East Brother Light Station (510) 233-2385. 5 rooms; 3 stories. Open Thur-Sun. Unsuitable for children under 18. Some shared bathrooms. Evening snack, dinner, & full breakfast included. No smoking; no pets.
After driving down a road that resembles parts of the twisty road to Hana (we saw a huge herd of goats cleaning up the hillside shrubs), guests enjoy a 20-minute, quarter-mile boat ride over to this still-operating circa 1874 Victorian lighthouse. Then, having escaped the real world of TVs and radios, there's really not a lot to do on the 1-acre island that surprisingly is mostly paved over with concrete. Most visitors just take it easy and sit around and exclaim over the magnificent views or try their skill at solving the game puzzle that permits access to a bottle of wine. One room is inside the old fog signal building (it is the least expensive and most private) and four are in the keeper’s house that is part of the lighthouse. An elegant, four-course California-French dinner served with wine is prepared by the innkeepers--who between them also act as waiter, dishwasher, and boat captain--and a full sit-down breakfast is served at a long dining table in the morning. Note that October through April an automated foghorn sounds every 20 seconds around the clock. Earplugs and plenty of wine are provided. Because of a water shortage—the island collects and filters rainwater in the original 70,000-gallon cistern—only guests who stay two or more nights are permitted a shower. The light itself is now a modified Frenel lens with no moving parts and LED light.
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image and videos ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers