Lighthouse stripes help guide ships around the world

The United States has more than one thousand lights protecting ships and shores. There are the classic lighthouses, light towers, range lights, and pier lights. In the late 19th century, the Lighthouse Board assigned each lighthouse in the U.S. a distinctive color pattern. The paint pattern (horizontal or stripes) is the day-mark and the light sequence of the colors (white, black, red) is the night-mark. This differentiation in day-mark and night-mark helps mariners to recognize the specific lighthouses from others in an area as they sailed along the coast.

For example, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, received its famous black and white spiral pattern in 1873. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. The area around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Hundreds of ships have wrecked in this region because of the convergence the Gulf Stream with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada, making the waters treacherous.

The Bodie Lighthouse, also on the Outer Banks, has a distinctive horizontal pattern of black and white stripes. These markings distinguished it for mariners from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 42 miles away.

Now that you know about the differences in markings keep your eye out for lighthouses as you travel along the coastlines.

OBX Bodie Lighthouse

The Best South Carolina Beaches and Hammocks

I grew up traveling down to Pawley’s Island, SC each year for a week with my family. This wonderful destination is home to beautiful beaches, great surf fishing, and the famous Hammock Shops. As the name implies, this is where you can find the original Pawley’s Island Hammocks. Not only can you buy a hammock to bring home, but you can also watch craftsman weaving the hammocks in an open-air shop.

I am on my third Pawley’s Island hammock. This last one is strung between two trees in a shady spot in my garden. It has happily been there for three straight years spending our snowy winters outside. I had grown up with cotton hammocks, but my last purchase was one made from “duro-cord.” Duro-cord is some kind of blended fiber, and I find it to be softer than the polyester hammock they sell. And, I know from past experience that the all-cotton hammocks do not last very long when left outside in the rain and cold. Since I like to plop down into our hammock at any time of the year, I want one that can stay outside and handle the wear and tear from the elements. Now I have a hammock that I can enjoy all year long, come rain or shine.


What an evening at the beach at Pawley's Island