December 2003

Preparations Underway for

2003 Flying Santa Flights

Carrying on the holiday tradition established by Capt. William Wincapaw in 1929 and continued for many years by Edward Rowe Snow, the Friends of Flying Santa are making final preparations for the 2003 flights. Our volunteers have been quite busy these past few months organizing all the necessary arrangements. We will be taking to the air for three days of flights this Christmas. Our first day will cover the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine, including the following stops: Portsmouth Harbor, Goat Island, Portland Head, Burnt Island, Pemaquid Point, Owl's Head, Brown's Head, Fort Point, Dice Head, Bass Harbor Head and USCG Station Jonesport. Once again, pilots Art Godjikian and LaRay Todd in their Agusta helicopter will be piloting veteran Santa George to all our northern stops.

The following weekend we will be making our Massachusetts flight thanks to the generosity of pilot Evan Wile, who is once again donating his helicopter services to the program. Our aerial tour will visit USCG stations and lighthouses from Newburyport to the Cape and Islands. The list of stops includes: Newburyport, Annisquam Harbor, Boston Light, USCG Station Point Allerton, Scituate, Plymouth, USCG Station Cape Cod Canal, Nobska Point, West Chop, Brant Point, Chatham and Cape Cod (Highland) Light. Our Santa for the day will be CWO Tom Guthlein returning to New England after a tour of duty in Virginia. Many of you may remember that Tom shared the role with George in 1997 and 1998. Joining Tom for the flight will be Seamond Ponsart Roberts. Seamond's father was a lighthouse keeper in the 1940's and 50's. She spent her childhood at lighthouses on Cuttyhunk Island and Martha's Vineyard. On Mr. Snow's 1945 Christmas flyover, he dropped a package containing a doll for Seamond. Unfortunately the package hit the rocks and the doll was broken. The following year, to make up for this disappointing delivery, Mr. Snow chartered one of the first charter helicopters and returned to hand deliver a new doll for Seamond. This became one of her favorite Christmas memories. We look forward to having her on hand as Santa's assistant, helping to create new memories for the children at all these lights.

Our third and final day of flying will be to lighthouses in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Returning for the second year, will be pilot Glenn Hanson who will be generously donating his helicopter services for the entire flight. Joining Glenn will be co-pilot Lou Belloisy and of course, our own CWO Dave Waldrip will once again be reprising his role of Santa. Our stops for the day will include the following lighthouses: Warwick, Prudence Island, Castle Hill, Point Judith, Lynde Point, Stratford Point and Eaton's Neck. We look forward to seeing all our Coast Guard friends as we take to the skies for the 74th year of the Flying Santa tradition.


Vermont Lighthouse and Foliage Bus Tour

By Jeremy D'Entremont

This fall the Friends of Flying Santa held the organization's first-ever Vermont Lighthouse and Foliage Tour, and the trip afforded a cheerful busload of aficionados an opportunity to tour some little-seen lighthouses in beautiful surroundings.

The drive north from Rockland, MA on the first day of the trip (September 26) was pleasantly interrupted for a lunch stop at the Waterworks Restaurant in Winooski, Vermont. With great food and a spectacular view of the Winooski River rushing by, this restaurant earned rave reviews from our group. We continued north past Burlington to our first lighthouse, Windmill Point Light in Alburg, practically on the border with Quebec.

When we arrived at Windmill Point we were greeted by the owners of the light station, Lockwood "Lucky" Clark, his wife Claire and son Rob. The Clarks were eager to show off both of their lighthouses (they own two!), and they couldn't have been more gracious and generous hosts. We were also met by a TV production crew from New England Cable News, including reporter Anya Huneke. Some of our group, including board president Brian Tague, were interviewed for a news segment on Vermont lighthouses and the Flying Santa. Also interviewed was Joan Kenworthy, who has been on a couple of our recent trips. Joan's grandfather, George Gustavus, was a lighthouse keeper at several locations including Chatham, MA, and Prudence Island, RI.

We spent a good amount of time at Windmill Point soaking in the scenery, and everyone had a chance to climb the lighthouse. The interior of the tower was quite interesting, with limestone stairs that included the fossils of a few ancient snails.

We then headed down the road to the Clarks' other lighthouse at Isle la Motte. The cast iron tower is a unique color for a lighthouse - a kind of pinkish hue often referred to as "Nantucket Red." At Isle la Motte we met Lucky Clark's sister Erika Bayer, who lives in the former keeper's house. Our hosts outdid themselves, even putting out cookies and punch for us to enjoy. Again, everyone who wanted to was able to climb the tower. Instead of spiral stairs inside, Isle la Motte simply had two ladders leading to the lantern room.

Both Windmill Point and Isle la Motte lights were re-lighted as aids to navigation in 2002 after many years in darkness. Lucky and Rob Clarks are lighthouse keepers in the best tradition, and they take justifiable pride in the fine work they do. We're grateful for their willingness to share these fabulous locations.

After a night's rest at the Howard Johnson Hotel in South Burlington, the second day of our tour began with a thoroughly enjoyable tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory in Shelburne. The puns were flying around so fast you could "bearly" keep up.

