Restored Bodie Island Lighthouse beckons to tourists

Posted April 12, 2013 4:40 p.m. EDT
Updated April 12, 2013 7:05 p.m. EDT

— The Bodie Island Lighthouse has stood guard on the North Carolina coast since 1872, and it remains an active navigation tool. After three years of repair-demanded darkness, the light will blink on April 19 and for the first time tourists will be invited to climb the 214 steps to the top.

Historian Ken Mann has been chronicling the restoration of decades of damage.

Mann, who can see the lighthouse from his home, has a historical personal connection.

"My roots go back to when the local people worked here as keepers and assistant keepers," he said. "I was really sad to see it had been allowed to fall in to this state of disrepair."

He got to know those working on the project and was reassured they shared his love for the lighthouse.

"There's no doubt it was a labor of love. The folks doing the work really poured their hearts in to it," he said.

Visitor Nancy Strole said she was looking forward to adding a trip to the top of the Bodie Island light to her list.

"We spent one whole summer traveling and spent most of our time in Newfoundland where that have lots of lighthouses," she said.

Now she and others have the opportunity to climb the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

"This is a beautiful lighthouse," Strole said. "It's really very, very cool."

Guided tours will run daily from 9 a.m. to nearly 6 p.m. and cost $8 for adults. Seniors and children will be $4.

"I expect the Bodie Island Lighthouse will be more popular than even the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse," Mann predicted.