Choptank River Lighthouse has busy season ahead

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Special to The Dorchester Banner/Jill Jasuta
The Choptank River Lighthouse, a replica of a light that guided generations of mariners along the Choptank River, will open for the 2015 season on May 1 by celebrating the addition of new artifacts.

CAMBRIDGE — On May 1, the Choptank River Lighthouse will open for the season by celebrating the addition of a new launch boat, fog bell and signal, and Fresnel lens.

The public is welcome to view the new artifacts from 5-6 p.m., after an invitation-only reception from 4-5 p.m. During the public viewing, visitors can sign up for a free drawing for a giclée print of “The Jewel of the Choptank,” a painting of the lighthouse by Cambridge artist George Wright.

The launch boat Miss Polly, constructed by volunteers at the Ruark Boatworks, a division of the James B. Richardson Maritime Museum, will be in position in its new home on the cottage level of the lighthouse. Constructed with funds from The Pauline F. and W. David Robbins Charitable Foundation and the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area, this 22-foot dory boat is a replica of one the lighthouse keeper would have used to ferry himself to and from shore. The original lighthouse was located in the middle of the Choptank River until the Coast Guard dismantled it in 1964.

The event will celebrate other new artifacts, including a fog bell and its striker and a fifth-order Fresnel lens, both on permanent loan from the U.S. Coast Guard. New signage will also be unveiled and commemorative wine glasses will be available for purchase.

The 2015 season will be a busy one for the lighthouse. On May 9, the lighthouse will be open as one of 11 stops on the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage in Dorchester County. The pilgrimage offers the opportunity to visit some of the most intriguing homes and gardens in the Cambridge and East New Market areas. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and may be purchased at the Dorchester County Visitors Center (2 Rose Hill Place in Cambridge) the day of the event or in advance online at http://mhgp.org/Dorchester-County-2015.

Imagine spending the Fourth of July at the lighthouse – offering the best view in town of the Cambridge fireworks! The Lighthouse Foundation is holding a raffle for a catered picnic for up to 20 people on the Fourth of July. Tickets cost $10 each or 3 for $25 and are available until the May 1 Opening Day event. The winner will be announced at the close of the dedication ceremony. To purchase raffle tickets, call 410-463-2653 or stop by MTS Broadcasting on Bay Street in Cambridge. Tickets are also available through the Cambridge Lighthouse Foundation Board members. Tickets will be available through April 25.

On Sept. 18-20, the lighthouse will be part of the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge, which encourages lighthouse enthusiasts to visit at least 10 lighthouses around Maryland in one weekend.

After the Opening Day festivities on May 1, the Choptank River Lighthouse is open daily during the 2015 season (May 2 through Oct. 31) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for self-guided tours. Volunteers serving as “lighthouse keepers” will be on duty Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to answer any questions. There is no admission but donations are welcome. The lighthouse is also available for special event rentals. Call 410.228.4031 for details.

The lighthouse is located at High and Water streets in Cambridge.
Learn more about the lighthouse at ChoptankRiverLighthouse.org.

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