Lonely Planet Writer

Get paid $130,000 to run an island bed and breakfast in San Francisco

A remote lighthouse and inn in the middle of San Francisco’s San Pablo Bay are seeking a new innkeeper for a salary of around $130,000 (£102,000) per year.

The East Brother Lighthouse is looking for new innkeepers. Image by East Brother Light Station

East Brother Light Station has illuminated the northern part of San Francisco Bay since 1873. Located just 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco, the lighthouse and guesthouse is close enough for a weekend break but it’s accessible via ferry only and has no WiFi, TV or telephone service. Registered as a California Historic Landmark, it’s operated by a not-for-profit, and current island keepers Che Rodgers and Jillian Meeker are responsible for pretty much everything that happens on the island.

There are stunning views from every side of the island and guests can see the San Francisco skyline, Mount Tamalpais, and the Marin coastline. Upon arrival, guests are treated to champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Guests and a tour of the little station complex before enjoying a multi-course dinner and a gourmet breakfast the next morning. It all sounds rather lovely and romantic but it requires a lot of work.

The guesthouse at East Brother. Image by East Brother Light Station

Speaking to Lonely Planet Travel News, Rogers said the guesthouse is open from Thursday to Sunday night and the couple dedicate themselves to taking care of the needs of as many as ten people. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – their ‘days off’ – they’re kept busy with tasks such as laundry, deep cleaning the lighthouse, lengthy grocery trips, scheduling maintenance, inspections, interviews or boat repairs. It’s certainly gruelling but there are some positives aspects too.

“The upside is that because of the dynamic schedule, time goes by very quickly without any one aspect becoming too tedious,” said Rogers. “And getting to meet such a variety of people coming to stay with us keeps us in interesting conversation and ideas for future travel. Because of the more intimate nature of staying on the island compared to a typical B&B, we have actually made several long-term friendships with former guests.”

Outgoing keepers Jillian Meeker and Che Rogers. Image by East Brother Light Station

Meeker and Rogers are assisting with interviews for the next keepers, with 1 May as the formal lighthouse handover date. They’re looking for a couple who are flexible, versatile and understand how to share the considerable workload.

“A deep passion for the stewardship of the island is also important,” advised Rogers. “The job requires a huge commitment of time and a willingness to live in a semi-remote location away from most aspects of modern urban life. So the ability to draw enthusiasm from being stewards of the history and the ongoing restoration, and from the wildlife and nature around the island, is vital to the sustainability of the job.”

East Brother is located just 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco. Image by East Brother Light Station

The couple said they’ve greatly enjoyed the last couple of years working on East Brother and are excited to pass the torch to the next couple. As well as the $130,000 salary, the next innkeepers will enjoy free room and board. They must be a couple and have a Coast Guard commercial boat operator’s license. Interested applicants can find more information here.