Top 10 Stewardship Traveler Activities
Number 6: Holiday Tour of Point San Luis Light House
By Michele Roest
Had a great mid-week mini vacation on Wednesday that turned out to be even more fun than I had imagined. It was a glorious December day for a field trip to the Point San Luis Lighthouse. It’s located just north of the Avila Beach harbor and pier. We met up near “dog beach” and boarded an old-fashioned trolley that drove us along a winding road out to the lighthouse at Point San Luis. The sky was so clear we could see all the way south to Point Sal, near Santa Maria. The boats were sitting calmly in the harbor, and we saw sea lions and gulls on the rocky breakwater.
I thought we would be on a guided tour, but on Wednesdays, visitors are allowed to wander all over the grounds and spend time in several different buildings. In December, it’s even more festive, with volunteers dressed up in period costumes, and holiday decorations on the lighthouse and fog signal buildings. A nice array of desserts and hot cider were provided to celebrate the season.
Point San Luis Light Station was built in 1890 and is the only surviving Prairie Victorian model lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States. It looks like a doll’s house! The interior is very well preserved, with the original woodwork, foundation and many early artifacts. It was easy to imagine the keepers and their families living in such a cozy home. The place is maintained by the Point San Luis Light House Keepers, a non-profit organization dedicated to stewardship of the light house and surrounding area.
I climbed up into the light building and surveyed the magnificent view. The original Fresnel lens was on display in the fog signal building, along with photographs and architectural drawings. The gift shop has items ranging from a dollar and up. More than anything, I enjoyed the volunteers, who were friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic – everyone was delightful. They are doing an excellent job taking care of the lighthouse and its history.
Most of the year tickets are $20, but they are $35 in December, and worth it, in my opinion. Tours are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If your schedule allows it, take the Wednesday tour – it’s more relaxed and you have more time to spend on the points that interest you. If you have a lighthouse aficionado in your world, this would be a terrific holiday adventure. To make reservations visit www.sanluislighthouse.org or call 805-540-5771.
Michele Roest is a biologist, naturalist, and science educator. She has a lifelong interest and love for the natural beauty and cultural history of San Luis Obispo County.