Six tourists, two people from a non-profit organization, one insurance agent, four contractors, and a mild-mannered journalist hop on a boat. The destination? Execution Rocks Lighthouse, just a short boat ride from the . The trip to this historic stock prompted interesting reactions.
“This is the only lighthouse where, if you [a Coast Guard officer] didn’t want to stay there, you could petition to be stationed elsewhere, and I guess that’s because of the ghost stories,” said Linell Lukesh, the treasurer of Historically Significant Structures, Inc., which oversees Execution Rocks.
Indeed, the ghost stories drew in Grayce Castellano and her daughter Ricki Gardner, from Huntington. After seeing an episode about Execution Rocks on the television show Ghost Adventures, they decided to visit.
There seems to be no shortage of stories of real-life killers and alleged supernatural hauntings.
Referring to a murderer from more than 60 years ago, Craig Morrison, the president of Historically Significant Structures, reassured his guests: “He didn’t dump the bodies on our island. He dumped them around our island.”
Castellano was visiting Execution Rocks because of her interest in Long Island’s past. “This is such a historically relevant area,” Castellano said, who went on to recommend exploring the fascinating old archives in the public library.
For others, the Execution Rocks Lighthouse has sentimental value as a landmark.
“My grandparents live in Port Washington, and my aunt came to Execution Rocks last year," said Michael Finnerly. "My grandma read about it in the newspaper, and took my brother and sister here for their birthdays. Growing up around here, we sailed around it from Manhasset Bay, and it was fun."
Finnerly added, “What Craig is doing and the vision that they have for the lighthouse island far exceeds my expectations. This is just one that’s iconic, one that everyone recognizes.”
This lighthouse, and the various Long Island historic landmarks in general, is an attraction for tourists and residents.
“We’ve had people from around the world to go here to see the lighthouses, because there are so many concentrated in one area,” said Captain Matt Meyran of Port Washington Water Taxi.
Still, on this particular journey, some participants were there on business.
For instance, the insurance agent and contractors made the excursion because of Morrison’s and Lukesh’s plans to renovate the light keeper’s house into a bed and breakfast.
Sure beats spending a day in the office.