Report: Living in a Lighthouse Is As Cool As You Think It Is

Illustration for article titled Report: Living in a Lighthouse Is As Cool As You Think It Is
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Perhaps maybe you’ve thought, Gosh, wish I could just get away from this horrid world and live a solitary life in a lighthouse somewhere, far, far away from men who start sentences with the word“actually,” sushi burritos, and Citibikes, just to name a few small travesties. Maybe you’ve considered a lighthouse. Wouldn’t living in a lighthouse be cool? Well, it is cool, according to a woman who lived in one for three decades.


The New York Times checks in with Margaret A. Winski, a woman who never stopped chasing her dream of living in a goddamn lighthouse. When she was 12 she imagined living in a lighthouse and then as an adult straight up joined the Coast Guard to make the dream a reality:

I went for the interview and they said, ‘Why do you want to join the Coast Guard?’ And I said, ‘I want to live in a lighthouse,’” she recalled. “They said, ‘Forget it, you’ll never live in a lighthouse.’”

Well guess what: SHE DID IT.

Winski served as the lighthouse keeper at the Montauk Lighthouse for 30 years, tending to the lighthouse at night and also handling the money from ticket sales and the gift shop, while also working at the post office in town by day. She didn’t get a TV until five years into her stay, instead choosing to read all the time and listen to the radio. Oh, and one time Nicole Kidman just casually visited her. The article reads:

Once, about a decade ago, a car drove up behind her. Normally, she would turn after-hours visitors away, but there was “something about these people.”

She invited the group in for a tour and up the 137 steps to the tower. It was the actress Nicole Kidman; the singer Keith Urban, her husband; and Ingrid Sischy, the Vanity Fair writer and critic. Leslee Dart, whose public relations firm represents Ms. Kidman, confirmed the outing.

“I sort of knew who she was, but had no idea who he was,” Ms. Winski said. “He’s like, ‘Hi, I’m Keith.’ I’m like, ‘Good. I’m Marge.’”

After 30 years of lighthouse service, at 60 years old, Marge has decided to move to Maine and a Montauk businessman named Joseph Gaviola is taking her spot, which is unfortunate since I, Hazel Cills, would love to live in a lighthouse and meet Nicole Kidman. But for anyone else who holds onto this weird, archaic fantasy, Marge is our inspiration.

Hazel Cills is the Pop Culture Reporter at Jezebel. Her writing has been published by outlets including The Los Angeles Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, ELLE, and more.



I also wanted to live in a lighthouse as a kid! I honestly still do - everyone is fucking terrible, and being by myself all the time would be a goddamn dream come true - but I know too much about how medicine is delivered in this country to be willing to live anywhere that’s more than a 20-minute ambulance ride from a major metropolitan hospital.

Some reading with lighthouse lifestyle porn: Ahab’s Wife - about 600 pages longer than it needs to be, and the plot is totally bananas, but girlfriend knows how to write descriptive nature shit, I’ll give her that (scroll down for the review).

The Story of Beautiful Girl - they don’t get to the lighthouse until relatively late in the narrative, but when they do, it’s so, so good. Also, that book is just fucking fabulous.