Cape Poge Light Station

Cape Poge Light Station – Martha’s Vineyard

By Mary Moran

An island located east of Martha’s Vineyard, named Chappaquiddick, is home to the Cape Poge (or “Pogue”) light station. In 1801, Congress appropriated $2,000. in order to construct the lighthouse at the northeast tip of the island to help make a safe entrance for ships into the nearby harbor. The light house was needed because fishing and whaling was increasing in the surrounding waters and traffic had increased greatly. A four acre property was chosen for the station and in November of the same year, The Cape Poge light would officially go into service as an active aid for navigation. The lighthouse stood 35 feet tall and was octagonal in shape. A small keeper’s home, consisting of only two rooms, was also built on the property. Both structures were constructed of wood and the fixed white light of Cape Poge shone approximately 55 feet above the mean water level on the island. The first light-keeper, Matthew Mayhew, was appointed by Thomas Jefferson himself. He made a yearly salary of two hundred dollars while at his post.

In 1825, it was reported that approximately two out of the four acres of the Cape Poge property had been lost to erosion. Subsequently, the keeper’s house was moved back, away from the shore. With erosion being a never-ending threat, the lighthouse and house would endure multiple movements and upgrades in the years to come. After the tower’s first push back from the waters in 1838, it was decided six years later that the structure needed to be rebuilt. Winslow Lewis reported, in 1844, that the tower “was rotten from base to roof.” He took on the endeavor and erected a new wooden structure with all new lighting equipment totaling $1,600. Lewis would continue updating the structure in 1857. At that time, he replacing the lighting equipment with a fourth-order Fresnel lens and placed it into a new, freshly installed lantern.

Nearly 21 years later, in 1878, the keeper’s home was once again in danger of being engulfed by the always hungry sea. The house was replaced in 1880 by a much larger structure, due to the need of also housing an assistant keeper. Following in the new house’s footsteps, a new wooden lighthouse was built in 1893. Although this structure was only meant to be a temporary fix, it is still standing to this day.

Since 1907, Cape Poge light has been moved an additional four times to evade water damage and devastation from the sea. Erosion has proven to be the constant and inevitable struggle for this light, and will continue to be for the duration of this historical structure’s existence.

As technology advanced, so did the lighthouse. In 1943, the light was fully automated, leaving no need for a keeper or an assistant. Both were let go from their duties. The keeper’s house was sold privately in 1954 and it was subsequently demolished for the use of its lumber. In recent years, more drastic moves were taken in protecting the life-saving light. In 1986 lifted by an army helicopter in 1987, the lighthouse was moved another 500 feet from the shore’s edge. In October of 1997, the entire lantern was taken back to Falmouth, then transported to New Bedford, where it was completely restored and repainted. After its return to the island, the Cape Poge lighthouse went back into service and remains an active navigational aid to this day. Although the location of the lighthouse remains extremely remote to the public, records show the beautiful old structure has thousands of visitors a year. The property is managed by the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge and amazing 90-minute tours are offered in-season by the Trustees of Reservations. To reach the light, there is a connecting barrier beach from the Dike Bridge in Edgartown that requires either a 3.5 mile hike, or with a proper permit, it is also 4-wheel drive accessible. The road may be closed at times, however, due to erosion and flooding. Most visitors access the island by use of the small “On Time” ferry, also out of Edgartown. To make tour reservations, call 508.627.3599.


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  Cape Cod adventures, 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.

Experience Martha’s Vineyard

Lifesaver on the Martha's Vineyard Ferry

By Mary Moran

Photography by L.V. O’Connell

If you are looking for a true Cape Cod experience, hopping on the ferry and spending the day on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard is an absolute must. From fabulous public beaches to unique shopping and dining to picturesque lighthouses, this island will surely not disappoint. Every town, whether it is Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, or Aquinnah, has something special to offer. Also, if you want to travel to all of these great locations, just grab a $7 day pass from the Vineyard Transit Authority and the bus will take you to and from all the sights.  Also, from Memorial Day through Labor Day there are narrated tour busses that will take you to points of interest on the island. The tour takes two hours. Some visitors take the tour then spend the remainder of the day, returning to the locations that most interested them.

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry
Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard from the Ferry
Martha's Vineyard Ferry at dock in Woods Hole
Martha’s Vineyard Ferry at dock in Woods Hole

Most likely, Vineyard Haven will be your first stop when arriving on Martha’s Vineyard. This spot is the year‐round connection to and from the mainland. Here you will find excellent retail shops and eateries including the infamous Black Dog Restaurant and gift shop. Admiring the beautiful harbor and West Chop Lighthouse is always a good time. Don’t forget to pack your camera!

