Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast

Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast is one of the most fascinating, well-written, and well-photographed books about the coast that we’ve seen in a long time. It isn’t specifically about the Pacific Coast Highway, of course, but take a road trip up or down PCH and you’re sure to come upon some of these impressive lighthouses. Some are historic buildings, some are in really striking and dramatic settings, some even have accommodations that you can stay in, and this book is a very entertaining tale that covers the building of them, the history, the science - and the characters that have lived in them.

First Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast

It was interesting to learn that the first Public Works Act in the USA was the Lighthouse Bill of 1789. Lighthouses didn’t come to the west coast until the middle of the 19th century. This was after the US took possession of California from Mexico in 1848 and the subsequent discovery of gold near Sacramento. There was a very real fear of a foreign invasion through the main harbor at San Francisco, so lighthouses were built to help protect the Bay area. The first lighthouse along the Pacific Coast was at Alcatraz, and it was lit on 1st June, 1854. The building of it was accompanied by political scandal, showing that things never change.

The authors (Randy Leffingwell and Pamela Welty) really bring these exciting times alive through their writing. Leffingwell also took the wonderful and very varied photos that make up this handsome paperback coffee-table book that runs to 176 pages. The only criticism we had was that the book would have benefited from a map, showing the lighthouse locations.

Other Aspects of West Coast Lighthouses

The book opens with a fine piece of writing, a vivid description of the excitement and the problems of an urgent repair job on the lighthouse at Cape Flattery. All lighthouse repairs are urgent - those lights have to stay lit. Later in the book the authors explore other aspects in the life of a lighthouse - the lenses, the lights, the fuels they use, the finances of running a lighthouse, even down to the pensions for former lighthouse keepers. They’re all part of the bigger picture of keeping those lighthouses running.

Air Mail Service

So what do lighthouses have to do with the establishment of the US air mail service? The authors, having done their research thoroughly, let us know. The service was set up in 1918, and tragically seven out of the first ten airmail pilots died while doing their work. It’s the facts and human interest stories like this that make Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast such a good read.

Staying in a Lighthouse

For anyone who wants to stay in a lighthouse, a box on page 140 lists those with accommodation options. The Appendix at the back of the book then lists all lighthouses in alphabetical order with a potted history, latitude/longitude, opening hours and driving directions.

To sum up, Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast is a surprisingly lively and enjoyable read, with hundreds of dramatic color photos, and is a fine tribute to these historic west coast buildings.

Buying Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast
Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast is published by Voyageur Press and is available on Amazon USAAmazon UK and worldwide on Amazon and through bookstores. 

Amazon USA

Amazon UK





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Our PCH Hotels Guide

PCH Travel's 2016 guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels

To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.

In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.

We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.

KINDLE EDITION
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.

PAPERBACK EDITION
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide  with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.


We've also published our PCH Hotels Guide as an app in the Apple Store.
You can buy it here and
read about it here.



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