Lighthouses on Martha's Vineyard
Concierge.com's insider take:
Three of the Vineyard's five lighthouses (all on the north side of the island) are open to the public for sunset tours operated by the Martha's Vineyard Museum (508-627-4441; mvmuseum.org). East Chop Light, in Oak Bluffs, is perched on a cliff 79 feet above the sea (508-693-8104). The red-brick Gay Head Lighthouse is on the edge of the Aquinnah cliffs and visitors are allowed into the light chamber; its original Fresnel lens, which was exhibited at the 1855 World's Fair in Paris, is now on exhibit in the Martha's Vineyard Museum. The Edgartown Lighthouse originally stood in Ipswich, Mass., and was moved to its present site after its predecessor was badly damaged by the Hurricane of 1938 (508-627-4441). Guarding the entrance to Vineyard Haven, the West Chop Lighthouse in its current brick incarnation dates from 1838 and was the last manned lighthouse on the island. There are also guided tours to (though not inside) the Cape Poge Lighthouse, at the far end of Chappaquiddick. This structure has been rebuilt four times since it first went up in 1801. The current white wooden structure was built in 1893 and on four occasions has had to be moved farther from the waterthe last time by helicopter (508-627-3599; thetrustees.org). For lighthouse connoisseurs, the Vineyard has launched an annual Martha's Vineyard Lighthouse Challenge in June, including transportation to all five lighthouses and a "lighthouse passport" book (800-505-4815; mvy.com/islandinfo/lighthouse_challenge).