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West Point -
Renovations are nearing completion at one of West Prince's most recognizable tourist attractions.
The inn at the West Point Lighthouse has been enlarged and extensively renovated. Over at the harbour, the West Point Harbourside Centre has been enlarged to accommodate the restaurant which used to be in the lighthouse. As well, the Lighthouse Guild Craft Shop has been relocated from beside the lighthouse over to property across the road from the Harbourside Centre.
It was time for a major overhaul, admits Bruce Smallman, chair of the West Point Development Corporation, owners of the lighthouse and Harbourside properties.
"Basically, it's almost like a rebirth," he said. "If we hadn't done it we wouldn't be open."
The development corporation opened Canada's first inn in a lighthouse in 1984.
In the renovated inn, the rooms are much larger and they all face the water. The central corridor has been replaced with one along the back wall. All rooms have a private deck. Naturally, the tower room, located right in the lighthouse tower, hasn't changed in size.
The Tower Room and Keepers Quarters are consider part of the lighthouse museum, but are available for overnight guests.
Including one room upstairs at the Harbourside Centre, the corporation now has 13 rooms available for overnight guests, up from nine prior to renovations.
Smallman said the corporation is hoping most of the renovations will be completed by mid-July, in time for Lighthouse Festival Days. All but one of the guest rooms are now open.
The two-level restaurant, to be known as The Point, is expected to open the first week of July. The craft shop has opened for the season.
"We're hoping this will be something totally new and different," Smallman said in describing the corporation's vision for the complex.
The corporation will be seeking to have its facilities rated once work is completed, and Smallman expressed optimism the attraction will be able to rate four and a half stars.
There is still some work to do to tie everything together, like completing a walkway from the lighthouse to the Harbourside Centre. Most of it will be in the form of a boardwalk, and about 50 per cent of it is complete. A short section of the walk will be through the sand along the beach.
Lighthouse manager Shirley Phillips said bookings are on par for 2010 with last year.
The Journal Pioneer
WEST POINT — West Point’s heart doesn’t beat; it beacons.
Built in 1875 and first lit in May, 1876, West Point Lighthouse continues to serve as a navigational aid, alerting mariners they are coming close to Prince Edward Island’s western shore.
But this landmark is so much more now. Any trip to West Point, by vehicle, boat or along its sandy shore, is deserving of a stopover at this proud landmark.
It’s a place to eat and sleep, a place to find unique crafts and to learn about the community’s history and legends. The lighthouse, as depicted in the Journal Pioneer’s masthead, is a source of pride for the residents of this fishing and farming community.
The tapered tower — the tallest of that design in P.E.I. — is maintained as a museum. There’s a bedroom on one level, reminiscent of the first 88 years before electrification when it was necessary to employ light keepers. Only two people served in that capacity in West Point.
Since 1983 the West Point Development Corporation has been operating the lighthouse as a tourist attraction. Attached to the distinctive tower are eight more guest rooms and a
65-seat dining room. A craft shop operates next door.
At 20.6 metres, the tower, with its distinctive black bands on the three sides facing the water, is the tallest structure along the coast. It is, however, dwarfed by the 80-metre towers in the nearby West Cape wind farm.
This wind farm is still growing; some of the towers haven’t been completed. A trip to West Point and area this summer or fall might find huge cranes at work fitting the tops in place.
Situated next to the lighthouse is Cedar Dunes Provincial Park and Campground, and just up the shore is West Point Harbour where another development corporation property, the West Point Harbourside Centre, is located.
It offers a convenience store, public laundry facilities, community centre and an upstairs guestroom overlooking the harbour.
By water, West Point is just 19 kilometres from New Brunswick, making it an ideal location for boaters to gather. A unique lighthouse points the way.