Lighthouse Keeper: The New Dream Job

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The email got me dreaming: Seattle mag writer Joe Follansbee sent word that his new book, the Fyddeye Guide to America’s Lighthouses, is now available. Joe, a consummate storyteller and maritime expert, has a boundless enthusiasm for these beautiful and historic beacons, as do I, after a weird and wonderful week I spent living in one as a "lighthouse keeper" a few years back.

I’ve never known a week like it. Eight of us loaded up a Suburban with seven days’ worth of supplies—because once you make the low-tide careen across the shifting sands in the custom-outfitted truck, there’s no going back until pickup time, a week later. No car, no grocery store, no errands.

Spending a week stranded at the end of Dungeness Spit near Sequim might sound like hell to some—especially when you factor in that this is a working vacation (mow the lawn, hoist the flag, polish the brass, give tours to the intrepid souls who make the 5-mile trek down the longest natural sand spit in the U.S.) and given that I paid to be there. But the gorgeous keeper’s house is packed with amenities (satellite TV, WiFi, etc.). And those sunrises—complete with cavorting seals—and the solitary walks on the beach…well, I would go back there today, if I’d thought to get a reservation in last year!

Must join New Dungeness Lighthouse Association to be a keeper; $35/year. Week’s stay is $275–$350/adult. Book well in advance; newdungenesslighthouse.com.

 

 

A Lovely Fall Road Trip to Moscow, Idaho

A Lovely Fall Road Trip to Moscow, Idaho

Plan a weekend getaway to this small town full of craft beer and changing leaves
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Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the multi-hued leaf display at the University of Idaho Arboretum

Where: Moscow, Idaho, a small town just east of Pullman and a five-hour drive east of Seattle.

Why: It’s a college town, the leaves are changing and there are regional craft beers. Need we say more? Yes? Well then, to enjoy the serenity of The Palouse and a Seattle-like culture, complete with bicycle enthusiasts, Chaco wearers and trendy spots for quick bites—such as Maialina Pizzeria Napoletana (602 S Main St.; 208.882.2694; maialinapizzeria.com) and Sisters Cookie Company (610 N Almon St.; 208.892.2253; sisterscookiecompany.com), which opened last summer.

Stop and see: Nearby Palouse Falls State Park (Palouse Falls Road, LaCrosse, Washington; wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/palouse-falls). The waterfall here is the lone remnant of glacial floods from the last ice age. (Tip: A sunset picture allows for the most magical of scenes for your Instagram feed.) Explore: The Moscow Farmers Market (Saturdays through October 29, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.), located downtown, features music and, on October 1, the University of Idaho Homecoming Parade.

Walk the town and peruse the local shops, then head to the University of Idaho Arboretum, a five-minute drive from downtown Moscow, to witness the autumn foliage of the groves’ rare trees. Indulge: Tapped (210 S Main St.; 208.596.4422; moscowtapped.com), a local gastropub featuring 25 regional craft beers and 10 wines. At your own risk: Visit Haunted Palouse in the town of Palouse (9 miles from Moscow), which features two haunted houses and haunted hay rides (through October, dates and times vary; 509.330.0353; visitpalouse.com/haunted-palouse).