The batteries and buildings of Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock, above, are the setting for a nocturnal ghost-walk sponsored by the American Littoral Society Friday night. Middletown’s fabled “Spy House,” below, hosts a Thursday night lecture on the legendary Jersey Devil.
Here in this history-haunted neck of Olde Monmouth, the Halloween season offers several spine-tingling opportunities to share some of the more curious legends and lore of the Garden State, in settings that range from well-lit modern facilities to those shadowy corners just off the beaten path.
Dip a toe into the first wave of “zero waste” art…stick a finger into the winds of environmental activism…try one’s hand at any of the many recreational pursuits of coastal life as Local Summer continues apace on and near the ocean, bay and riverfront shores of our local parks.
The people at the Monmouth County Arts Council define “zero waste” art as that which uses all available materials; creating new objects of beauty and inspiration from formerly discarded castoffs — and when the first-ever Zero Waste Arts Fest comes to the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook this weekend, September 17 and 18, there won’t be a wasted moment or a wasted opportunity for family-friendly fun. Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, the festival highlights partnerships between locally based artists, art galleries and environmental activism organizations, as well as an interactive “live art” project coordinated by Lisa Bagwell (whose recycled-materials sculptures are a colorful and clever commentary on our disposable consumer culture). There’s live music (from Red Bank’s Rockit Live and others), kids’ activities, informative displays from a host of partner organizations, plus giveaways, shuttle bus tours of the Hook, and a whole lot more (including an after-hours Saturday night “1940s swing event” under the stars). Take it here to the All Good section of redbankgreen, for full details on events and entertainers, plus a complete rundown of participating co-sponsors and presenters.
Recycled-materials sculptures by Lisa Bagwell are among the art works featured during the Zero Waste Arts Fest, going on September 17 and 18 at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook.
Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council
On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, the Monmouth County Arts Council invites the public to take part in a weekend of free family fun — in which the arts intersect with the wonders of our local environment — during the inaugural Zero Waste Arts Fest (ZWAF).
Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the historic Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook, ZWAF represents a partnership between Monmouth Arts and Gateway National Recreation Area Sandy Hook Unit. The event also marks the culminating phase of a larger Gateway to the Arts grant project, a $20,000 award that Monmouth Arts received from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2016, to honor both the 50th anniversary of the NEA and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
All ages and skill levels are invited to take it to the river on Saturday, when Paddle the Navesink Day returns to the Red Bank waterfront, above, while Skimbash brings top Skim USA Pro/Am Tour action to Sea Bright. (Photo above by John T. Ward; below by Peter Lindner)
The beach-badge booths are boarded up; the “Bennys Go Home” banners lovingly folded with the care befitting a precious family heirloom. But on the ocean beaches and waterways of the Greater Red Bank Green, it’s still very much Local Summer; a busy interlude of family-friendly festivals, recreational opportunities and other welcome rituals.
The weekend ahead sees the reappearance of three such signifiers of Local Summer living — including the September edition of SkimBash in Sea Bright, and the annual Iron Girl Women’s Triathlon on Sandy Hook.
The annual End of Summer Party (above) marks a big-tent bid of adieu for the Sandy Hook Foundation next Friday…while NFL great Boomer Esiason (below) visits Broad Street for a cocktail party fundraiser at Garmany.
A late-summer sendoff out on the Hook…a BBQ kickoff to the gridiron season on the home-team turf…a star-studded celebration of life and fashion at a signature retailer…and a show of support for a hometown resource. All dedicated to raising funds for worthy causes, and all happening in the post-Labor Day interlude to come.
This coming Labor Day Monday, September 5 represents the deadline to reserve your ringside seat for the End of Summer — as declared by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Foundation in its annual casual-attire outdoor benefit gala, which returns on September 9 to the North Beach area of the Hook for a seasonal sayonara that commences at 6:30 pm. With tickets beginning at $150, proceeds benefit the Foundation’s ongoing preservation efforts as well as seasonal activities like the popular Free Beach Concert series, in addition to the environmental awareness and educational campaigns of the Fort Hancock-based American Littoral Society. Promised are “dancing under the stars” to live music from Swift Technique; a buffet dinner featuring seafood raw bar furnished by The Lusty Lobster, and an “amazing auction” of exclusive-experience getaway packages. Take it here for further details; here for tickets, and around the bend for more good deeds and good times.
