Gay Head Lighthouse is one of the most iconic landmarks on Martha’s Vineyard. It sits atop the beautiful clay cliffs in the town of Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head) at the western end of the island. It’s probably the most photographed lighthouse on the island, and it’s stunning location makes it a popular spot for wedding photos as well. You’ve probably seen shots of it like this one, which is one of the more common vantage points.
The original wood-framed lighthouse went into service in 1799, and was eventually replaced by the current brick structure in 1854. During the summer it’s open for visitors, but was closed when we were there last weekend, most likely due to some renovations as evidenced by the scaffolding on one side of the tower. The signs were not much of a deterrent, however, as there was easy access around the gate, and no one else around.
Here are two additional shots from up close. The scaffolding obviously takes away from the images, but it was a beautiful sunset, so I thought I’d show them anyway. Even though it’s been done a million times before, I still tried to get the more touristy shot looking toward it from across the cliffs after I got these images. But the sky suddenly clouded over, and left me with a little hope for any more good shots. I hope to be back to try shooting it again soon.