A Multitude of Attractions
Lighthouse enthusiasts may also want to visit the Lighthouse Museum in Rockland. In the spring of 2007, the collections of the American Lighthouse Foundation, previously located in Wells, and the Shore Village Museum, in Rockland, were consolidated in an old newspaper building on the Rockland waterfront. This new museum is a repository of the extensive lens collection of Ken Black, a deceased Coast Guard official who loved lighthouses, and other lighthouse artifacts. Now administered by the American Lighthouse Foundation, the museum tells stories of some keepers and also invites volunteers to help with the work of lighthouse preservation.
Over the years, all sorts of products with lighthouse shapes, insignias or brand names have testified to the wide-ranging lighthouse appeal. The Lighthouse Depot in Wells has more than 10,000 of these items: buoys, bags, dish towels, mugs, dinner plates, caps and other clothing, coasters and cards with lighthouse images on them; candlesticks, vases, pens, spoons, candies, ear-rings and lamps shaped like lighthouses; publications about lighthouses, and on, and on. Rockland's Lighthouse Museum also has a smaller version of this gift store.
Many buildings around the state also resemble lighthouses. The Portland Observatory on Munjoy Hill is one, and there are many, many more. One of the most interesting is a faux lighthouse built by a man who always wanted to live in one but couldn't get Coast Guard approval or find one available any other way. So Roger Nowland, a Pennsylvania engineer, created his own lighthouse, with everything but a Coast-Guard approved beacon. It's now a three-unit B&B named First Light, run by another owner. Guests can climb a curving narrow stairway to a tower with 360-degree views of the coast and cove and an adjacent stream that gurgles into the sea.