Amateur naturalists, “citizen scientists” and other volunteers are invited to participate in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, September 23 and 24.
This year, the National Parks Service observes the 100th anniversary of its founding — and as part of the year-long celebration, the federal agency will coordinate more than 100 “BioBlitz” initiatives at parks and other protected lands across the nation.
Out on the Sandy Hook peninsula, administered by the NPS as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the past several Septembers have seen a local BioBlitz effort coordinated with the Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society — and for 24 hours beginning Friday, September 23, “citizen scientists” from all walks of life are invited to be a part of this important annual wildlife census.
Plaid-shirted partystarters the Nerd hit the beach this Wednesday evening for the first in a new season of free outdoor concerts on Sandy Hook, seen below from Highlands.
Sounding the keynote to the season of free outdoor concerts in and around the Greater Red Bank Green — and showing them all how it’s done — the long-running Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series returns to the peninsula for another slate of events at Beach Area E this week.
Presented by the Sandy Hook Foundation, the 6 p.m. concerts are all-ages, multi-generational celebrations that come equipped with sandy seating, natural A/C and complimentary sunsets. It all begins anew this Wednesday, June 15, with a rare exposure to sunlight by those most pocket-protected of party-starting pop-rock-funk powerhouses, the Nerds.
Brian Kirk and the Jirks signal the pre-season start of summer on Sandy Hook, as the Jersey Shore Partnership marks a milestone during its gala event on June 6.
Press release from Jersey Shore Partnership
The public is invited to help the Jersey Shore Partnership organization celebrate its 25th anniversary — and kick off summer at the Jersey Shore — at the Partnership’s annual Summer Celebration on Monday, June 6.
Scheduled from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and hosted in a huge party tent overlooking Sandy Hook Bay at historic Fort Hancock, the event offers attendees an opportunity to promote your business and network in an informal atmosphere with 500 guests from Cape May to North Jersey, who share a mutual goal to preserve the future of the Jersey Shore coastline and economy.
Scheduled for 9 a.m., and hosted in the auditorium of the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street, this will be the first meeting after the signing of the first residential lease at Fort Hancock Historic Post (Building 21, pictured), and the last meeting before an Open House takes place of select leasing opportunities on Sunday, May 22.
The live event production company Peak Projects has announced a brand new road race, taking place at one of the Jersey Shore’s most iconic places, Sandy Hook. Scheduled for the morning of Sunday, May 15, Run The Hook will commence its inaugural run — and the start of a new Shore tradition — from the historic Fort Hancock area at the north end of the Hook. The 11 a.m. race action will include 5K and 10K distances for runners of all abilities, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Clean Ocean Action, the local nonprofit dedicated to improving and protecting the quality of the waterways in the New Jersey and New York region.
According to Daragh Kneeshaw, co-founder with Joey Garafalo of Peak Projects and Run the Hook “Our hometowns and beaches have seen more than their fair share of hardships over these past several years, so it’s a thrill for us to be able to showcase Sandy Hook in our debut event, and simultaneously help the area through our partnership with Clean Ocean Action.”
A group of students from the Environmental Club at Red Bank Regional discovered a dead osprey while taking part in an October 24 Beach Sweep on Sandy Hook. The bird was studied later, to determine whether pollution-related causes were responsible for its death.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
On October 24, as part of a Fall Beach Sweeps initiative organized by the nonprofit Clean Ocean Action, more than 50 Red Bank Regional High School students and their friends descended upon Sandy Hook, collecting trash and data to help determine and reduce sources of pollution on the peninsula.
