More about the super blood moon total lunar eclipse
The silent celestial cogs of the Earth, moon and sun align this month to treat all of North America to a total lunar eclipse, the first show with this reach since September 2015.
For stargazers in north central Florida, the event begins at 9:36 p.m. Jan. 20 as the first delicate slice is taken out of the moon by the Earth’s shadow. The full eclipse begins at 11:41 p.m. as more of the moon is swallowed.
But the peak of the show is at 12:12 a.m. on Jan. 21, as the moon is fully enveloped in a coppery hue — a result of the sun’s rays reaching around Earth and through its thin atmosphere.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, a private nonprofit, is open for guests during the government shutdown. Extended holiday hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through January 1; and regular hours (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) return on January 2. The Museum is open seven days a week. Dark of the Moon Ghost Tours also are available December 26-30 and each Friday through Sunday in 2019. For ticket and tour details, go to staugustinelighthouse.org or call 904-829-0745.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is not government owned. In 1998 the Museum was separately incorporated as a not-for-profit institution with a mission of maritime history, education and community service.
In 1980, the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, Inc., who were then a group of only 16 volunteers, began a fifteen-year campaign to restore the Keepers’ House that was destroyed and gutted by a vandal’s fire. The League went on to restore the lighthouse tower, and with assistance from the United States Coast Guard, they performed the first Fresnel Lens restoration in the world. The lens had been damaged by a vandal’s bullet, and was almost removed, but the entire community stepped in to save this front porch light for the community. A maritime museum was opened to the public part-time in 1988 run by volunteers. In spring 1994, the full site was opened to the public full time.
THINGS TO DO
At the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, climb 219 steps to the top of the 165-foot tower for a breathtaking view of historic downtown St. Augustine, the beaches, and the nation’s oldest port. Discover St. Augustine’s rich maritime history at the site of Florida’s first lighthouse. Explore exhibits in the restored Keepers’ House about the lives of the Lighthouse keepers and their families, and shipwreck discoveries made off the coast of St. Augustine.
Also on site, a WWII US Coast Guard Barracks, Behind the Scenes Tours, a Maritime Hammock Scavenger Hunt, an archaeology lab, and a View from the Top video (for those who don’t climb the Lighthouse) in the Maritime Education Center. For little ones: A shipyard playground and hands-on activities throughout the exhibits and grounds (children less than 44 inches tall can’t climb the tower but get free admission). Don’t forget to shop in the museum store for unique lighthouse and maritime gifts.
Wrecked! The Story of a Revolutionary War Shipwreck
At Home with the Harns: A Look Inside the Home of a Keeper Family
Legends of the Light: Stories from the Lighthouse’s Past
US Coast Guard Barracks from WWII with artwork depicting the US Coast Guard
Maritime Education Center ship models and Spanish Watchtower replica
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Self-Guided St. Augustine Light Station Tour
View from the Top video (for those who don’t climb and those under 44 inches)
Behind the Scenes tour: on the hour from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Heritage Boatworks: Building on Florida’s Maritime Heritage
Northeast Florida Shrimping: Foundation of a Global Enterprise
Maritime Hammock Nature Trails & Scavenger Hunt
Archaeology Conservation Lab & viewing window
Hands-on children’s activities
Gift shop with Lighthouse & Maritime items
For more details about the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, visit staugustinelighthouse.org or call 904-829-0745. Stay updated on social media at facebook.com/staugustinelighthouse, Instagram.com/stauglighthouse, and twitter.com/firstlighthouse
ABOUT THE ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE & MARITIME MUSEUM:
A pivotal navigation tool and unique landmark of St. Augustine for over 140 years, the St. Augustine Light Station is host to centuries of history in the Nation’s Oldest Port®. Through interactive exhibits, guided tours and maritime research, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is on a mission to discover, preserve, present and keep alive the stories of the Nation’s Oldest Port® as symbolized by our working lighthouse. We are the parent organization to the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. (StAugustineLighthouse.org)
About the American Alliance of Museums:
The St. Augustine Lighthouse &
Maritime Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest
national recognition afforded the nation’s museums.The
American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906,
helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing
knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum
community. As the ultimate mark of distinction in the museum field,
accreditation signifies excellence and credibility. Accreditation helps to
ensure the integrity and accessibility of museum collections, and reinforces the education and public
service roles of museums and promote good governance practices and ethical
behavior. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and
volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the
Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. (www.aam-us.org)
The St. Augustine Lighthouse can be spotted all across the city, and not just because the light tower is so tall. All throughout town, the Lighthouse decorates signs and logos for many local businesses, organizations and events.
The Lighthouse shows up everywhere, from the St. Augustine Record to Old City Electric. The tower lights up churches, like Anastasia Baptist Church and the Lighthouse Church of God, and schools like R. B. Hunt Elementary. It illuminates the offices of local businesses—Lighthouse Realty, Leonardi’s Nursery, Jackson Law Group—and practitioners, like Lighthouse Chiropractic, St. Augustine OBGYN and Anastasia Eye Associates. You can even eat under the glow of the Lighthouse at restaurants like Anastasia Diner. The Lighthouse even brightens events, such as the Sing Out Loud Festival and the St. Augustine Songwriters Festival. These are only a handful of the places that use the Lighthouse as their personal beacon of light.
