Cape Cod’s Wood End Lighthouse

By Mary Moran

Wood End Lighthouse

Wood End Lighthouse
Wood End Lighthouse

From the 1820’s to the 1860’s, two great lighthouses were the only navigational aids warning ships passing by of the strong and dangerous waters surrounding the outer most town of Cape Cod; Provincetown. Although the two standing lighthouse’s (Race Point and Long Point) proved to be decent aids for navigating the waters, it was decided that a third lighthouse was needed to protect and warn travelers of danger at the southern most entrance to Provincetown Harbor. Wood End Light originally began as a white, pyramid-shaped day beacon in 1864. It wasn’t until 1872 that Congress finally appropriated funds for a proper lighthouse to be built. The sum of $15,000 was given to create the 38-foot brick tower. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was installed giving off a flashing red light every fifteen seconds, shining about 48 feet above the angry water. By November of the same year, Wood End Light officially went into service. The lighthouse, to this day, is a tall brown structure that stands steadily in its concrete foundation.

In addition, alongside the lighthouse a modest keeper’s house was built. It was located about fifty feet away from the tower itself. A man by the name of Thomas Lowe would soon move into the home as the first keeper of the light and it was there he began a long, exhausting, and often dangerous, 25 year reign at Wood End.

Shipwrecks and boating accidents would still occur no matter how many lighthouses surrounded the waters. Lowe took his duties whole-heartedly and was often seen running to the waters to save the frightened passengers from the vessels that were in trouble. Because of the dangers of shipwreck that inevitably occurred, life-saving stations were built near the lighthouses themselves. Wood End Light got its life-saving station in 1896, while Race Point light had one put on its property 24 years earlier. The addition of the saving station was not the only upgrade Wood End Light would get in 1896. A new keeper’s house, storage shed, and oil house for kerosene were also added on the land to help house and protect equipment for the light.

Throughout the years, more upgrades would be made to Wood End Light, including the extremely useful fog bell and bell tower that were added to the property in 1902. By 1961, the light had been automated, leaving no need for the other buildings to remain. All of them were subsequently destroyed; except for the oil house. A more modern optic also replaced the Fresnel lens in 1961 and only twenty years later, in 1981, a major change was made to Wood End Light,  converting the tower to solar power. Now the light gives off a bright red flash every 10 seconds and the foghorn is set to go off in 30 second intervals. Today, Wood End Light still stands, and is currently an active U.S. Coast Guard aid. The Cape Cod Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation is licensed to maintain and restore the property. The property remains off limits to the public but can be viewed from excursion boats setting sail out of the harbor. To walk to the Wood End Light from the center of town is a strenuous hour long walk through an unpredictable and tricky breakwater. Making the trek is not recommended.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of sightseeing on Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

The Clam Shack at Falmouth Harbor

Fried clams on the picnic tables.

A True Cape Experience, the Clam Shack at Falmouth Harbor

Fried clams on the picnic tables.
Fried clams on the picnic tables.
Outside the Clam Shack in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
The Clam Shack

For those of you who want the true Cape Cod food experience, in Falmouth, we have the Clam Shack of Falmouth. It is located at the very end of Scranton Avenue at the entrance of Falmouth Harbor. It is Falmouth rustic dining at it’s best. It does not have a bar or even a liquor license, just coffee, tea, bottled water or a variety of soft drinks. You will not find fine china, napkins or elegant eating utensils. Your meal is served on a plastic tray, in a paper basket or plate. Plastic knives, forks and spoons are provided with paper napkins. The atmosphere is casual although shoes and shirts are required. It is literally a shack made of weathered boards. with fishing and lobstering artifacts hung from the rafters to add to the nautical surroundings. The menu is written on a chalk board.

Scallops
Scallops

The specialty of the house are the “Plates”. They have clam (with or without the bellies), scallop, shrimp and fish & chips plates. the plates consist of an overflowing portion of the clams, shrimp,or scollops; fries and coleslaw.  However, for those in your party, who do not want seafood, the kitchen also has wings and chicken tenders plates. Hamburgers, cheese burgers and franks are also offered.

What would an, on the water, Cape Cod restaurant be without lobster, clam and scrimp rolls? The Clam Shack has them all.  In addition the clam chowder is excellent as are the onion rings. Your group has a choice of dining inside or out on the dock where the schooner Liberte is docked from the July fourth weekend to Labor Day weekend. Perhaps the best compliment to the tasty food is the view. One can sit at a wooden picnic tables and watch the activities on bustling Falmouth Harbor.

