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Portland Headlight

Pit Stop - Portland Headlight

Josh Loring

It's said that Maine has more coastline than California - which means that if you're exploring the state's coastal communities, there's a lot to see.  But despite there being no shortage of breathtaking views and attractions throughout the almost 3,500 miles of rocky shore, there is one place that should be on everyone's list, and that's Portland Headlight. The distinct red roof, white siding and green trim of the house makes Portland Headlight one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world, and holds the distinction of the oldest lighthouse in the entire state. 
At the directive of President George Washington, just as the U.S. government was officially being formed, construction of Portland Headlight began in 1787 and was completed four years later.  Since then, the lighthouse has kept a watchful eye over the entrance to Portland Harbor, warning approaching ships of land with its flashing white light and fog signal. 
If coming from Portland, you'll head south, eventually finding yourself on Shore Road in the town of Cape Elizabeth, where Portland Headlight is located.  Fort Williams, home to the headlight, was a former U.S. Army fort, and as you make your way through the park you'll pass numerous structures from World War I & II.
In addition to guiding ships into Portland Harbor, the headlight serves as the finish line for the popular 10K road race Beach2Beacon, which was founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson, the Maine native who won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in the first woman's marathon.  The race, which attracts runners from all over the world, just celebrate its 20th Anniversary this past August.