The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse is now accepting reservations for the summer season as it prepares to welcome guests to this offshore island for the first time in history. A stay at this recently restored inn, which is located in a historic lighthouse on one of the Cuckholds islands off the coast of Southport, Maine, is a memorable and tranquil experience—after all, its physical address is Lat. 43° 46′ 8″N, Long. 69° 39’00” W.
The Lighthouse is located on a private island, one half-mile offshore from Southport Island’s Newagen Seaside Inn. The Newagen Seaside Inn is a 6 hour drive from New York, three hours from Boston, or 90 minutes from Portland. Guests are transported by Coast Guard licensed Captains aboard a restored Navy motor whaleboat to the Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse.
The Inn features two brand new, elegantly appointed, modern luxury suites inspired by the history of the lighthouse itself as well as the soft colors and textures of the Maine coast. Charming common spaces invite guests to relax, read, play a game, enjoy cocktails, conversation and fabulous home cooked meals. The sweeping, 360 degree ocean views and the rhythmic sounds of crashing waves make this location an ideal retreat for artists and writers looking for inspiration; a unique setting for a milestone anniversary or birthday celebration; or a cozy, romantic couples’ oasis.
The Inn features two luxurious guest suites. The East Suite offers an elegant bedroom that sleeps two guests with a custom king-sized bed outfitted with Frette sheets and an adjoining sitting room and a luxurious marble bathroom. The West Suite also sleeps two in a custom, king-sized bed, and can also accommodate one to two additional guests on its sitting room’s queen-sized sofa bed. The West Suite offers a private entry, a luxurious living room, an elegant marble bathroom with a separate shower and sea views from the tub.
The lighthouse, was built in 1892, after $25,000 was appropriated to build a fog signal station and keeper’s house. To protect the buildings from the sea in heavy storms, a granite pier was constructed on the highest part of the island to support and raise the fog signal station above the storm waves. A light tower was added to the station in 1907, which was visible up to 13 miles.
For more than a century, the Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Station protected mariners as they journeyed into Boothbay Harbor; the addition of the light tower in 1907 further aided their passage, and still does today.
The station was manned by two pairs of lightkeepers until the mid 1970s when, like many of the lighthouses that dot the American coastline, the light was automated. A few years later, the keeper’s house and boat house was dismantled, leaving a lonely light tower and fog signal to stand watch unattended. The United States Coast Guard no longer deemed the lighthouse necessary.
In 2004, people on Southport Island and the surrounding area became concerned that the light signal was slated for demolition, to be replaced by a fiberglass light pole, and rallied to save their beloved historic landmark. In June 2004, under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (with a goal of finding local non-profits to take ownership of lighthouses considered “excess property”), the Federal government invited interested and eligible entities to apply to acquire the Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Station. Deemed excess to the United States Coast Guard, and threatened with destruction, the Cuckolds was at a critical turning point. When the Cuckolds Light Station appeared on the list in 2004, longtime Southport summer residents Janet Reingold and Philip Yasinski submitted a letter of intent just 48 hours before the application deadline.
Over the next two years, the couple rallied a growing group of volunteers, including lifelong residents and relative newcomers, to the rescue. Calling themselves the Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Station Council, the group raised funds and developed detailed plans for restoring the light tower, rebuilding the keeper’s house and boathouse to historical specifications, but with the benefit of modern materials and building techniques. They succeeded to rescue the lighthouse and acquired the deed to the property. Operating as a luxurious retreat will enable the lighthouse to have a sustainability plan to ensure its generates its own revenue in the future.
Set to open this summer, this luxurious retreat will be available to adventurous travelers who want to experience their own private island while staying in the lighthouse. Resident Keepers, Dan and Barbara Aube, a couple with long ties to Maine and a shared love of the sea, reside on Cuckolds Island during the summer. They provide tours of the fully preserved historic Light Tower, serve as concierges and hosts to overnight guests, help maintain and protect the island and Station, and ensure visitors’ delight.
In addition to being an ideal location for romantic weekend getaways, small gatherings, milestone anniversaries and other life celebrations, the Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Station Council envisions the island and light station being a popular destination for local community and business groups to explore oceanography, maritime history, marine biology and more.
The innkeepers prepare a full breakfast for guests, using fresh ingredients from Maine coast farms. Afternoon tea is served each day in the parlor and features breads, patés and desserts. Lunch and dinner reservations can be made at local restaurants and nearby inns, or provided on-island from a selected menu at an additional cost. There is a small refrigerator in each suite that is stocked with snacks and beverages.
While staying at the lighthouse, there are many activities from which to choose. Besides relaxing at the lighthouse, guests may choose to go on a harbor cruise for a casual tour or island lobster bake, go on a whale watching trip or a deep sea fishing excursion. Guests can also golf and dine at the redesigned, championship Boothbay Region Country Club.
The cost to stay at the lighthouse is $350 per night for a suite with a two night minimum (weeknights). Rates are $500 per night for a suite on weekends (Friday and Saturday nights). The price to rent the private island is $2500 for a two-night stay (weekdays). The rate is $3,000 to rent the private island for a weekend stay (Friday/Saturday). Rates do not include Maine lodging tax of 8%. Guests who are stranded at the lighthouse because of weather, get a free night at the lighthouse. The Inn has Wi-Fi.
For reservations or for more information, call (855) 212-5262 or visit the inn’s website.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge