Help Save the Gay Head Lighthouse!

Gay Head Lighthouse at sunset

The Gay Head Lighthouse, an island treasure with a long and rich history, is at risk. Standing just 46 feet (Aug ’13) from an eroding cliff, it was recently designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and geological experts advise it should be moved within the next year.

The Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee needs your support in helping us save this iconic structure and working navigational beacon, which has been shining out from the picturesque cliffs of the western most tip of Martha’s Vineyard since 1856.  The light has guided mariners and fishermen from all over the globe safely past the cliffs of Gay Head and the Devil’s Bridge below. Its red and white sweeping beam connects us to this place and the sea beyond.

Your donation will help fund the move and restoration of the Gay Head Lighthouse to a location and condition that will sustain it for many generations. The fundraising goal for this project is $3,000,000.  Donations of any amount are important and greatly appreciated. A special fund has been established exclusively for this project through the Town of Aquinnah and all gifts are tax-deductible. We are racing against time.

With your help, the Gay Head Light will KEEP ON SHINING! Click here to find out more.

Photograph by Katherine Gendreau Photography

Art for a Cause at Gay Head Gallery

Ocean-inspired artwork draws crowd of admirers

Upon walking into the Gay Head Gallery, guests are immediately cast into stormy seas.

Greenland 45, a large charcoal painting by Zaria Forman portraying an ominous sky on the verge of exploding with rain, hangs at eye level directly across from the front door. Surrounding it are paintings and photographs with names like Storm Cloud by Peggy Roth Major and Storm Warning on George’s Bank by Mark Lovewell.

Paintings by John Nickerson Athearn help the cause. — Ivy Ashe

These works, and many more, make up the gallery’s latest exhibit, Keep the Lighthouse in Sight, benefiting the Gay Head Lighthouse relocation. When visitors walk into the gallery, they are immediately reminded of the vital purpose the lighthouse has performed, ushering ships safely through hazardous days and nights at sea.

Since the Gay Head Gallery re-opened in 2011, it has continually partnered with local nonprofits to help raise money to preserve the Island and promote environmental stewardship. While most of the organizations that the gallery has supported in the past have focused on environmental issues, the gallery’s owner, Megan Ottens-Sargent, was eager to help the

Continue reading Art for a Cause at Gay Head Gallery – MV Gazette

Kayaking for a Cause Helps Raise Money for Lighthouse - MV Gazette

Dana Gaines will kayak around the perimeter of Island for the Gay Head Light.

Dana Gaines will kayak around the perimeter of Island for the Gay Head Light.

Dana Gaines doesn’t just talk the talk, or even walk the walk when he says he wants to save the Gay Head Lighthouse. He heads to the sea.

On August 9 Mr. Gaines plans to kayak around the entirety of the Vineyard, weather permitting, to raise money for the relocation efforts of the lighthouse.

Mr. Gaines has circled the Island once before with two friends. He is also no stranger to kayaking for a cause, having recently raised $18,000 for diabetes research by paddling to Nantucket.

The course Mr. Gaines is taking this time around is shorter, but more difficult. His biggest concern is the wind.

“I’m going to have to paddle into the wind the last third of it at least, when I’m most tired,” he said. “So even though it’s three miles shorter, it’s going to be a harder course.” Still, he plans on trying to beat his last time.

Along with the wind, Mr. Gaines will be battling low blood sugar, as he is a type 1 diabetic. He

Continue reading Kayaking for a Cause Helps Raise Money for Lighthouse – MV Gazette

Vineyarders want to relocate historic lighthouse– Boston Globe

By Peter Schworm | GLOBE STAFF JULY 16, 2014

For more than 150 years, Gay Head Light has stood high atop the cliffs of Martha’s Vineyard, its guiding light sweeping out to sea. But time has steadily chipped away the clay bluffs, threatening to send the iconic landmark to a watery demise.

Now, residents are racing against the clock to save the historic lighthouse, seeking to move the 400-ton structure to safer ground.

On Tuesday, selectmen in the town of Aquinnah approved a new location 150 feet away, a meadow that would allow the lighthouse to retain its current height. A group working to preserve the 1856 lighthouse has raised more than half of the $3 million needed, bolstered by contributions from the island’s six towns.

“It’s a shared heritage for all of us,” said Len Butler of the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse committee.

The money will also finance an extensive renovation of the lighthouse.

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Site Chosen For Relocating Gay Head Lighthouse - MV Gazette


The future home of the Gay Head Light in Aquinnah will be about 140 feet inland from the westernmost tip of the Island.

The Gay Head Lighthouse advisory committee has been working since early last year to explore options for relocating and restoring the historic lighthouse, which now stands about 50 feet from the cliff.

Members have spent the last two months studying alternative sites in the general area of the lighthouse. On Tuesday, committee member Len Butler presented the results to the Aquinnah selectmen, who unanimously approved the committee’s recommendation.

Two of the sites were eliminated early on, since they did not meet the Coast Guard’s requirement that the lighthouse be high enough to serve as a navigational beacon. A site near the shops and restaurants on Aquinnah Circle was also eliminated, since it would not have allowed for a public space surrounding the light.

The chosen site is on property that was purchased by the town this year using Community Preservation Act funds. It is slightly lower in elevation than the current site, but will be raised to accommodate for the difference.

“This maintains the same orientation in terms of the Circle, so that it doesn’t

Continue reading Site Chosen For Relocating Gay Head Lighthouse – MV Gazette

Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee Announces Benefit Tennis Tournament

The Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee has opened registration for the Save the Gay Head Light Tennis Tournament, July 19 and 20 at the Chilmark Community Center with play starting each day at noon. There will be prizes awarded to the winners of each division, and each doubles team is guaranteed to play at least two matches.

Divisions for the tournament include women’s doubles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and kids doubles (13 years and under). Players interested in the tournament who do not have a partner are encouraged to sign up. The tennis pros at Chilmark Community center will match any single registrants with a partner.

The tournament will include a restaurant raffle, and Gay Head Lighthouse t-shirts will be on sale.

There is a registration fee of $100 per player for adults and $50 per player for children to benefit the restoration and relocation of the Gay Head Lighthouse. Those interested can register online at the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse website or at the Chilmark Community Center tennis shack. Registration will close Friday, July 18.

Lighthouse Poetry Book Coming Soon


The Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee will soon release a limited edition (50) hand printed, hand bound book of poetry inspired by the lighthouse entitled “Legacy of Light”.

“We started the Gay Head Lighthouse Poetry Project as a way to let islanders and visitors express how they feel about the lighthouse,” said publisher and bookbinder Mitzi Pratt. “We’ve had so many excellent submissions that it’s taking longer than anticipated to do the editing, printing, and binding but it’s in the works.”

A soft-cover edition of the poetry book will also be available for sale at several island locations, and all proceeds from the sale of both will go towards funding the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse relocation project.