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Not-so-lonely lighthouses.

Romanticized and treasured, lighthouses today have become as popular as they once were lonely. This month-as gray whales migrate down our coast-is a fine time to visit. We lost some lighthouses after the US. Coast Guard began automating them in the '60s. Ones deemed beyond repair were razed; others, without their keepers, were prey to vandals. But a tide of public interest and new Coast Guard regulations allowed many to be saved as museums, hostels, and inns. South of San Francisco, the 1928 Point Montara Lighthouse, above, exemplifies these changes. Its 30-foot cast-iron tower still supports a working light; the old fog-signal building behind houses Elderhostel classes. To stay in the keeper's quarters ($10 a night), call (415) 728-7177. One of the best lighthouses for whale-spotting is on San Diego's Point Loma in Cabrillo National Monument; call (619) 557-5450 for details on whale talks. The West Coast has 27 lighthouses you can visit. Another, south of Mendocino at Point Cabrillo, is now part of the Coastal Conservancy and will open within the year, For a free California list, call the US. Lighthouse Society at (415) 362-7255; membership is $25.
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Title Annotation:Window on the West; California
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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