JOIN US at the
PORT BOCA GRANDE
LIGHTHOUSE & MUSEUM
FLORIDA LIGHTHOUSE ASSOCIATION
MAY 20 - 21, 2022
Registration Closes May 6, 2022 (In-Person)
May 13, 2022 (Virtual)
Join us at the Florida Lighthouse Association’s spring membership event at the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum and explore firsthand the fascinating history of two magnificent sentinels—Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Gasparilla Island Lighthouse. Members have the option of attending this event in person or virtually via Zoom.
Did you know that the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse…..
- Is the oldest building on Gasparilla Island and in 1980 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Marks the entry into Charlotte Harbor from the Gulf of Mexico, and has seen service in guiding cattle ships going from Charlotte Harbor to Cuba and oceangoing ships from more than 20 countries traveling to Boca Grande to load phosphate, a valuable commodity worldwide for making fertilizer.
- Keepers have played host to millionaires like John D. Rockefeller and John Jacob Astor, who came to Boca Grande in their yachts to fish for the mighty tarpon.
- Came close to total destruction. The 44’ tower, with its 375 mm 5th Order drum lens, sits atop a cottage-style dwelling and is open to the public today through the remarkable efforts of Barrier Island Parks Society, the Boca Grande community, Florida Park Service, and local businesses working together to preserve an important piece of Florida history. The Lighthouse has 60 steps.
- Was built in 1890 on Gasparilla Island, which is associated with Jose Gaspar, a mythical Spanish pirate in the early 1800s. Although regarded by modern historians to never have existed, his supposed exploits have loomed large in Florida folklore for over a century.
- The Lighthouse was decommissioned for 20 years from 1966-1986 and reportedly, hippies would break in and have wild parties inside.
- Has survived at least 14 hurricanes, a fire that burned down a washhouse just a few feet away, and severe beach erosion.
Did you know that the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse…..
- Is one of only a handful of lighthouses that have had active service in 2 states. The 105’ iron skeleton tower was built in 1881 by the Phoenix Iron Company of Trenton, NJ and began service just north of Lewes, Delaware, as the Delaware Breakwater Rear Range Light or Green Hill Light. In 1927, the Lighthouse was reassembled and installed on Gasparilla Island just south of the town of Boca Grande by the U.S. Lighthouse Service. It has 134 steps including the ladder.
- Was used to guide ships into Port Boca Grande. When the ship lined up the rear range light on land with the front range beacon in the water (NOT the cottage-style lighthouse), it is in the middle of the channel and then the harbor pilot could safely navigate it to port. The range is no longer in operation. It was renamed as a lighthouse and is now operated as a private-aid-to-navigation.
- Was never manned but was maintained by the keepers of the Port Boca Grande Light Station.
- Was first lighted in 1932 to help guide phosphate ships safely into the Boca Grande Navigation Channel to Port Boca Grande. The Lighthouse was in its heyday from 1947 – 1975, guiding ships from all over the world to inside Charlotte Harbor. This also helped Florida’s hard-pressed economy during the Great Depression by guiding freighters carrying Florida phosphates to chemical plants along the Mississippi.
- Underwent a major restoration in 2016-2017 and was relighted in 2019 with a replica fourth order Fresnel lens. In 2018, Barrier Island Parks Society, BIPS, was awarded the prestigious Florida Trust Award for Outstanding Performance in the field of Restoration and Rehabilitation.
- Provides the best view in Boca Grande—you can actually see the entire island!
In addition to the two lighthouses and the Lighthouse Museum, there are many reasons why it’s worth visiting the island of Boca Grande, population 1,700, and exploring its offerings. It preserves an Old Florida world. Some of the must-see stops on your visit should include:
- Downtown is fun to explore because so many historic churches, stores, and homes have not only been preserved, but prettified to postcard perfection. You will find gift shops, boutiques, and cafes.
- Gasparilla Inn. Its past and current visitors are a who’s who and it is frequently ranked one of the best golf resorts in the world.
- Historic Whidden’s Marina. It’s a Florida cracker style marina at the end of 1st Street at Charlotte Harbor. Founded in 1925, it is still run by the Whidden family and it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, there is a small maritime museum, a jumble of fishing tackle and motors that was visited a few years ago by the History Channel’s American Pickers.
