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Amelia Islander

Amelia Island Lighthouse Tours

Nov 19, 2012 02:00AM
Last Wednesday morning I visited Amelia Island’s Lighthouse for the very first time. Shame on me for waiting so long to take the tour! The Amelia Lighthouse, Florida’s oldest, and the only one from the Territorial Period, was built in 1838. When the lantern sent its first beam out to sea, Florida was not yet even a state.

The Lighthouse Tours are run by the City of Fernandina Beach, and held the first and third Wednesdays of every month, leaving from the Atlantic Recreation Center. The cost is only $5 per person, and even includes a shuttle bus over to the Lighthouse’s site. Two lovely women led the tour, Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, June Darby, and Helen O’Hagan Sintes, who grew up at the lighthouse, and whose father and grandfather were both keepers. They were so interesting and clever, and I wish I could have spent more time just talking to them about  their life experiences! We were able to go into the lighthouse, but not climb the stairs to the top, as it is considered a bit dangerous for the public to do so. But still a super interesting morning, making me appreciate the work of the watchful lighthouse and its dedicated keepers.

There were 14 guests on the tour, which I consider a very good turnout, and apparently the tours are very popular with visitors. Scott Mikelson, the Parks & Recreation Manager, is one of the people who helps plan these tours, plus the mountain of other activities you’ll find going on at the Rec Center. He even drives the tour bus!

For more information about the Amelia Lighthouse and the tours, call (904) 277-7350 or visit