Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Saturday April 28, 2018                                                                                Most Recent Posts
Oregon Inlet Campgroun                                                                                Have You Seen the F Code?
Cape Hatteras National Seashore                                                                 Atlantic Florida to Atlantic N.C.
Nags Head, North Carolina

It’s wonderful living just over the dunes and being able to walk to such a beautiful dawn and sunrise.

The clouds gather more along the horizon as though they are trying to keep the sun down.



The brighter the sun gets, the more my camera lens shuts down and makes the surroundings dark.  I should learn how to use the settings rather than simply rely on automatic.  I’ve gotten very lazy as I’ve gotten older.



Bodie is just over a mile from Winnona and I can see it at a distance out my doorway.  Since I’m always up bright an early,  unless I’m sick, today I was at the at the Bodie Island Lighthouse (pronounced Body) when it opened at 9am.   All the better to avoid the buses and crowds.

IMG_2055There have been three Bodie Island Light Houses.  Construction on the first54’  light house began in 1847.  Information at the lighthouse describes this example of government mishandling.   “The skillful Francis Gibbons was contracted as engineer, the project's overseer was a former Customs official named Thomas Blount, who unfortunately, had no lighthouse experience at all. This proved disastrous when Blount ordered an unsupported brick foundation laid, despite Gibbons' recommendations to the contrary. As a result, the 54-foot tower began to lean within two years after completion. Numerous expensive repairs failed to rectify the problem and the lighthouse had to be abandoned in 1859.”

IMG_2053The second 80’ lighthouse fared no better.  It was quickly funded, contracted and completed in 1859.  But then the Civil War came and confederate troops fearing the Union Forces would use it, blew it up in their retreat.

It wasn’t until 1871 and many more ship wrecks that third lighthouse was built.  The first two lighhouses were built south of Oregon Inlet.  The third was built north of it.  No roads accessed this area until 1920.

There are 215 steps to the top of the 170’ tall lighthouse.  It is placed 6’ above sea level as a place of refuge for the light keepers and their families in case of flooding.  It is one of only a dozen remaining brick tower lighthouses painted in its distinctive horizontal stripes pattern and one of the very few with an original first order fresnel lens which can be seen 19 miles out to sea. Its flash pattern is 2.5 seconds on, 2.5 seconds off, 2.5 seconds on and 22.5 seconds off.

The lighthouse has an oil house, a double keepers quarters and a Lighthouse Master’s home.    It was electrified in 1932. 

You can climb the lighthouse from 9-5 Monday-Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday.  There is a small charge $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, and children under 11.  The stairs are wrought iron narrow and free floating.  Thus only one person can be on any set between landings at a time.  The view is FABULOUS!


I love the “rules” which are posted on this sign as you walk up to buy your tickets.  They are also inside where you buy your tickets

You must be:
Over 42”
Under 260 lbs
No eating, drinking, smoking or chewing tobacco
No pets

and these two are THE BEST
shoes required, no heels over 1.5” – boy that cuts out a lot of women these days.
No umbrellas (umbrellas really), backpacks or bulky items.

The free floating stairs arenot attached to the wall and given their age, the rule of only one person on each section of time.  Today it’s no problem but when it’s busy I bet things back up both going up and coming down.   There are windows about half way up and on each landing.


As you climb of course the views change.





On the last landing you are permitted to climb is the door out to the “balcony”.  I’m sure that’s not an official lighthouse term but it will do.  The set of stairs on the left in the picture below goes up to the Fresnel Lens


The stairs are closed off but they allow you to step up two steps to get pictures of the gorgeous lens.


 I wonder who cleans it and the windows around it these days.  They were sure sparkling clean today.


Steppping out the door and onto the balcony, I found fantastic views and very mild winds, say 7 miles an hour rather than 20.  The latter was amazing since the winds here in the area are infamous.



The double keeper’s quarters is now used one side for a bookstore and the other for selling tickets to climb the light house and for ORV passes.  grumble…grumble….grumble


Today at least there is no limit on how much time I can spend up here so I stay and enjoy the fabulous views for quite a while.  When I leave it’s to head down to the boardwalk into the wetlands that looks so inviting from up here.


