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The Proposal

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Just when I think I’ve had all the “firsts” I could possibly have at the lighthouse – good and bad – something comes along to take my breath away. And this was oh so sweet.


Early in the Spring I got a letter in the mail to my Virginia home address. The letter also contained a photo of a lovely young couple. The letter was from Anthony. Who knows where he found my home address, but good for him.


The letter told me about him and his girlfriend, Maddie. He wrote about how wonderful she was and how they were planning to get married. In the kindest way, he asked if I would help him with his proposal to Maddie as he’d love to do it at the top of the lighthouse. Wow! How could I say “no?”


Given that it was Spring, and the lighthouse wouldn’t be open for a couple of months, I wrote back to Anthony explaining when the lighthouse would be open and asking for his timeframe. He was completely flexible because he knew that Maddie grew up in a town near the lighthouse and had spent a lot of time at Headlands Beach when she was young. The lighthouse was special to her, and he thought it would be a perfect place to propose.


For several weeks, Anthony and I went back and forth about timing and other details. He was including both of their immediate family members and doing a lot of coordinating amongst them to arrange the perfect engagement.


We settled on Saturday, June 3 as the weather looked clear and everyone was available. Wanting to make sure everything was going to go according to plan, Anthony came to the lighthouse for a walk-though over Memorial Day weekend. Fortunately, he was even happier once he saw the lighthouse firsthand.


Anthony was planning to take Maddie and their moms to a late lunch that day. While they were lunching, the rest of the family members and the photographer were going to head to the lighthouse. They all arrived on time laden with balloons, gifts, snacks, drinks, and a beautiful cake.


After their late lunch, Anthony and Maddie took a stroll on Headlands Beach with their moms. As they approached the lighthouse, the family members crammed in the basement, while the photographer hid on the widow’s walk on top behind the foghorn. Once Anthony, Maddie and their moms were near the lighthouse stairs, I rose from my comfortable Adirondack chair to engage them in conversation. I asked if they’d been inside the lighthouse before. When they said “no,” I invited them inside for a tour. Little did I know, Maddie had written a report in high school about this lighthouse and was thrilled to get a chance to see inside. She mentioned that she knew that “some lady” had purchased it. Of course, that “some lady” is me.


While I chatted about the history of the lighthouse and the restoration work that has been done, the family members remained hidden away. As it turns out, Maddie’s family also has a blond Golden Retriever who looks very similar to Lucy, so seeing Lucy made everyone happy.


When I finished describing the first floor of the lighthouse, I gave a clue to the family members hiding by saying, “Let’s go upstairs now…,” which allowed them to sneak out to the beach and watch what would transpire on the top.


We continued our tour of the 2nd floor and Service Level, but when it came time to ascend to the lantern room, the moms headed back downstairs to join the rest of the family on the beach. I stalled to ensure the moms were in place and then took Anthony and Maddie up the final staircase and outside to the widow’s walk. I snapped a couple of phone photos and ushered them into the designated spot. I excused myself to return downstairs when Derek, the photographer, magically appeared from behind the foghorn to take over.


Derek captured the private moments on top as the family watched from below. Once they were officially engaged, the family streamed back into the lighthouse to celebrate. I popped champagne that had been chilling in the utility sink and they all enjoyed sharing congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple. Food was eaten, cake was served, and a lot more photos were taken. In the words of Anthony, “It was amazing…perfect.”


It was a day I will never forget. May Anthony and Maddie have a long and happy marriage.







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