2021 Lighthouse Challenge: Navesink Twin Lights

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2021 Lighthouse Challenge

Navesink Twin Lights was the second to last stop for us on Day 2 during the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey. Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the challenge in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was mostly virtual. In 2021, it was back on. My friend and I decided to spend the full weekend, stopping at every site on the list and collecting the souvenir piece. In previous years, I’d only finished sections of the course.

Patty and I had lived through some tough times in 2021 and were ready for the brief respite afforded by Lighthouse Challenge weekend. I would also be reporting on our odyssey for my week-long takeover of the Jersey Collective. After visiting Sea Girt, we headed to Navesink Twin Lights. We climbed one of the towers just as a rain squall blew in. With vultures circling the observation deck, it was a surreal experience.

Twin Lights

At 200 feet above sea level on a steep bluff, the Twin Lights of Highlands have watched over the harbor entrance since 1828. Officially named Navesink Lightstation, it was the first in the USA to use Fresnel lenses. The Fresnel lens, through its beehive design, magnifies the light from a small bulb so that it can be seen for miles. Sailors as far as 22 miles away could see the Navesink lights.

In 1862, the lighthouse replaced the original structures and is still standing today. The keepers quarters in the middle links two different shaped light towers. With one steady beacon and one pulsing beacon, the light provided a distinctive navigational aid.

Technological advances reduced the need for lighthouses and in 1949, after 121 years in operation, the Twin Lights went dark. The State of New Jersey acquired the property and designated it a State Historic Site in 1962.

Lighthouse Challenge posts

Location: 2 Lighthouse Road, Highlands, NJ 07732
Designation: State Historic Site
Date designated/established: 1962
Date of my visit: October 17, 2021