Port Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island Lighthouses’ hours:
1. Friday, May 20, before FLA's social at 7 pm, EDT:
a. Port Boca Grande: 11 am EDT until 4 pm EDT; tower closed.
b. Gasparilla Island: Tower closed, but walking trails are open.
2. Friday, May 20, FLA's social at 7 pm, EDT:
a. Port Boca Grande: 7 pm EDT until 9 pm EDT; tower will be open for private FLA climb.
3. Saturday, May 21:
a. Port Boca Grande: 11 am EDT until 4 pm EDT
b. Gasparilla Island: 1pm EDT until 4pm EDT; tower will be open for private FLA climb.
The events will begin on Friday, May 20, 2022, at the Amory Memorial Chapel, 880 Belcher Road, Boca Grande, FL, with the committee meetings at 4:00 pm EDT and the Board meeting at 5:00 pm EDT. Immediately following at 7:00 pm EDT will be a social at the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, which is next to the Chapel. Appetizers, dessert, wine, beer, soda, and water will be served. Appetizers and dessert are generously provided by Barrier Island Parks Society. You will have an opportunity to enjoy a private lighthouse climb at sunset and explore its museum.
On Saturday, the membership meeting will begin at 9:30 am EDT at the Louise Dupont Crowninshield Community House, 240 Banyan St., Boca Grande, FL., which is approximately 3/4 mile from Gasparilla Island Lighthouse and 2 ½ miles from the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. A buffet lunch will be served at 11:30 am EDT.
After lunch, we will drive to the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse, 220 Gulf Boulevard, Boca Grande, FL, where we can climb the 134 steps including the 12 ladder steps at the very end. The two lighthouses will be open for visiting and Gasparilla Island Lighthouse will be open for climbing all afternoon on Saturday.
Both lighthouses, Crowninshield Community House, and the town of Boca Grande are located on Gasparilla Island. To get to the Island, take the Boca Grande Causeway in Placida near the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. It’s a picturesque drive. However, the round-trip toll is $6 for cars and pick-up trucks and $5.50/axle for campers, RVs, and trailers. Only payments accepted are cash, credit card, and Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority toll pass. Sun Pass is not accepted.
Masks are not required at the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum and the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse. However, because spaces in the lighthouses and museum are small, lighthouse staff welcome anyone to wear a mask if they desire to do so. The lighthouse areas offer hand sanitizer stations and free masks and staff encourage social distancing wherever possible.
Friday/Saturday (weekend) Fee: Includes the Friday night social and evening climb of the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. The Saturday membership meeting, buffet lunch, the lighthouse climbs on Saturday of the Port Boca Grande and the Gasparilla Island Lighthouses, and a donation to the Barrier Island Parks Society.
Friday Only Fee: Includes the Friday night social and evening climb of the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and a donation to the Barrier Island Parks Society.
Saturday Only Fee: Includes the Saturday membership meeting, buffet lunch, the lighthouse climbs on Saturday of the Port Boca Grande and the Gasparilla Island Lighthouses, and a donation to the Barrier Island Parks Society.
Note: Due to pandemic-related supply chain food and worker shortages, FLA's caterers have had to raise their food service prices. As a result, FLA has had to raise its registration rates. FLA appreciates your continued loyalty and support.
1. Current FLA Member
a. Member Friday/Saturday - $114
b. Member Friday Only - $25
c. Member Saturday Only - $108
d. Member + Child Friday/Saturday - $171
e. Member + Child Friday Only - $38
f. Member + Child Saturday Only - $162
2. New FLA Individual Member (prices include a 1-year FLA Individual Membership)
a. New Individual Member Friday/Saturday - $144
b. New Individual Member Friday Only - $55
c. New Individual Member Saturday Only - $138
3. New FLA Family Member (prices include a 1-year FLA Family Membership)
a. New Member Friday/Saturday - $154
b. New Member Friday Only - $65
c. New Family Member Saturday Only - $148
4. Child Under 15
NOTE: You must register and pay for an adult member prior to registering a child.
a. Child Under 15 fee Friday/Saturday - $57
b. Child Under 15 Friday only - $13
c. Child Under 15 Saturday only - $54
Registration and full payment for in-person attendance must be received by May 6. Please specify any dietary restrictions when you register.
