Fourteen stops that include eleven historic lighthouses, two life-saving stations, and one historic museum along the New Jersey shore, makes for one busy and exhausting weekend. When the calendar hits mid-October, and the leaves have turned bright colors and hit the ground, it’s the perfect time to get out and take in what makes up the annual Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey. It’s also a perfect excuse for a weekend adventure.
The dates for the 2016 “Challenge” are October 15-16. That may be just two days out of the year, but it’s a weekend that allows visitors from all over to experience the state of New Jersey’s remarkable maritime history. Challenge participants can climb to the top of working lighthouses, visit the country’s only living history life-saving station, photograph the majestic Atlantic Ocean views, all while enjoying quaint inviting coastal communities, without the summer crowds.
That means it’s also the perfect chance to visit two historic and inviting bed and breakfasts in the area that will provide an oasis for lighthouse fans during the night and are geographically desirable for hitting the next wave of lighthouses the following day.
The Candlelight Inn, in North Wildwood may be located in a residential district, but it’s only three blocks from the beach and boardwalk. It’s still within walking distance of several fantastic local restaurants. It’s also the perfect gateway to “Challenge” points in the southern part of the state, including Cape May. The Candlelight Inn is featured in the “Select Registry.” This is the book of exceptional B&Bs, Inns and Boutique Hotels.
As Mike and Wanda, owners of the Candlelight Inn say, “Not every great B&B is in the Select Registry, but if they are in the Select Registry, they will be exceptional.”
Not only do you get a homemade breakfast at the Candlelight Inn, but also cookies, tea and other drinks in the late afternoon. The wrap-around porch is spacious enough for guests to kick up their feet and relax after a day filled with climbing and walking. Converted into a B&B in 1985, the Victorian Home and in the adjacent Carriage House offer eight rooms in the home and two more spacious rooms in Carriage House. All the guestrooms have private baths, some with a double whirlpool tub, are air conditioned and have either electric or gas fireplaces. There is a outdoor six-person hot tub and private deck for all guests, Wi-Fi throughout the property the attention to every detail you can imagine.
You will be greeted by Coakley, a friendly dog upon entering the Northwood Inn B&B in Ocean City. Ocean City sits close to Atlantic City as well as the Absecon Lighthouse and the Barnegat Light Museum. For lighthouse enthusiasts, the bonus at the Northwood Inn is that owners, John and Marj Loeper are very knowledgeable about not only the lighthouses, but also the “Challenge.” In fact, John is leading the restoration of the life-saving station in Ocean City that is set for a grand opening in early 2017. The Northwood Inn features air conditioned rooms at fair prices, a roof top deck with spectacular views and complimentary bicycles that guests can ride. Afternoon tea and cookies are offered as are breakfast at 8:30 daily. Let John give you a overview of the lighthouses and the Life Saving Station No. 30. The Loepers will do all they can to make your visit both educational and enjoyable.
To participate in the “Challenge” visitors will get a pirate map, and then stamps at each location to complete the map. A $2 fee for the map will be collected at your first stop and then you are off. Every effort is made to make this friendly competition a fun experience that will open your eyes to another aspect of the history of New Jersey and lighthouses in America. Let the Candlelight Inn and the Northwood Inn be part of your adventure.