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Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse

Nubble (Cape Neddick) lighthouse

York, Maine
Built in 1876


On a small “Nubble” island near the entrance to the York River, a few hundred feet from the mainland of Sohier Park, off Nubble Road from York Beach.

Latitude: 43° 09' 54" N
Longitude: 70° 35' 30" W

Nubble Light Web Cams


Historic Stories:

Many shipwrecks had occurred near the Nubble island before the lighthouse was even built. The most famous was the ship Isadore in which all the crew had perished on a Thanksgiving night in 1842 uring a fierce gale storm, though many have claimed to have observed a phantom ship believed to be the Isadore over the years. The wreck became one of the catalysts for the initial construction of Cape Neddick lighthouse years later.

Note: For more details about this famous event, select the link "Wreck of the Isadore" Blog at the top of the page to be directed to my Lighthouse Stories section.


The lighthouse was finally built in 1876, and its first keeper was Brackett Lewis, who also stayed the longest at the lighthouse for 19 years. His daughter Hattie also had a baby at the station. The first lighthouse was painted a reddish brown, and then changed to the current white in 1902.

With its close distance to the mainland the lighthouse became a constant tourist attraction.

early Cape Neddick light with bell

Early Cape Neddick Light
With Fog Bell
Courtesy US Coast Guard

During very low tide people could walk to the lighthouse (although access was not supposed to be allowed). For lighthouse personnel a special bucket was used to access the little island and for moving supplies to and from the short distance to the mainland.

The second keeper, William Brooks, was fired from the position in 1912 when he was found charging tourists and locals 10 cents a head to be ferried to the lighthouse, while his wife charged 5 cents to tour their home. The small time business became quite profitable as it kept the keeper and his wife quite busy and caused them to neglect their duties as keepers. They were fired when the Commander found out.

Between 1930-1943, Keeper Eugene Colman's 19-pound cat, Sambo Tonkus, used to swim the tiny channel 3-4 times a day, to catch mice crawing among the rocks, which became a great tourist attraction.

In the late 1960’s, Coast Guard Keeper David Winchester put his two children in the bucket each morning to send them on their way to school, which caused problems with the District Commander when he found out. The Commander prohibited any future families with school aged children from being stationed at the light.

In 1977 Voyager spacecraft was launched towards Jupiter, to explore our solar system and beyond. It carried three photos identifying prominent man-made and natural structures from Earth -- including the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and Nubble Light.

Storm clouds approach as sun set by Cape Neddick light



Places to Visit Nearby:

York is an affluent community with beautiful Victorian homes, beaches, and organizes many events year round.

York’s Wild Animal Kingdom has an old style amusement park and zoo for tourists. animals at York Animal Zoo kissing

You can also see how taffy is made the old fashion way at the Goldenrod on nearby Short Sands Beach. The are two beaches nearby, Long Sands Beach for the true beach lovers, and Short Sands Beach with lots of shops, amusements, and places to eat.

Whaleback light at high tide

Cape Neddick Light, or Nubble Lighthouse, is just a few hundered feet from the main shore.

The tides will dictate whether the rocks are slippery or not. Be wary of high tides on the rocks.

One of the most popular events is the annual "Lighting of the Nubble" during the holiday season. nubble lighthouse decorated for the holidays

For those who only can visit during the summer months, the beacon is also lit during the “Christmas in July” lighting event in the summer.

There is the Nubble Light Gift Shop in the park of many things nautical, souvenirs, books, and apparel.

Nubble light snowstorm with lobster trap holiday tree Visitors will also find a decorated lobster trap christmas tree during the holiday season nearby.

Building and lighting these special trees during the holiday season all along the coast is a unique New England tradition.

Mount Agamenticus nearby is an easy hike to enjoy mountaintop views of the ocean and surrounding area, and the occasional concerts that happen there during the summer months.

Heading north up the road a few miles you"ll find the inviting tourist towns of Wells and Ogunquit, full of curio shops, clean beaches, and fine restaurants. The Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells offers a paved walkway along coastal marshland for those interested in birding.

In Ogunquit, Marginal Way is probably the most popular one-mile walk in Maine with dramatic views of the area’s rocky ocean shoreline.

Perkins Cove harbor Perkins Cove, in the beginning of Marginal Way, is a small harbor in Ogunquit.

The little harbor is a favorite pictoral destination for artists and photographers alike.


Driving Directions


Contact Info:
Friends of Nubble Light
York Parks and Recreation
186 York Street
York, ME 03909


Local Boat Tours

New England Eco Adventures
Check out these lighthouse and special tours on a fast, low to the water, Navy S.E.A.L Rigid Inflatable Boat (R.I.B) that glides over the water. They offer tours to Nubble (Cape Neddick) light, Goat Island (Cape Porpoise) light, Wood Island light, and out to Boon Island lighthouse, which is rarely visited on any other tours. They also offer a unique guided walk about tour on Goat Island lighthouse and grounds, among other types of cruises.
8 Western Ave
Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 502-8040


Finest Kind Scenic Cruises
Provides scenic coastal and wildlife tours as part of their breakfast cruise. They also provide, sailing cruises on a traditional wooden loberstering vessel used over 100 years ago, cocktail cruises, and a lobstering trip where you can see lobster traps being hauled in as many lobstermen do every day. There is also a Nubble Lighthouse cruise that takes you around the back of the lighthouse for some unique views, and up along the rocky coast.

P.O. Box 1828
Ogunquit, ME 03907
Phone: (207) 646-5227


Cove Runner Coastline Cruises
Private intimate trips (up to 6 passengers) along the southern coast of Maine to destinations of your choice, in a smooth riding 23’ power catamaran. Enjoy seal sightings and other wildlife. Departs out of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine.

Captain Bob Spencer
(207) 216-2844


New Book Just Published Summer 2023!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

Available in paperback, hard cover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field! Most of these vessels used Portland Harbor as a secondary port after Boston to drop off their massive cargoes.

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed these mighty ships, including competitions, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.

Click for larger video here.



My 300-page book (with over 360 images), Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon.

In addition to historic rescues and stories for each lighthouse, and lots of attractions, you'll find a section of haunted lighthouse stories, like information about the events leading up to sightings of the ghost ship Isadore near Nubble Light over the years.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions





New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues & Other Tales

This image-rich book contains over 50 stories of famous shipwrecks and rescues around New England lighthouses, and also tales of hauntings that occurred.

You'll find more extensive details about the story of the ghost ship Isadore near Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse. 

You'll find this book and others I've written from the publisher Schiffer Books, or in many fine bookstores like Barnes and Noble.



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