More folks are starting to come so I do have to wait at one of the landings for someone who is on the stairs headed up.  I can’t get over the “free floating” part of these stairs.  It’s probably hard to see in the picture but the outside railings are not connected to the wall.  The stairs are only connected to the landings.


To walk the boardwalk you have to go back out to the parking lot and over to its head.  The area around it is too wet to walk through except up by the parking lot.  It’s  nice to walk by the lighthouse from the other side.


At the end of the boardwalk through the marsh is a covered deck overlooking the ponds.



I don’t see many waterfowl, just a pair of ducks and this laughing gull who has found something.  I like his crossed feathers at the rear.

Looking back at the lighthouse.


Zooming in on the Fresnel Lens and the balcony.  Only a few folks up there on the back side.


Walking back, I think perhaps I’ll come back another day and try to get some pictures when the light goes on.


As I take my last picture, I wonder what is it that makes us all love lighthouses so much?  The Outer Banks have 4 still operating and I’m hoping I’ll be able to take in at least 3 of them on the 118 miles that is the North Carolina Outer Banks.


In the afternoon I go down to the beach but the cars and trucks make walking a hazzard as they drive back and forth and make huge ruts in the sand.


Day ends with the sun setting behind my Earth flag seemingly into Currituck Sound.



  1. It's hard to beat those ocean sunrises...so deep and colorful.

  2. A beautiful lighthouse, and incredible views!

  3. Quite a morning you had. Enjoyed the light house, it appears to be like the one in Key West. Thank You.

  4. Nice post. Beautiful and informative. Thanks!!

  5. WOW! Amazing views and shots of the sky.
    Nice to know about the light house. I am also interested to go and see inside the light house, but i didn't get a chance for that. It would have been a wonderful experience to explore it:)

  6. What a beautiful adventure. That sunrise is glorious! The floating stairs are quite the engineering feat. Love the views from the top! You "sound" so content and at peace here :-))

  7. I'm dizzy just looking at the pictures of the stairs.

  8. Suggestion: after taking a shot on Auto, look at those settings and decide what you'd like to change, F-stop for more or less light, shutter speed longer or shorter. You can do this if you try. Of course having said that, I always love your bird and closeup photos which I am not so good at. And then there's post processing to pull out shadows and drop highlights. That shot looking down the stairs is awesome. Is hard to believe those stairs are free standing. Keep on enjoying, and sharing, the coast.

  9. A lighthouse we have missed, will have to try and correct that!

  10. Beautiful sunrise and sunset and a cool lighthouse adventure in between! Your shots looking down the spiral staircase in the lighthouse are excellent. We always try to visit lighthouses in our travels, too. Maybe it's the beautiful remote locations that make them so alluring...and the idea that the life of a lighthouse keeper would be romantic, although the reality is that it was terribly hard for most of them. It's fun reading about your explorations of an area we've yet to visit. On the list!

  11. Bodie is one of my top favorite lighthouses! So stately!

    If you happen to still be in the area for the next full moon, be sure to catch the Cape Hattaras Full Moon tour. There are two times, 8:30pm and 9:30pm. You have to get tickets 3 days early. Hope you get to do it...it was magical!

  12. Lovely sunrises and sunsets! I too am a big fan of lighthouses. The Fresnel lens is such a beautiful piece of art, really. A bit scary walking up those stairs!

  13. Your pictures of the sunrise and sunset just take my breath away. I love lighthouses too. There is something really magical about going out on one and climbing up to the top. I love the stories of the lighthouse keepers too and all their faithful service.

  14. Lets see, 215 steps divided by $10 means each step costs about...um...uh...more than I want to spend to get to the top. Thanks for doing it for me, now I owe you the ten bucks! :cD

    1. You flatter me Paul. I paid much more per step due to my maturity. $10 for the youngsters, $5 for the Q tips.

  15. Beautiful sunrise! Love the colors! I like the picture of the lighthouse stairs. We used to have a poster of the stairs in the Currituck lighthouse- so cool!

  16. Gorgeous sunrise and sunset colors. Bodie was my favorite lighthouse if I remember right. Something about the setting really charmed me.

  17. How did I not know it's pronounced Body?! Neat steps, beautiful stairs, windows and views. Gorgeous sunrise and set. Hard not to love the Outer Banks!


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