“So many of our RBR students enjoy summers at the beach, fishing, kayaking, and surfing,” explained RBR science teacher and Environmental Club advisor David Hussey. “These students took the opportunity to give back to their local marine environment that they love so much.”
Jeff DeMent of the American Littoral Society invites anglers of all ages and skillsets to a Surf Fishing Clinic, Saturday morning at the northern end of Sandy Hook.
The clocks may have just been turned back to early-dark doldrums (you did remember to reset that one above the oven, right?), but our recent spate of warmly welcome Fall weather should serve as reminder to not break out that re-gifted Snuggie just yet — not while the colorful wooded trails and beautiful beaches of the greater Red Bank Green beckon for one more weekend.
Amateur naturalists, students and other volunteers are invited to assist a team of scientists in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, beginning September 18.
Press release from National Parks Service
For 24 hours beginning Friday, September 18, citizen scientists will perform a “BioBlitz” operation, swarming the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area and counting as many species as possible. At the same time, free fun and educational activities will take families and individuals into the coves and trails of this seven-mile peninsula on the New Jersey coast.
The annual September edition of Skimbash brings top Skim USA Pro/Am Tour action to Sea Bright this Saturday — and the Athleta Iron Girl Triathlon hits the Hook on Sunday — as Local Summer continues apace.
In case you haven’t gotten the memo, it’s Local Summer — the sun is still riding high in the sky and the evenings are still long and languid as you allow them to be; even as the beach-badge booths are shuttered and the “Bennys Go Home” banners are lovingly folded and stored away in vac-seal bags for another season.
Veteran locals can tell you that September on the greater Green is a busy interlude of family-friendly festivals, recreational opportunities and yearly ritual tournaments — and this weekend, two genuine signifiers of Local Summer return to nearby beaches, with the re-appearances of SkimBash in Sea Bright, and the Athleta Iron Girl Women’s Triathlon on Sandy Hook.
Part public science project, part beat-the-clock fun competition, the second annual Bio-Blitz invites all members of the community to help take a snapshot of the diversity of plant and animal life on Sandy Hook.
Press release from American Littoral Society
It’s part contest (racing against the 24-hour clock), part educational event, part scientific endeavor, and all fun — it’s the second annual Bio-Blitz, and starting right now the American Littoral Society is inviting the public to take part in a major undertaking on September 18 and 19, designed to “create a snapshot” of Sandy Hook’s biodiversity.
By identifying as many species as possible during that 24-hour period, the Littoral Society can paint a picture of 2015 Sandy Hook, and the breathtaking array of plants, fish, birds, bugs, reptiles and furry creatures who make their summer home on the peninsula. Collected over time, this data can lead to valuable information about the effects of climate change and habitat degradation on the species that utilize this area. This will also be a unique opportunity to teach the public about the biodiversity that exists along New Jersey’s coast — particularly the unique mix of species that’s found only within the Gateway National Recreation Area.
The first of four public meetings on the preservation and repurposing of Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook, including the bayside Officers’ Row, above, will be held Friday in Lincroft.
For more than 70 years, it stood at the ready, protecting lower New York Harbor and the northern Jersey Shore from invasion by sea. Between its founding in 1898 and its decommissioning in 1974, the United States Army base at Fort Hancock was a center of activity at the northern tip of Sandy Hook — and today its landmark buildings await decisions on their preservation and ultimate repurposing.
This Friday, June 26, members of the public are welcome to attend the first in a series of four meetings of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee, hosted inside the Visitors Center at Thompson Park, Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. Committee members will be joined by representatives of Gateway National Recreation Area, the federal Landmark District that includes the entire Sandy Hook peninsula. Scheduled to commence at 9 am, the meeting will include a regularly scheduled public comment period that begins at 11:30.
Brian Kirk and the Jirks head back to the beach when the free concert series on Sandy Hook returns Wednesday evening. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Grab those beach chairs from the garage and shine up your best dancing flip flops: the season of free outdoor summer concerts is upon us, with the local action keynoted as always by the Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series.
