Sunday, July 29, 2018

Local Review: Jupiter Lighthouse Museum

In case you haven't noticed, my bucket list is extremely important. It provides direction and motivation when getting out of bed before 7 am is way down the list of priorities.

I worked less than a mile away from the iconic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse for two years, and never made it up the steps. When a very close friend became ill with his second fight against cancer, we made the promise to climb the tower together once he felt up to it.

Danny ended up in the hospital a few short weeks after our conversation (I had tried to make arrangements prior but he did not feet well enough for a walk), and never went home. Heartbroken, I resolved to make the climb for him. Motivation is a precious thing to waste, and I have since made the climb twice.

Brave the 105 steps, with four small window stops - one facing each major point of the compass to allow for airflow regardless of wind direction - and receive a reward. One of the most spectacular views in Florida awaits.

The fully functioning lighthouse is not available to visit without registering for an official tour, and the land is federally regulated. This iconic building, proudly shooting a beam into the night that is visible 30 miles out since 1860, is the product of partnerships. The Coast Guard, Bureau of Land Management and the Loxahatchee Historical Society work together to keep the lighthouse lit for those at sea and accessible to those on land.

The Frenel lens fascinated me as much as the extensive tour of the other historical buildings led by Janet.

From Native American middens to the keeper's workshop, the 125 acres of land includes more than the lighthouse.

My favorite part had to be the large ficus tree, planted in 1935.

Danny was a history buff far beyond my reach, and as he was a big fan of Charlie Pierce stories we had to visit all the wonderful buildings in his honor.

My awesome friend Shannon exploring and an exhibit telling the history of Charlie Pierce.

From the Tindel House to the Pennocks, Jupiter's history is truly represented in the different exhibits. Even the Chiki with its 3000 sabal palm fronds shows the care staff and volunteers take with every aspect of the facility.

Seriously - 3000 fronds?!
Well, I can't post this without including the highlight views mentioned before - so here you go!

Jim's time at the lighthouse means he has forgotten more than I will ever know!

Jupiter Inlet at its finest
This past year without Danny as my muse and sounding board inspired me to spot waiting for adventure. His mantra to me was "be better today than I was yesterday", and I take those words to heart.

It took far too long to get this post moving, because despite the wonderful facility and staff I couldn't seem to get the words down. But I took a second trip with some friends from out of state and realized that sharing the experience is how to best show respect.

The Jupiter Lighthouse is well worth the time to visit. There is lots to do at the museum on site and a lovely little giftshop with Florida-unique items. Even if you are not physically up for the climb, the exhibits and other historical buildings make for a fun field trip perfect for grown ups.

The price is less than reasonable (as in cheap, people!) and knowing you are preserving history while connecting with Old Florida is just icing on the cake.

Don't put off the items on your bucket list. Don't wait to visit the places and people that make the area around your home special. Take the time for small adventures - it will always be worth the climb.