We then spent a few hours at the Shelburne Museum, a collection of 39 galleries and buildings and over 150,000 objects that's been called the "Smithsonian of New England." Of course, for us lighthouse buffs the big attraction was the pretty Colchester Reef Lighthouse, moved from its original home out on Lake Champlain to the museum in 1952. Inside the lighthouse are displays on local maritime history, including many old photos of the beautiful steamships that once plied the lake.

There was a great deal to enjoy at the museum besides the lighthouse, with a covered bridge, the steamboat Ticonderoga, and gallery after gallery of incredible art and antiques. The Shelburne Museum is truly a national treasure.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor. Here we learned more about the various types of vessels used on the lake over the centuries, and about the field of underwater archaeology. Many of us went aboard the museum's 54-foot Revolutionary War-era gunboat replica Philadelphia II, where a helpful staff member told us all about naval warfare of that era. Also on display at the museum is the last wooden buoy tender used in the U.S.

After two beautiful days, our luck ran out on the third day as it rained. Well, actually, it poured. We were scheduled to take a sightseeing cruise aboard the Ethan Allen III, but the cruise was cancelled - not because of the rain, but due to mechanical problems with the boat. This gave us an opportunity for a brief shopping visit to downtown Burlington where many of us descended on the Lake Champlain Chocolates store.

Our last stop was Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre working farm that's also a National Historic Landmark and an educational center. A tour guide came on board our bus and we drove all around the grounds, stopping at several buildings. At the end we learned a bit about how cheese was made and even got to sample some tangy Vermont cheddar.

In spite of the rain on the last day and foliage that was a little late in arriving, a good time was had by all. We plan to repeat this tour with some possible changes next fall.

CWO Dave Waldrip and RADM Vivien Crea


Admiral's Reception at Hospital Point Light


This past August, USCG Rear Admiral Vivien Crea and her husband Ron Rutledge hosted a reception for the Friends of Flying Santa at their Hospital Point Light home. On hand for this enjoyable gathering were the board trustees, past and present helicopter pilots - Dale Hardy, Art Godjikian, LaRay Todd and Evan Wile - as well as a number of CG personnel who have been a part of the program over the years. It was a rare opportunity for many of these folks to meet and talk. The usual circumstances of our Santa visits do not allow for lengthy social visits and the geographic range finds many of the participants hundreds of miles apart. Presentations were made to the pilots for their extreme generosity and support of the program. The entire board offers their sincere thanks to Admiral Crea for the appreciation she has shown to the Flying Santa program.


Sally Snowman - Boston Light Keeper


The Board of Trustees offers congratulations to our Vice President Sally Snowman who was recently appointed head keeper of Boston Light. Sally has been a CG Auxiliarist for a number of years, much of that time connected to Boston Light. She has also been a dedicated supporter of Flying Santa since joining our board in 2001.


Scholarship Program
Next spring, Friends of Flying Santa will be awarding our first scholarship to the college-bound child of a Massachusetts based member of the USCG. We look forward to this new element of the Flying Santa tradition and continuing our appreciation to the families of the USCG. In the future, we hope to expand this scholarship program to include all of New England. Members of the CG stationed in Massachusetts may contact us by phone or email for more information on the application process.

2004 Fundraising Events

We have begun lining up our 2004 fundraising tours for our enthusiastic lighthouse fans. We plan to start the season in May with a 3-day bus tour of Maine lighthouses. Plans are to include stops at a number of southern and mid-coast Maine lighthouses including Fort Point Light in Stockton Springs and Bass Harbor Light on Mount Desert Island. We are still working out the arrangements for a possible lighthouse cruise to be included in the trip. The dates for this outing will be May 21, 22 and 23. The cost is $325.00 per person double occupancy.

Our next outing will be in July with a one-day bus tour of Rhode Island lighthouses. So far, included in this trip will be visits to Castle Hill Light, Beavertail Light, Point Judith Light and Warwick Light. We are working on the possibility of including other lights and attractions and will have more details after the first of the year. The date for this tour will be July 24th.

We would like to thank everyone that participated in our 2003 fundraising events. The bus tours of North Shore, Cape Cod and Vermont lighthouses went very well. Our evening cruise on Boston Harbor was also very successful. Special thanks to Harbour Lights for their contributions to our raffles and pilot Evan Wile for his generous donation of a helicopter lighthouse tour raffle prize.

Ideas for additional fundraising events are in the works. We will keep you posted with additional details in the coming months. Be sure to check our newsletter and website for more information and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our upcoming tours.

Gift Items
We would like to take this opportunity to remind our friends that Friends of Flying Santa offers a fine selection of apparel sporting the Friends logo. Our hats, sweatshirts, polo shirts and T-shirts are available in most popular sizes. If you would like to order one or more of these items for yourself or a friend, please check out our Gift Items page.



Over the past few years, Friends of Flying Santa and Yankee Magazine have joined together in a unique partnership. Through their very popular Community Partnership program, we have been able to offer our friends subscriptions to the magazine at the discounted rate of $20 per year. Their regular rate is $24 per year. With each subscription order placed through the Friends, Yankee donates $8 to the Friends of Flying Santa. If you are interested in receiving or renewing Yankee Magazine please follow the link below. This also makes a great gift for your friends or family. Thanks for your support.

Yankee Magazine's Commmunity Partners


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