Presented at 6 pm each Wednesday by the Sandy Hook Foundation at Beach Area E, the long-running slate of all-ages, all-welcome celebrations comes equipped with sandy seating, natural A/C and complimentary sunsets. It all begins anew on Wednesday with a season starter starring Brian Kirk and the Jirks.
The tents will be pitched, the dress will be casual, and Brian Kirk will sound the season’s keynote, at the annual Jersey Shore Partnership Summer Celebration this Monday evening at Fort Hancock.
They call themselves The Sand on the Beach People — a privately funded initiative dedicated to “raising the awareness of state and federal officials and the general public to the need for safeguarding the shoreline through beach restoration and other shore protection methods.”
Born out of the devastating coastal storms of the early 1990s — and with a resolve strengthened all the more by Superstorm Sandy — the Jersey Shore Partnership is serious about its mission. None of which is going to stop the JSP from having its share of seasonal fun, as the big tent is pitched for the annual host “friend raising/fundraising” Summer Celebration this Monday evening, June 8.
Going on between 5:30 and 9:30 pm (and with a rain date of Tuesday, June 9), the gala affair assembles a collection of local dignitaries, public/private sector VIPs and philanthropic-minded individuals in a scenic Fort Hancock setting overlooking Sandy Hook Bay. But leave the tux and gown at home — the dress is casual, and the overall vibe is beachy, thanks in large part to veteran beach-bar entertainers Brian Kirk and the Jirks.
Six historic buildings in the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook are being opened up to leasing for multiple uses during an open house this Sunday.
Looking to lease a unique and historic Jersey Shore property, equipped with billion-dollar waterfront view, with an eye toward preserving it as a residence, nonprofit facility or even a bed-and-breakfast?
The Sandy Hook stewards of the Gateway National Recreation Area have an opportunity for you.
Pictured are just some of the guests enjoying the Hook (at seasonal rates) to be spotted on Saturday’s Winter Water Fowl and Seal Walk, hosted by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society. (Photo by NatureOnTheEdgeNYC)
Those of us who are under the impression that the Sandy Hook peninsula doesn’t truly come alive until Memorial Day Weekend are guilty of overlooking the scores of literal “snowbirds” and other denizens who dig the park’s winter-weather wonders. This Saturday morning, February 21, the regional chapter of the American Littoral Society invites all-seasons strollers, hardy naturalists and cabin-fever sufferers to join their staff for a Winter Water Fowl and Sea Walk.
It’s one of many “off season” activities hosted by the nonprofit conservation group at its year-round home on the Hook, and it commences at 9 am from 18 Hartshorne Drive (aka Building 18) in the Fort Hancock area. Participants will proceed on foot to the estuaries and ponds where seals and seabirds are likely to make themselves seen.
The beaches and walkways of Sandy Hook’s northern tip in winter are the subject of the 39th annual New Year’s Day Beach Walk, hosted by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society.
Somewhere between the stale aftertaste and inevitable comedown of New Year’s Eve — and the litany of resolutions that begins with a groaning “never again” — there exists an opportunity for locals to truly hit the “refresh” button on the lifestyle routine. Even if you’re stopping just short of taking the Polar Bear plunge, you’ve still got a chance to take in a couple of lungfuls of bracingly frosty air and truly experience some extraordinary scenery, courtesy of the Sandy Hook-based regional chapter of the American Littoral Society.
Named in honor of the Society’s late director who initiated the annual tradition, the 39th Dery Bennett Memorial New Year’s Day Beach Walk commences at 11 am on Thursday, January 1st from 18 Hartshorne Drive (aka Building 18) in the Fort Hancock area of the Hook. Littoral Society naturalists conduct the free, public-welcome walk that proceeds from the Society’s headquarters, out to North Beach and beyond — and, while at the tip of the Hook, the group will attempt to communicate with Northeast Chapter coast walkers, across the Bay in New York.
The isolated, wind-whipped battlements of Fort Hancock are the setting for a moonlit tour of local lore and legend, (g)hosted by the American Littoral Society on October 30.