All these lighthouses connect us all to the uniting symbol of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Wherever you go, the Lighthouse is a representation of pride in our home of St. Augustine. Whether it shows up in your name or your logo, the Lighthouse is honored to shine a light in all areas of your life.
BILINGUAL CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS BOOK A GIFT FROM ST. AUGUSTINE ILLUSTRATOR
On Dec 15 and 16 from 1-4 pm, at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Gift Shop, St. Augustine illustrator, Deborah L. Spiller, will be signing and selling copies of the new bilingual edition of SNOWBALL, THE BEAR WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS. With the original illustrations still in place, this larger format softcover edition tells Snowball’s story in English and Spanish and sells for $14.95. Proceeds will benefit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.
The original story was penned by Dr. Jerry Gamache of St. Augustine, to cheer up his wife, Millie Koeger, who had been ill for an extended time. The first edition, illustrated by Ms. Spiller, was released in Oct of 2013, several months after Dr. Gamache passed away from a stroke. Millie saw the hardcover book go on the Christmas market before she passed away in 2014.
Debbie, as she prefers to be called, has been a professional artist for over 45 years and has lived in New Jersey, Venezuela, and Grand Bahama Island before settling in Florida. She earned a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Chamberlayne College in Boston, Mass and sold her first art at the age of 23. A full-time resident of St. Augustine, with her husband Peter, her paintings hang in homes, schools, orphanages, and museums. She’s painted everything from flowerpots, walls, and stair treads to a 100-foot by 14-foot mural in the city of Caracas, Venezuela and the pages of children’s books. She laughingly suggests that no one stand around too long or she may just adorn them with a hand-painted fern or flower.
Her friendship with Dr. Gamache began after an introduction by her husband. Gerry had heard about a children’s book illustrated by Debbie and asked her if she’d consider doing his. After his passing, Ms. Spiller presented Snowball at a variety of venues around the county with the profits all benefiting a local charity from animals to libraries. But, she thought offering it in Spanish was important, too.
The Lighthouse Museum and Gift Shop are open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM daily. For more information about the Lighthouse signing and gift shop, contact Sam Andrews at 904-829-0745. For more information or to contact Debbie Spiller, visit her website at DeborahLSpillerArt.com
The first thing I noticed about the Dark of the Moon Tourwas that it was, indeed, very dark. The chill in the air may have been due to the setting sun or the spookiness of Halloween night. The Museum grounds, usually bright with sunlight, faded into the shadows of the trees which hovered around it. The only true source of light appeared in the beacon of its namesake: The Lighthouse.
After receiving my tickets, I rented an EMF meter to sense the electromagnetic fluctuations caused by any ghosts, mostly because I knew my best friend would glare at me all night if I didn’t.
The occasion of the evening only became more apparent as we stood outside of the Museum gift shop, waiting to be led on our spooky journey. Halloween shirts and costumes popped up sporadically in a few of the more festive guests. Promptly at 7:30 pm, our party was escorted to the base of the tower, where we learned the rules for the evening and split into groups. My group entered the Lighthouse first. We stood at the bottom of the tower and listened to the stories of ghosts seen in the past, especially the mysterious Shadow Figure who has been seen peering over the railing down at guests.
Perhaps the scariest moment of the evening came as we huffed our way up the 219 steps to the top of the Lighthouse. The exercise of it was frightening enough, but on top of that, the entire tower was shrouded in darkness, save for the few lanterns dangling along the way. Silhouetted figures painted on the walls of each landing invoked images of the Shadow Figure we’d just been told about.
Despite the fear and the height, everyone made it to the top and embraced the whipping chill of the wind. All of St. Augustine stretched below, hundreds of tiny lights peppering the ground. It was almost beautiful enough to make me forget the ghost story I was standing on.
Once the heat of the climb wore off and the wind became more chilling than relieving, the group made its way back down to the ground. Our guide led us around to the side of the Lighthouse, where she detailed the haunting tale of one Lightkeeper’s plummet from the original tower.
After catching our breath, we journeyed to the Keepers’ House. Stories of fatal accidents and irritable Lightkeepers filled the darkness. Each floor held new secrets about the history of the Keepers’ House. We ended in the basement, where we were released to explore on our own for the rest of the night.
The basement had the most activity of the evening. One man sat in one of the resident ghost’s favorite chairs. As the guest spoke to the room, EMF meters began lighting up red around his shoulders, indicating some paranormal activity. The more we spoke and scanned the room, the more lights lit up, travelling behind the chairs to the back of the room. Upstairs, we explored an area called the Shadow Room, where the energy of the room intensified as soon as we entered. My friend heard beeping in the corner as we searched the room for signs of ghostly activity.
The tour ended at 9:30 p.m., sending us back into the world to reflect on our supernatural experiences. Even with the Lighthouse looming behind us, we carried the eeriness with us into the festive evening. The tour might have been even spookier because of Halloween, but it was also even more fun because of it. As our guide told us, the Museum is “not a haunted house, just haunted.” And on Halloween, when the spiritual veil is said to be thinnest, it’s always possible the ghosts will make a special appearance, just for you.