Seeing the Light

How to get inside the ultimate scenic landmarks

GAY HEAD CLIFFS cr Robert SchellhammerPhoto: Robert Schellhammer

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hose picture-postcard lighthouses look pretty from the outside. The secret? You can go inside during the day and at sunset, for the best views on the Vineyard. Three of the island’s five lighthouses, all on the north side—East Chop Light on a cliff 79 feet above the sea in Oak Bluffs, the red-brick Gay Head Light over the dramatic Gay Head cliffs in Aquinnah (our pick as a must see), and the Edgartown Lighthouse—are open for public tours run by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. At Gay Head Light, visitors are allowed into the light chamber, where they can watch the two lights rotate. There are also guided tours to (though not inside) the Cape Poge Lighthouse on Chappaquiddick.

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You can see all the lights at once during the annual Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouse Challenge, which includes transportation to five lighthouses and a “lighthouse passport” book. Really into lighthouses? Buy this book.

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