Where the Water Never Ends…

Oswego Lighthouse

Take a boat tour to the iconic Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse or participate in Oswego Paddlesfest

By Mary Beth Roach

Oswego Paddlefest. Photo by Duane St. Onge. Courtesy of Oswego County Promotion and Tourism Department.
Oswego Paddlefest. Photo by Duane St. Onge. Courtesy of Oswego County Promotion and Tourism Department.

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum is hosting two programs this season that will give visitors a unique way to see Oswego and its Lake Ontario shoreline.

Boat tours to the iconic Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse and the Oswego Paddlefest both serve to focus on the city and its relationship with its waterways, according to Mercedes Niess, executive director of the museum, located at 1 W. First St. Pier.

Boat tours

The museum is offering pontoon boat tours on Fridays and Saturdays this season for visitors to see first-hand the restoration work that’s been going on at this local landmark.

“People all over the country are saving their lighthouses, and I’m proud to say we’re one of them,” Niess said.

The lighthouse was built in 1934 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. Nine years later, the city of Oswego acquired it from the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2010, the Oswego Lighthouse Development Committee was formed and restoration has been ongoing over the intervening years

The lighthouse has become a symbol of Oswego since it was first created, and it gives a community its identity, Niess said.

The tour boats can accommodate six passengers, and when they reach the structure, volunteers will be on hand to assist with disembarking. Guests can go up into the building and even access the lens tower room.

Those visiting the lighthouse should be able to climb steep stairs. The tour is not recommended for those under the age of 5.

The ride to and from the lighthouse is approximately 15 minutes each way, and the tours run about one hour.

The tours are running from the third week of June through August on Fridays and Saturdays. In September, the tours are only offered on Saturdays. The tours begin at 1:30, with the last tour running at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and include admission to the museum and can be purchased at the museum.

Oswego Paddlefest

Paddlers — get those kayaks, canoes or stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) ready and head to the Oswego River for the annual Oswego Paddlefest, being presented by the H. Lee White Maritime Museum Aug. 17.

Paddlers can launch from Indian Point Park in Fulton and do the approximate 10-mile course to the Oswego Harbor or choose to put in at Riverview Park on Route 48 in Minetto, and follow the river for about four miles to the harbor. Throughout the route, the paddlers will experience several locks, see the area from a completely different perspective and perhaps catch a glimpse of the Brosemer Brewery beer cave near Minetto, where, according to one historical account, beer from the one-time brewery was stored and cooled.

For safety reasons, the Paddlefest is limited to 600 paddlers. Participants are required to wear life jackets. They can leave their kayaks, canoes or SUPS at their chosen launch site, drive their vehicles to Wright’s Landing to park, and take a free shuttle back to Fulton or Minetto to start their adventure.

Early-bird registration is $25 per person by Aug. 7. Regular registration up to the date of the event is $35 per person. Minors are $10 per child, and organizers recommend they be between the ages of 4 and 11, but the event is recommended for people 12 and up. A registration system will be used, but it will not be open until July, or check the museum’s website — www.hleewhitemuseum.com — as the date approaches.

The event will be held, weather permitting. Monies raised support the H. Lee White Maritime Museum and its continuing programs.