Essex Heritage Offers Public Access to Bakers Island Light Station for First Time in Seventy Years

rack card for boat tours

June 22, 2015 (Salem, MA) --Essex Heritage, a non-profit providing numerous programs preserving and enhancing Essex County’s historic, natural and cultural sites, has launched a new venture: escorted, guided boat tours aboard landing craft, Naumkeag, to Bakers Island Light Station.  Tours for up to 18 passengers begin in July and last through August.  Located on a private island with no public access, Bakers Island Light Station is only accessible to the public through these tours with Essex Heritage.

Bakers Island is located at the mouth of the harbor in Salem, Massachusetts. A lighthouse was built on the island in 1820–on the site of an even earlier one–to help sailing ships get into Salem Harbor (which was once one of the most famous, richest, and busiest seaports in the United States). This Bakers Island Lighthouse is still in use today–its beacon shines out to sea but with modern day technology, there are no longer any lighthouse keepers needed to keep the light shining. The deed to historic Bakers Island Light Station was transferred on August 27, 2014 from the United States government to Essex Heritage. 

“We are committed to taking care of this property, and also to opening it up for public enjoyment and education,” said Annie C. Harris, Essex Heritage CEO. “But we know we need to balance these objectives with the concerns of the summer community over fire and safety and their love for this place – which is why the light station will not be open to boaters or kayakers to just 'drop-in'. It will only be open for guided tours that Essex Heritage will arrange and manage.”

Boat Trips with Essex Heritage to Bakers Island Light Station Aboard Naumkeag

Essex Heritage will be hosting escorted, guided boat tours aboard landing craft, Naumkeag, to Bakers Island Light Station, for up to 18 passengers, July 1 through September 7 (Labor Day). Bakers Island Light Station is ONLY accessible to the public through these tours with Essex Heritage – and the trip to the light station aboard Naumkeag is sure to be an adventure!

Naumkeag is a large, open boat with a bow front that drops down so passengers can walk directly onto the stone beach (not landing at a dock). After landing, a guide will lead passengers on a tour around the 10-acre light station property. The lighthouse cannot be climbed this summer due to restoration work that will be underway, but passengers can expect to see amazing panoramic views of the coast from Gloucester to Boston!

The trip to the light station will take approximately 2 hours–to get to the island, to go ashore, and to return – and there are some restrictions on who can go: all passengers must be at least 6 years old and capable of negotiating the boat ramp and the rugged island terrain without any assistance. There is more information about “What You Need to Know Before You Go” on Essex Heritage’s website: www.EssexHeritage.org/boat

Boat Tour Schedule and Tickets

Naumkeag goes to Bakers Island Light Station 5 days a week, 3 times a day, from July 1 through September 7. The tour is two-hours long, offered Wednesday through Sunday, departure times at 11 AM, 2 PM and 4:30 PM. Departures will leave from the Salem Ferry dock (at 10 Blaney Street, Salem MA, 01970).

Tickets cost $35 for adults; $32 for ages 6-18 years-old. Tickets are available for purchase online, and at the National Park Service Visitor Center (2 New Liberty St, Salem).

Visit www.EssexHeritage.org/Bakers to learn more about Bakers Island Light Station.