Laugh if you will at the tales of haunted places and half-buried secrets that form such a big part of our local cultural heritage. When the ghost stories have all been told, and attention spans wander back to the fast-paced, plugged-in Here and Now, that’s when the real fun begins — the walk outside in the dark; the uneasy trip back home, when sudden sounds encroach from all directions, and unidentifiable things skitter just off the edge of view.
The fun begins during daylight hours on Sunday, October 26, when Middletown Township Public Library welcomes the good people of the New Jersey Ghost Organization for a 2 pm reading that celebrates both the coming of Halloween and the Garden State’s “NJ350” birthday year. The Ghost Org guests will read from their latest book, Folklore of the New Jersey Shore, with signing copies available for perusal and purchase — and a set of “haunted artifacts” on display. Still, if the sworn-testimony tales of spectral apparitions and other unexplained phenomena fail to set your nerves on edge, stick around Middletown after dark — and take part in a nocturnal tour of one the greater Red Bank Green’s most history- and mystery-shrouded places.
Revels in the Details: works by the National Association of Women Artists (left) and by Laura Bethmann (right) are on display at the Monmouth Museum, beginning with a pair of Sunday receptions.
The heralding of autumn means that a few of those falling leaves are bound to find their way between the pages of an heirloom book, pressed onto a schoolchild’s classroom art project — or, if they’re especially fortunate, featured on national TV or in a gallery show as part of the work of Laura Bethmann.
To say that the South Jersey artist (and certified master gardener) “employs nature-based themes” in her watercolor paintings and ink/acrylic prints is to deny the deep harmony and symbiosis between the natural world, and its “more observant than the av-er-age bear” chronicler in color and texture. In addition to her fancifully and fantastically detailed studies of herbs and flowers, the author of Hand Printing from Nature specializes in collages that radiate from contact prints of leaves, fruits, vegetables, feathers, hair and other “found” materials from Nature’s hobby-lobby.
This Sunday, September 21, the Monmouth Museum (on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) hosts a free and public-welcome opening reception for a solo show of Bethmann’s work — part of the Emerging NJ Artists series at the building’s Nilson Gallery. The artist is expected to be present during the reception that runs between 4 and 6 pm — and that’s not all that’s going on around the halls and walls of the Museum.
Windsurfer Jeff Bauer shows them all how it’s done, as New Jersey Windsurfing and Watersports Fun Day returns to the bay side of the Sandy Hook peninsula on Sunday. (Photo by Barbara Bauer)
Local Summer is alive and well on the Monmouth County coastline, where a curiously cool and comfy season draws to a close with an ever-growing array of post-Labor Day outdoor activities. One of the most consistent (if slightly under-the-radar) signifiers of September returns this Sunday to Sandy Hook Bay, where the annual New Jersey Windsurfing and Watersports Fun Day looks to introduce a new generation of enthusiasts to a range of recreational activities that can be enjoyed on our many local waterways.
A presentation of the all-volunteer New Jersey Windsurfing & Watersports Association, the day commences at 10 am with expert instruction in windsurfing, as well as the increasingly popular stand-up paddleboarding and its zen cousin, SUP Yoga. While attendees needn’t have any experience in any of these activities, swim skills are required, and participants younger than 18 years of age are asked to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The National Park Service is seeking nominations for individuals to be considered for appointment to the Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee.
“Since Hurricane Sandy, this committee has helped the park define practical, long-term solutions for preserving Fort Hancock,” said Gateway Superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian. “A recent Request for Expressions of Interest brought hundreds of possible new leaseholders to the park and generated over 40 written responses. Now the committee is advising the park on an upcoming Request for Proposals, which we expect to issue later this year. We need to keep the committee at full membership so that we can keep this momentum going.”
Since its first meeting in January 2013, the Committee has advised Gateway National Recreation Area concerning the future of the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historical Landmark. More than 100 historic buildings dating from the U.S. Army era are located within Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit. Most are vacant, but could be saved through adaptive reuse by other leaseholders.