b A visit to Swallowtail
Grand Manan Island is accessible by a toll ferry www.coastaltransport.ca, private or charter airplane or private vessel. The island has many amenities and a day trip or a longer stay are possible. The Grand Manan Island tourism site, www.grandmanannb.com, is a great resource for details about travel to, things to do, and where to stay.
Swallow Tail lighthouse was the third of nine lighthouses or fog stations built in the Grand Manan archipelago, and is a rare, original pre-Confederation wooden light tower first lit in 1860.
Swallowtail Keepers Society, a registered charity, has a long term lease with the Village of Grand Manan to operate the light station. The Canadian Coast Guard still maintains the light and fog alarm.
Swallow Tail peninsula has a spectacular marine vista with 30+ m (100’+) cliffs, amazing sun and moonrises, unique geology, active herring fishing weirs and marine life including whales, seals, seabirds and even sharks. It is also a stopover for migrating songbirds. The lighthouse is an icon for the island and is one of those “must-see” attractions. The ferry passes the peninsula and will afford you the first glimpse of the classic wooden octagon lighthouse and rocky peninsula.
Enjoy the views, visit the restored lighthouse in the summer and learn more about the light keeping history of the area, take a self-guided tour of the property (possible year round), stop into our little gift shop or plan a creative enterprise to live on site. Dreamed of being a light keeper? That can also be possible.
b Programs / Activities:
Each July 7th we invite everyone to help us celebrate the anniversary of the first lighting of the lighthouse lamps in 1860. We raise the Canadian flag, have an impromptu concert on the fog bell and open the lighthouse for visitors. The event takes place from 2 until 4 pm. The first Saturday of July is a major fund-raiser for us. We have our Lobster Roll Supper and Musical Extravaganza, with great food and maritime music. Certainly an event to mark on your calendar.
Self-guided walking tour of property – Access is year round.
The property is open year round but the buildings are seasonal. Interpretation panels are conveniently located in a number of spots covering topics related to the property or marine vista. Even if you can’t hike out to the light, there is an observation deck and Welcome Centre overlooking it.
A set of 54 concrete steps takes you down to a wooden footbridge across the Sawpit. You cross from 500 MYA rock to 201 MYA rock and back to the older rock along the route. The gravel path to the lighthouse is ~365 m (1200’) but don’t stop there. The trail leads to the very end of the peninsula where the fog bell used to be situated.
Picnic tables and strategically placed hand made benches can be used at your leisure.
Watch a herring weir being seined, lobster or scallop fishing during their fishing season, the ferry sailing by or whales, harbour porpoises, seals or a variety of seabirds just offshore.
In the winter with ice, snow and wind, the trails may be challenging because they are not regularly maintained at that time.
Exploring off the trails should be done with caution. Most areas are 30 m or 100’ above high water and may have sharp rocky drop offs. Cliff edges may be undermined – approach with caution.
There are a number of geocaches on the peninsula for you to discover.
Please pack out any trash. There is a garbage can in the parking area in the summer.
It is recommended to leave dogs on leash. Please be courteous to others and pick up after them.