You know how it is when, after years and years of blissful ignorance, you find out about something cool and you just want to tell everyone about it? That's how it is with me and East Brother Light Station.
The next time you're headed over the San Rafael Bridge to Marin, look off to the right (not if you're the driver!) and you'll see a tiny island with a lovely Victorian house on it. There is history there. On top of that house is a still-functioning light that helps mariners navigate the narrow San Pablo Strait connecting San Pablo and San Francisco bays. The lighthouse was built in 1873, automated in the 1960s, and saved as a historic place in 1971. You can read the whole story here.
A group of dedicated and hard-working folks formed a non-profit in 1979 to make sure that the house and the history on the island are not lost. They transformed the main building into a bed-and-breakfast inn to generate money to pay for the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the buildings and equipment. An overnight stay includes a short boat ride to the island, a tour and demonstration of the old diaphone foghorn, a gourmet dinner, a hearty breakfast, and the chance to truly get away from it all. Visitors are free to climb the winding stairs up to the light tower, and take in the breathtaking views from the tower perimeter walkway. All that, and you're helping preserve this little gem of a historic landmark.
Once a month a group of volunteers, affectionately known as "Wickies", head to the island for a work day of painting, gardening, machine maintenance, and whatever else needs to be tended to. There is always something. If you are interested in lighthouses and have skills to offer, you can find out how to volunteer here.
It's a wonderful place. I thought you should know.