sandyhook-npsThe 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.

“For 38 years various attempts to make contact with our New York counterparts have been made,” says Tim Dillingham, Executive Director.  “Methods have included hydrophone (phone set attached to a tin can with fishing line), bottle rockets, giant mirrors made from pie plates, and semaphore flags. Guests will have to wait and see what’s in store for this year.”

Following the walk, a complimentary light lunch and hot cocoa will be served in Building 18. Participants are encouraged to bring a pot luck dessert to share with the group.

Before and after the walk, participants will have an opportunity to talk with Carson Greengrove, a Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School student and Eagle Scout candidate who is working on a rain barrel project to benefit the Littoral Society. The barrels will serve to recycle and conserve water, and will be painted by local artists Kathy and Rich Lucas to depict the use of each of the four barrels. Anyone wishing to contribute to the project may make a tax deductible donation to the American Littoral Society, and indicate the donation is in support of the rain barrel project.

Participants on the walk should dress warmly, wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars. For additional information, call the Society at (732)291-0055.

Not prepared to walk around in the cold — but still looking to tear yourself away from the TV for a spell? Come to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County Meeting House on West Front Street  in Lincroft to participate in a Peaceful New Year’s day Labyrinth Walk, going on Thursday from 2 to 6 pm inside the UUCMC’s Earth Room. Brng a dessert to share — and call (732)747-0707 for more info.