After more than a year of closure, Point San Luis Lighthouse will reopen its doors to the public May 1.
The lighthouse has been closed to group tours since the initial statewide pandemic shutdown in March 2020.
Since the closure, it has been open to virtual walking tours for those who are able to paddle out to the lighthouse on kayaks.
But Executive Director Deb Foughty said docents are excited to start offering public van tours this Saturday.
She said all of the docents, also known as lighthouse keepers, are volunteers who are fully vaccinated and retired.
“They’re giving back to their community so they wanted to be safe,” Foughty said. “They were good staying home. But we stayed in communication. We Zoomed a lot just to keep in touch because they’ve all become good friends with one another. And they are all really interested in getting back out there.”
Docents will lead van tours every Saturday in May at noon and 1:00 p.m. Foughty said they will start leading Wednesday van tours in June.
Visitors will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Hand sanitizer will also be available.
Foughty said in 2020 the lighthouse wasn’t able to celebrate its 130th year with large events, so they had to pivot to figure out other ways to celebrate and bring in funding.
She said the lighthouse has been able to stay afloat by hosting a handful of small weddings there, and through other means such as donations, memberships, PPP funding and loans.
“I have applied for everything you can think of,” Foughty said. “I have been totally on the screen with webinars – you name it – looking for little grants everywhere.”
Foughty said she is excited to begin hosting concerts at the lighthouse again. She said they have eight already scheduled for this summer.
The first concert will feature a trio with singer-songwriter Jill Knight and violinist Brynn Albanese on June 26.
Foughty said she hopes to see San Luis Obispo County move into the COVID-19 orange tier soon so they can host the concerts at a higher capacity.
Visitors can purchase tickets for tours and events on the website or call (805) 540-5771 for more information.