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Bodie Island Lighthouse is now yours to climb

By Gary McCullough
Correspondent

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At age 141 this tall, slender sentinel has never looked better. Bodie Island Lighthouse’s multi-year, multi-million dollar facelift was worth every penny. This guardian of the sea now looks every bit as grand as when built in 1872 – and for the first time ever, the tower is open to the general public for climbing.

Distance

From Charlotte, Bodie Island is approximately 340 miles, about a six-hour drive.

To see and do

April 19 was a historic day for the black-and-white, horizontally striped beacon that has faithfully served as a navigational aid for mariners along the Outer Banks. Over the years, the steps of the Bodie Island lighthouse have been climbed many times by its various caretakers: first, by the lighthouse keepers themselves, actively engaged in its operation; later, by national park rangers and, most recently, by those employed to refurbish the iconic tower and make it structurally sound.

But as of April 19, members of the general public were able to climb these steps for the first time.

Bodie Island Lighthouse, like those at Cape Hatteras and Currituck Beach, will be open seasonally for climbing.

Because of the way the lighthouse’s stairs are constructed, the number of guests able to climb them in any given day will be limited to approximately 350, and only to the top when part of a ranger-led tour. Plan on getting to the visitor center (inside the former lightkeeper’s quarters) early enough in the morning to reserve a spot for one of that day’s tours.

The views? Due east, the Atlantic spills wave after wave along unspoiled, undeveloped Coquina Beach; due south, Oregon Inlet and the William Bonner Bridge are easily spotted landmarks; to the southwest, Pamlico Sound stretches out as far as the eye can see.

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