Nubble Light – Like no other Lighthouse at Christmastime

Nubble Light – Like no other Lighthouse at Christmastime
Nubble Light

A decorated Nubble Light at Christmastime is magical (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Some traditions tarry through time and are simply observed, while others rekindle our spirits with a refreshing joy that is undiminished by familiarity.

At Christmastime, a decorated Nubble Light is a tradition whose appeal proves captivating time and again for countless admirers. This unique holiday treat continues to inspire the Yuletide dreams of the young and spark bygone Christmas memories in the minds of adults – each sweetened by the magical glow shining forth from a special place just out of reach.

Starting with the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, people from near and afar make a sojourn to Sohier Park in York, Maine, for an opportunity to gaze upon the beloved Cape Neddick Light Station – affectionately known as Nubble Light, dressed in a sea of festive lights.

During this time of year Nubble Light becomes much more than simply an historic light station.

Regal in appearance by day, Nubble Light dons an altogether different persona by night when the island is sprinkled with the enchantment of Christmastime. Strings of lights form a sparkling outline of the light station’s buildings, but the power of these lights is not confined to mere illumination.

Nubble Light

Cape Neddick "Nubble" Light is a regal sight by day (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Against a lonely backdrop shrouded by the black garb of night at sea, a decorated Nubble Light almost doesn’t appear real. However, what is real is a silent scene that unequivocally speaks to our hearts and minds by simply observing its merry countenance.

As the icy winds of December sweep across the surrounding restless ocean, the light’s glowing outline can stoke one’s imagination and conjure up tantalizing visions of the island far from the familiar landmark that it is, but rather into an extraordinary place where the magic of Christmas beckons just yonder.

Of course such thoughts can only exist in our imagination, but that’s the charm of Nubble Light at Christmastime – and why so many cherish this annual tradition.

Nubble Light

At Christmas, Nubble Light can be so much more than a light station decked out in holiday decorations (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)

Under the cover of darkness at Christmas, Nubble Light can simply be the Cape Neddick Light Station that we have all come to know – or its illuminating presence can serve as an imaginary “bridge of light” that leads to untold Christmas memories past, present and future.

The choice is ours – but only if we believe!

Do you know how the tradition of decking Nubble Light out in Christmas lights started?

According to Nubble Light historian William O. Thomson, “In the early 1980s, Mrs. Margaret Cummings of York Beach donated lights in memory of her husband. Mrs. Cummings lived in a section of the beach known as Concordville. When she approached her neighbors Verna and Henry Rundlett about the idea, they asked if they could help. They called a few more neighbors and a small donation was added to the Cummings fund.”

Mr. Thomson goes on to note, “When the lighthouse keeper heard of the event, he volunteered to put the lights up, which started this yearly tradition. With approval from the Coast Guard commander, the Christmas light project was underway.”

Today, the Town of York, Maine, owns Nubble Light and is responsible for the preservation and lighting of the historic site. According to the Town of York’s website, “Twice each year the lighthouse is adorned with white lights, outlining the houses and tower. The first event is known as “Christmas in July” and the second is the Annual Lighting of the Nubble and both events are held at Sohier Park.”