On nautical charts, the harbor is known as Falmouth Inner Harbor. It is mostly a man-made harbor with a mean low water depth of 10 feet. In 1907 an inlet was created through a barrier beach that divided a fresh water pond from Nantucket Sound. Engineers dredged and widened the harbor to give it the rectangular shape that it has today. This harbor is a wonderfully protected location for boaters to weather one of our legendary coastal storms.

Five marinas and many fishing boats are located along the harbor and the Island Queen ferry-boat to Martha’s Vineyard is docked on the eastern side. The Island Queen runs from early June through to Columbus Day.

Fishermen come from all over to use the harbor as a jumping-off location for fishing trips to the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard sound inshore fishing grounds as well as offshore grounds. One of the best known local fishing fleets is the Patriot Party Boats that sail out of the harbor. They specialize in deep-sea fishing, bottom fishing and sport fishing.  For more info: www.patriotpartyboats.com or call: 508-548-2626.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures sampling Cape Cod’s finest cuisine, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.

Wings Neck Lighthouse

Wings Neck Lighthouse and Tower

By Mary Moran

Wings Neck Lighthouse
Wings Neck Lighthouse and swing.

The Wing’s Neck Lighthouse, located in Pocasset, a small village in Bourne, Massachusetts, is a beautiful historic structure that dates back to 1849. Although the grounds are not open to the public, one can catch a glimpse of the lighthouse from the water. The lighthouse and keeper’s house is now a rental property where lighthouse lovers and Cape Cod vacationers can stay, explore and enjoy the unique structure on wonderfully secluded Wing’s Neck.

Wings Neck Lighthouse
Wings Neck Lighthouse and quarters.

In the 19th century, the iron industry began to flourish in Bourne and the surrounding areas. Because of this boom, vessel traffic began to increase significantly on Buzzards Bay. The location of Wing’s Neck, a peninsula jutting out into the Bay, provided a great spot to install a lighthouse in order to aid navigation. In 1849, $3.500. was appropriated to build a lighthouse. Thus, the Wing’s Neck Light Station was established. The original lighthouse was a wooden hexagonal structure  built on top of the keeper’s house. The tower’s light was 38 feet above the ground and 50 feet above the water level. The first keeper of the light was a man by the name of Edward Doty Lawrence. He remained keeper until 1854 when he was removed from the position for apparently belonging to the wrong political party. His replacement, John Maxim stayed at the lighthouse for nearly 11 years but was killed in the battle of Gettysburg. After Maxim’s unfortunate death, Lawrence regained his former spot and continued his duties until 1887. However, during Lawrence’s tenure at Wing’s Neck, the keeper’s  house began to suffer immensely from the great weight of the tower pressing down on the roof.


Source: Wings Neck Lighthouse

By the 1870’s the house was literally being crushed by the structure. The tower that can be seen today was built in 1890 to replace the failing architecture of the first light. This new lighthouse was built next to the new keeper’s home instead of on top. However, the replacement lighthouse did keep the same wooden hexagonal form, this time with a fieldstone foundation and with a height of 44 feet. More additions to the tower were made in 1902 when a 1,000 pound fog bell was added. The warning bell was rung every 30 seconds to warn captains of dangerous fog levels. When vessel travel began to once again significantly increase due to the opening of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914, the keeper’s house from Ned’s Point Light was moved to Wing’s Neck in 1923 to provide a home for an assistant keeper to take over the excess work that was accumulating. Today, the Ned’s Point keeper’s house remains standing and is a privately owned home. After the building of the Cleveland Ledge, the necessity of the Wing’s Neck Light began to dwindle. In 1945, the light was officially discontinued. The property was then sold privately in 1947 to Frank and Irene Flanagan, of Boston, Massachusetts. The Flanagan’s were known as a very musical family and it is said that the Von Trapp family spent some time at the Wing’s Neck property when it was owned by the Flanagan clan. Today, the Wing’s Neck lighthouse and keeper’s house remains as a private vacation rental. Also, remaining on the property is the original oil house from 1849 and the privately owned Ned’s Point keeper’s house that was originally built in the 1870’s. The surrounding land is now a monitoring area for the Cape Cod Canal, complete with a radar tower and closed circuit televisions.

Wings Neck Lighthouse and Tower
Wings Neck Lighthouse and Tower

Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of exploring Cape Cod’s lighthouses, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.