The East Brother Lighthouse quite literally sits on top of an island in the strait that separates San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. The lighthouse began operation in 1874. The original lens was illuminated by a wick filled with whale oil. Later the means of illumination was replaced by a fifth-order Fresnel lens, powered by a 500-watt bulb. The San Francisco Bay area is one of the foggiest places on the coast, so the island lighthouse was also outfitted with a fog horn. The keepers lived on the island with their families and cared for its operation until it became automated in 1969.
The lighthouse is of a unique design. The tower is attached to a two story Victorian style house. There were five other lighthouses built in this design located at various places on the United States coastline, but aside from East Brother only two are still standing. Not far down the coastline from San Francisco near Los Angeles in the San Pedro Bay is one of them, the Point Fermin Lighthouse. The other is on the east coastline in New Jersey called Hereford Light.
The future of the East Brother Lighthouse became uncertain. A fire incident destroyed the island's wharf and boathouse. After it was automated, the keepers were no longer needed. The Victorian style house sat neglected and void of life. The government wanted to tear it down. Thanks to local residents who saw value in the past and the necessity to preserve its heritage, an outcry arose protesting its demolition. The Victorian house and other buildings were saved and steps were taken to restore it, not just to its former glory, but into a place where all who want to experience the wonder of a lighthouse with a beautiful vista for a magnifacent backdrop can do so.
|Two Sisters Room|
The East Brother Lighthouse is now an island bed and breakfast. There are five available rooms. Four of the rooms are in the lighthouse itself and the fifth is in the original Fog signal Building. The rooms are beautifully appointed and each has its own stunning view of the Bay area and surrounding landscape or seascape, whichever you prefer. Your stay includes champagne and hors d’oeuvres upon arrival, a multi-course dinner with wine and a full gourmet breakfast the next morning. If you would like the warmth and romantic atmosphere a fireplace provides, the Two sisters Room would be your likely choice, if you seek more privacy, the Walter's Quarters in the Fog Signal Building 100 feet from the lighthouse, closest to the water. Prices are $355 to $415 per night.
The island is a ten minute boat ride from the mainland. It is 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco. Once on the island, you will be treated to spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, Mount Tamalpais, and the Marin coastline. Your senses will be immersed and soothed by the smell of the bay, the sound of the lapping water on the rocky outcrops, and your imagination can take flight or stay put, its all the same either way, nostalgic and reinvigorating. You will find out why San Francisco has been the top rated destination for many years among travelers. That is, until Charleston recently took the top spot. East Brother Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast reviews. Reservations 510-233-2385.
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