5. Virtual Attendance
Members have the option of attending the meeting virtually via Zoom. A link will be provided to registrants before the meeting. The cost for this option will be $12 for members and non-members. Registration and full payment for Virtual attendance must be received by May 13.
Cancellation and Refund Policy: To cancel your meeting registration and receive a full refund, you must submit an e-mail to FLA (Info@FloridaLighthouses.org) by May 6, the registration cut-off date. The refund will be made regardless of the reason.
To cancel your meeting registration after May 6, and receive a partial refund, you must submit an e-mail to FLA (Info@FloridaLighthouses.org) stating that you became ill or describing an emergency that occurred after May 6.
FLA will refund you the registration fee less your pro-rata share for catering, meeting venue, and any transportation costs that it paid to vendors. A full refund will not be granted. FLA is a non-profit organization and must generate sufficient funds to cover the costs that it must pay to its service and product providers after May 6.
Friday: Red, white and blue/Be Patriotic
Saturday: ALL lighthouse attire—Show your LOVE for lighthouses.
(click on address for map location)
Wyvern Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member
101 E Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda FL 33950
Wyvern Hotel is 33 miles from the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and 31 miles from the meeting venue, Louise Dupont Crowninshield Community House
Room rate $159 (1 king bed).
MUST CALL THE HOTEL AND REQUEST SPECIAL FLA RATE.
Based on availability, group rate will be available to FLA members 1 day before the blocked dates—Arrival May 20, Departure May 22.) If assistance is needed concerning the 1 day before special FLA rate, please call Amber Bistarkey, Sales and Events, Wyvern Hotel, press 3 after you call the hotel.
Cutoff Date: 3:00 pm EDT, April 20, 2022
Hampton Inn/Port Charlotte
24480 Sandhill Blvd, Punta Gorda FL 33983
Hampton Inn is 32 miles from the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and 30 miles from the meeting venue, Louise Dupont Crowninshield Community House.
Room rate $149 (2 queen beds or 1 king bed. Includes free hot breakfast. Diners must wear gloves while in the buffet service area. Glove dispensers are conveniently located at the entrance to the service area.
MUST CALL THE HAMPTON INN PHONE NUMBER LISTED ABOVE AND REQUEST SPECIAL FLA RATE.
Based on availability, group rate will be available to FLA members 1 day before and 1 day after the blocked dates—Arr. May 20, Departure May 22.)
Cutoff Date: April 20, 2022
Springhill Suites By Marriott/Punta Gorda Harborside
101 Harborside Avenue, Punta Gorda Fl 33950
Springhill Suites is 32 miles from the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and 30 miles from the meeting venue, Louise Dupont Crowninshield Community House
Room rate $159 (1 king bed or 2 queen beds. Includes complimentary buffet breakfast.
MUST CALL THE HOTEL AND REQUEST SPECIAL FLA RATE. Noise policy in effect. Inquire with hotel re: details.)
April 22, 2022 EXTENDED UNTIL SOLD OUT!!!
Four Points by Sheraton/Punta Gorda Harborside
33 Tamiami Trail , Punta Gorda FL 33950
Four Points is 32 miles from the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and 30 miles from the meeting venue, Louise Dupont Crowninshield Community House.
Room Rate $119 (2 queen beds)
MUST CALL THE HOTEL DIRECT AND REQUEST SPECIAL FLA RATE)
Cut-Off date: April 29, 2022
Comfort Inn & Suites/Port Charlotte-Punta Gorda
812 Kings Highway Port Charlotte FL 33980
Comfort Inn & Suites is 32 miles from the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and 30 miles from the meeting venue, the Louise Dupont Crowninshield Community House.
Room Rate $129 (2 queen beds: $149: 1 king bed; $169: 1 king suite) Includes free hot breakfast.
MUST CALL HOTEL DIRECTLY AND REQUEST SPECIAL FLA RATE.
Based on availability, group rate will be available to FLA members 2 days before and 2 days after the blocked dates—Arr. May 20, Departure May 22. )
Cut-off date: May 2, 2022