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Visit Marblehead Lighthouse

Updated on May 21, 2016

Lighthouse Visits are Fun and Educational

I love traveling, photography and lighthouses, so what could be better than a trip to visit and photograph a lighthouse. My husband and I were visiting friends in Columbus, Ohio and I got online to look for the nearest lighthouse. I found one just 3 hours north in Marblehead, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. Many people think of lighthouses mainly along the ocean on the east or west coast and don't realize that the Great Lakes are home to many of these historic beacons.

If you are looking for a unique experience for your summer travels I would highly recommend a visit to a lighthouse. These historic beacons were used to guide ships in the days before all the electronic navigational guides that are available today. Although a few are still active today, many others have been turned into museums for visitors. Several of the are available for tours or climbing to the top of the lighthouse.

We found that Marblehead lighthouse had both a museum telling about the history of the lighthouse and the area and 5 days a week during the summer they are open for people who want to have the experience of climbing to the top of a lighthouse. This is a great experience for young and old alike.

On this page I will share with you my photos and some tales of my experiences at Marblehead.

photos are all my own-mbgphoto

Sunrise at the Lighthouse

I love to photograph lighthouses, but many times when we are traveling I am only able to capture them during a short period of time. If we stop during our travels and the lighthouse is open to the public it is hard to get photos without a lot of people in the pictures.

This time I decided I wanted to really concentrate on getting some unique photos of the lighthouse during several different time periods. In order to accomplish this my husband and i looked for a place to stay that was nearby the lighthouse. We really lucked out by finding a wonderful little resort right across the way from the lighthouse that had an opening for the night. We checked into the resort and then headed over to the lighthouse to take photos. The lighthouse was open for climbing and there were quite a few people around, so I wandered the grounds, took a few photos, talked a bit to the guides, and checked out angles to come back and take more photos.

I found Marblehead to be a charming looking lighthouse. It is fifty feet tall and has a classic white conical shape with a bright red dome and parapet.

After checking out the lighthouse we went out to dinner at the resort and then returned to the lighthouse in the early evening. At that time I was able to get several good shots of the lighthouse and the grounds in the great light you get in the early evening. I also checked out places to take photos of the sunrise the next morning.

When we got back to the resort for the night I went online and checked the time for sunrise. It said 5 a.m. so I set my alarm for 4:30. When I got up it was still dark out, I thought that was strange if sunrise was at 5, but I decided to get dressed and head over to the lighthouse. When I got there it was quite dark but the lighthouse was beautiful with the green flashing light blinking every few seconds. I set up my tripod and got a few shots. The park was a bit eerie with no one there except a few fisherman on the shore. Well, 5 o'clock came and went and still no sunrise. it was getting lighter though and the sky was turning beautiful shades of pink. I was able to capture some cool shots of the lighthouse and the sky.

At about 5:30 three woman came to the park with tripods and cameras. I asked them about the time of sunrise and they told me it was 6 am not 5 am. So I watched them set up their equipment and at 6:00 the sun started to peak out at the horizon over Lake Erie. Such a beautiful sight! It was definitely worth waiting!

Photographing a Lighthouse

Have you ever photographed a lighthouse at sunrise or sunset?

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Historic and Educational

This photo shows the keepers house at the Marblehead Lighthouse. It has been renovated and is now a museum of history of the lighthouse.

Marblehead lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes that is still active today. It was built in 1821 and was first lit in 1822.

Before the light was automated lighthouse keepers would keep the whale oil lights lit. In 1858 these lights were replaced by a Fresnel lens. These lens are made of multipart glass which intensify the beam the lights send out. Today the lighthouse is fully automated so there is no longer a need for a lighthouse keeper.

Visitors to the light can climb the tower for just a $2 fee and get a great view of Lake Erie and the surrounding area.

Photos throughout the Day

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The lighthouse at 5 a.m.Just after Sunset.Early Morning- Just after SunriseMarblehead at Mid DayEarly Evening taken from Up Main StreetEvening photo just before sunset
The lighthouse at 5 a.m.
The lighthouse at 5 a.m.
Just after Sunset.
Just after Sunset.
Early Morning- Just after Sunrise
Early Morning- Just after Sunrise
Marblehead at Mid Day
Marblehead at Mid Day
Early Evening taken from Up Main Street
Early Evening taken from Up Main Street
Evening photo just before sunset
Evening photo just before sunset

Learn before you Travel

I try to learn a some history of each lighthouse before I visit it. This gives me a better understanding of the history and uniqueness of his light. If you are visiting Ohio lighthouses this book would be a great guide.

Ohio Lighthouses (Images of America)
Ohio Lighthouses (Images of America)

Learn more about Ohio Lighthouses.


Find a Unique Perspective

Early Evening at Marblehead

Accommodations near the Lighthouse

This hotel was perfect for us. The rooms were clean and roomy. The resort had a nice pool and patio are in back and in the front it had a patio cafe overlooking Lake Erie.

It is located just across the street from the Marblehead Lighthouse State park.


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