which is located in Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, is a simple affair. It is only a quarter of a mile (402 meters) from Chincoteague and you can easily drive, bike, or even walk there from anywhere on the island. A popular and well maintained trail leads directly to it.
Tours of the light include information about the light’s history, and what it was like to live here as a lightkeeper. You’ll also see the keeper’s house and the old oil house.
Best of all, you can climb to the top of the tower. Here, sweeping views of Chincoteague, Assateague, Wallops, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Maryland, and more await. Simply stunning – don’t forget your camera!
It’s quite the climb, however. 175 steep stairs and not for everyone. If you do climb, be sure to wear appropriate shoes and hold onto the handrail.
Learn more at www.assateagueisland.com.
Island Manor House Bed and Breakfast is a historic Chincoteague inn offering individually decorated guest rooms and luxurious amenities. Our convenient location puts the best of both islands at your fingertips. Let us help to arrange your visit with our concierge services. Book your stay at Island Manor House Bed and Breakfast today!