Here’s my Experience Living in this Lighthouse

by Barrett

If the idea of vacationing in a lighthouse appeals to you, let me tell you a story about what to expect…

Is living in a lighthouse on your bucket list? I had it on mine, and I was finally able to cross it off after my family and I spent a couple of April nights at the Rose Island Lighthouse. It’s located in the Narragansett Bay next to Newport, Rhode Island.

The Adventure Begins
We boarded a little boat out of Fort Adams and were shuttled by Captain Cal to Rose Island, in the direction of the Newport Bridge.
After the 15-minute boat ride, we carried our luggage off the dock and wheeled away our cooler that contained all of our vacation’s food.
Then we headed up the hill to our temporary home in the lighthouse.

We moved into the first floor ‘museum’ section, which also doubled as a two bedroom apartment, complete with living room and study. Well, it wasn’t exactly complete as the kitchen didn’t offer drinkable water or modern plumbing. (Instead, 5-gallon Poland Spring jugs were provided.)
At the kitchen sink, we had to literally pump in rain water that was stored in a huge cistern nearby. (The same 19th-century system was used for the toilet.)

The Geography
Rose Island is 18 acres, but because of the time of year, much of that is off limits to protect the many nesting birds. So, we really only had access to the shore lines on both sides of the lighthouse.
We could also walk around the land surrounding the nearby Fort Hamilton Barracks, which originally housed the workers who built torpedoes during both world wars.

Nesting Birds and Territorial Geese
Though there was still plenty of space to walk about and enjoy all of the birds, we did encounter a couple territorial geese. They had other ideas about humans visiting their island.
That said, their aggressive posturing was just that. Our 12-year-old son tested their resolve on a few occasions with a running start, and happily, he walked away unscathed.

Of course, we found plenty to do on our little island.
That included visiting the top of our lighthouse on multiple occasions. Sunsets were particularly spectacular.

We also roasted marshmallows at night by the fire pit. While making s’mores, we shared our day’s stories with a couple who were staying in the keeper’s apartment above ours.

I cooked our dinners outside on a gas grill, as there wasn’t a stove in our kitchen. We weren’t exactly roughing it, but you did get a sense of what it was like to live in a secluded place a century ago. That was definitely a part of our little adventure.

Yes, we still enjoyed some modern amenities, like our solar-generated electricity and heated quarters. (And cell coverage does reach the island.) But when the sun went down, I fully absorbed the reality that we were pretty much on our own.
During those overnight hours, it felt comforting to have that beacon at the top of the house shining bright.

Be Prepared for What You Might See
As you may expect, I brought along my camera gear.
I happily spent time capturing the beautiful imagery that surrounded me.

On our first morning, I was surprised to see a cruise ship enter the harbor. (It was early in the season for this.) I grabbed my binoculars. It was the MS Amera, a Phoenix Reisen ship.
So I ran to get my camera and snapped away. I watched as little ferry boats shuttled passengers to Newport for the day.

Lighthouse Timelapses
But of course, the main attraction was our 1870 lighthouse, which was renovated in the mid 1980s and reopened in 1993. And I focused most of my timelapses on the building itself.

Please click my Vimeo video to watch my timelapse sequence…

Not your Typical Vacation

I’m not exactly sure why I’ve wanted to stay in a lighthouse with my family. I think the idea felt a little adventurous and romantic. (Maybe something out of a movie.) It was like camping, but much more comfortable. Certainly, it was different. We all really enjoyed it.

I’d definitely do it again.