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Lighthouses in Coastal Virginia

1st Day: We will travel to the Chesapeake Bay Area of Virginia to begin our Lighthouse journey. This afternoon we’ll visit our first lighthouse - the Stingray Point Lighthouse. Stingray Point Marina is now home to an exact full-scale replica of the original Stingray Point screwpile lighthouse. It stood watch over the shoal at Stingray Point, which separates the Rappahannock and Piankatank Rivers. Next, we’ll head to the New Point Comfort Lighthouse, standing at the end of what was once the southernmost peninsula in Mathews County, at the entrance to Mobjack Bay. The lighthouse is now surrounded by water and hundreds of yards from the mainland. It is the third oldest lighthouse still standing on the Chesapeake Bay, tenth oldest in the US. It may be seen from the New Point Comfort Observation Walkway located at the end of the preserve. Lodging tonight in the Newport News, VA area.

2nd Day: Included this morning is a short visit to The Mariners’ Museum, connecting people to the world’s waters, because through the waters we are connected to one another. The Museum is filled with fascinating stories, captured in priceless artifacts that celebrate the spirit of the open sea. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive maritime museums in the world. We depart the museum and head to the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse. Located at Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA, the lighthouse is owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is not open to the public, but it can be viewed from the street. It is the second oldest light in the bay and the oldest still in use. There are other historic sites at Fort Monroe that you’ll also be able to visit if you wish. After lunch, we’ll cross the Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel as we head to Portsmouth. From the bridge, we hope to catch a glimpse of the Newport News Middle Ground Lighthouse, sitting in the middle of major shipping lanes just off the coast of Hampton Roads. The lighthouse is privately owned; however, the US Coast Guard has access to the lighthouse and is responsible for maintenance of the light, as it still functions as a navigational aid for ships. Upon arriving in Portsmouth, we’ll go to the Lightship Portsmouth Museum and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. Like lighthouses and buoys, lightships were navigational aids. The lights atop their masts were similar to those in lighthouses, but their portability made them much more versatile. Now a museum, the ship’s quarters are fitted out realistically and filled with fascinating artifacts, uniforms, photographs, models, and more. The Naval Shipyard Museum offers a unique perspective on U.S. history, from Colonial to Civil War times and beyond. You’ll find beautiful ship models, uniforms, military artifacts and exhibits portraying life in 18th, 19th and 20th century Portsmouth. Our home tonight will be in the Virginia Beach, VA area. (CB)

3rd Day: There are two lighthouses located at Cape Henry within Fort Story military base, near the northern end of Virginia Beach. The original Cape Henry Lighthouse is the 4th oldest lighthouse in the country, and it was the first lighthouse authorized by the U.S. government. In 1881, a newer lighthouse was constructed 350 feet from the original. The original lighthouse is open to the public and has an unimpeded coastal view that can be enjoyed from the 360-degree lantern room. The newer lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard and is not open to the public. Our journey will next take us across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and up to Chincoteague, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We will try to catch a glimpse of the Cape Charles Lighthouse from the bridge. Cape Charles Light is an octagonal cast iron skeleton tower lighthouse at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on Smith Island. It is the tallest lighthouse in Virginia and the second tallest in the US. Upon arrival in Chincoteague, we’ll check into our home for the night and then have dinner in the area. Following dinner, we will enjoy a Pony Express Sunset Nature Cruise. Traveling by boat is the ultimate way to see wild ponies, eagles, shorebirds, marine life and spectacular views. Led by an experienced captain with local knowledge, cruise along the backside of Assateague for the best chance to see the wildlife. (CB)

4th Day: The Assateague Lighthouse is located on Assateague Island at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. It was first built in 1833 and rebuilt in 1866. The tower stands 145 feet tall and the top of the lighthouse is accessible to the public. The U.S. Coast guard still maintains the light as an active navigational aid due to the treacherous shoals that lie off the barrier islands. It is still operational and one of the most impressive landmarks in Virginia. We will depart the area after our visit and begin our journey back home. Arriving back approximately 9:00 PM. (CB)

Special Notice: Balance is due 30 days prior to departure. Cancel- lation within 30 days of departure will result in payment forfeiture.

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