Dock Street & Kelly Street
Dock Street & Kelly Street

Oak Bluffs, the Vineyard’s other ferry destination, is a wonderful place to explore with the family. Water‐front restaurants and beautiful beaches are far from scarce in this popular island town. Art galleries and unique shopping boutiques are around every corner and you are guaranteed to find something you love! Also, strolling through the streets and taking a look at the one‐ of‐a‐kind “gingerbread” cottages with their well kept flower gardens, will be sure to bring out your inner child. There are over 300 of these brightly colored houses all with their own name and personal touches. When you are finished getting your fill of these crazy little houses, be sure to take a ride on one of the oldest operating carousels in the country: The Flying Horses. Try your best to grab a brass ring! If you do, you get another ride for free and a great memory to last a lifetime. There are also many places to rent a bicycle, moped or even a Jeep for the day so you can continue on around the rest of the island.

For some excellent public beaches that have an abundance of parking available, Edgartown is the place to go. You can get a nice tan and a dose of the sand, salty air, and warm ocean water. The breathtaking ocean scenery is outstanding any time of the year. Edgartown was a whaling community and the streets are lined with beautiful old sea captains’ homes. In addition, in Edgartown, you will find some prime high‐end shopping areas and wonderful restaurants to help you to unwind.

KML-LogoFullscreen-LogoQR-code-logoGeoJSON-LogoGeoRSS-LogoWikitude-Logo
Martha//'s Vineyard, Massachusetts

loading map - please wait...

Palmer House Inn: 41.555639, -70.620020
Vineyard Haven: 41.380498, -70.645473
Edgartown: 41.389005, -70.513360
Oak Bluffs: 41.454279, -70.561972
Aquinnah: 41.335237, -70.800786
Gay Head Light: 41.346630, -70.836450
West Chop Lighthouse: 41.480500, -70.599900
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Palmer House Inn
81 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth, MA, United States
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Vineyard Haven
Martha/'s Vineyard, Vineyard Haven, Dukes County, MA, United States
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Edgartown
Edgartown, MA, United States
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs, MA, United States
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Aquinnah
Aquinnah, MA, United States
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Gay Head Light
Gay Head Lighthouse, Aquinnah, MA, United States
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
West Chop Lighthouse
West Chop Lighthouse, Tisbury, MA, United States

Harbor
Harbor

Finally, for a more relaxing and scenic experience away from the hustle and bustle of retail therapy and delicious seafood, take a trip over to Aquinnah. There, you will find the first lighthouse to be built on Martha’s Vineyard. The Gay Head Light was originally constructed in 1799 and is a Cape Cod viewing necessity. Continue on through Aquinnah and check out the beautiful red clay cliffs that surround this old whaling town. Aquina is also where the Native Americans have their shops with many interesting and one of a kind items.

Sidestreet
Sidestreet

Everywhere you look; there are endless options for fun and adventure on Martha’s Vineyard. No matter what part of the island you visit, you are sure to have a great time and a unique experience that will be remembered.

While you are staying with us at the Palmer House Inn, planning a day trip to the Vineyard will be hassle free. We have ferry schedules, maps of the island, and you can even get your ferry tickets from us at a slight discount,  at the front desk. Not to mention, the Steamship Authority shuttle bus to the ferry landing in Wood’s Hole is only a ten minute walk from our Cape Cod bed and breakfast inn!

More information on Martha’s Vineyard


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 traveling 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.

Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing Busses

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry

One of the most frequent day trips that our Palmer House guests take is a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard.

For your convenience, we sell the tickets at the inn. After disembarking the ferry we recommend taking the tour bus to get an over view the island.

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry

 

The sightseeing busses on the Vineyard run from Memorial Day weekend through September. They meet every Steamship Authority and Island Queen ferry from 9:00 am through 3:15 pm. They give a fully narrated tour with state-licensed drivers who are also professional guides.

The towns on Martha’s Vineyard offer surprising diversity, each with its own character and personality. For those who are interested in history, Edgartown presents an architectural memorial to whaling’s golden age. Aquinnah or Gay Head as it was named in the past is recognized world-wide for its clay cliffs and natural beauty, while West Tisbury is a typical New England village right out of a Currier and Ives print. Menemsha is a working fishing village and its claim to fame is that it is where the motion picture “Jaws” was filmed. Oak Bluffs is internationally known for its charming Victorian “ginger bread style” cottages.

The tours take approximately two and a half hours and includes a thirty minute stop at the Aquinnah cliffs.

Tickets are $29.00 and can be purchased aboard the bus.

More information on Martha’s Vineyard


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 traveling 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.