There’s a rare opportunity to see a corner of the local coastline that’s usually off limits to public eyes; a tutorial in recreational surfcasting; opportunities to gaze at some heavenly bodies under cover of night; and a celebration of earthly treasures in creative expression.
And it’s all all happening in the days and evenings to come on the Sandy Hook peninsula.
• It begins this Friday afternoon, when the park extends its branches for a Holly Forest Walk through a 64-acre woodland parcel that’s generally open to public perusal only through school tours and other specially arranged visits.
Nature enthusiasts will not want to miss this guided hike through undisturbed holly trees that include some of the oldest, largest and rarest such examples in the entire eastern United States. Meet 4 p.m. at Parking Lot E for the free, two-hour tour, and don’t forget the waterproof footwear. Call (732) 291-0055 for reservations and additional info
• Then on Saturday, the local chapter of the American Littoral Society offers its annual spring-session opportunity for fisherfolk of all ages and skill levels to enjoy a morning/early afternoon Surf Fishing Clinic on the beaches of the peninsula’s north end.
Jeff Dement, fish-tagging program director for the Sandy Hook-based society, is your instructor for a session that covers the basics of casting, knot-tying, lure and bait selection, and “reading” a beach. Coffee and doughnuts will be provided, and attendees are urged to bring their own lunch — fishing gear too, if you’ve got it, although the society will furnish rods, reels and tackle if needed.
Meet 8 a.m. at the society’s headquarters, Building 18 on Hartshorne Drive in the Fort Hancock area. Space is limited, and advance payment ($20 per member individual or family; $60 non-member individuals or families) is required. Reserve or receive more info by calling (732) 291-0055 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Next Saturday, April 22, the Littoral Society celebrates the planet in creative fashion, with an Earth Day Art Show and Sale that spotlights the coastal-themed work of seven local artists working in pottery, jewelry, baskets, vintage prints, soaps and lotions, textiles, and more.
All items will be on display and offered for sale at the society’s headquarters from 1 to 5 p.m., with light refreshments served and proceeds benefitting the nonprofit’s operations and educational programs. New for 2017 will be kid-friendly crafts and hands-on workshops with the featured artists, with attendees encouraged to “weave a Littoral fish and take it home as a gift, decoration, or ornament.” Call (732) 291-0055 for more info.
• Opportunities for nocturnal excursions on the Hook are always a welcome treat, and on Thursday, April 27 the Littoral Society invites explorers of the terra firma and the stars above to a Sandy Hook Stars and Satellites sky-gazing event. Beginning with a 6:30 p.m. history tour of Fort Hancock’s buildings and battlements, participants will do a post-sunset search for NASA satellites and other features of the night sky, then warm up with hot chocolate and snacks at HQ afterward. Bring binoculars and beach blankets if you have them. Call (732)291-0055 to reserve at $5 per person.
• Speaking of heavenly bodies, the full moon is slated to be the star attraction during a Full Moon Walk on the evening of Monday, May 8. The Littoral Society headquarters is once again the meeting place for a 6:30 p.m. excursion during which participants can “watch the moon rise over the ocean, learn about the tides and the marine creatures that rely on them, and some history about Fort Hancock.” After that it’s back to Building 18 for hot chocolate and snacks; interested moonwalkers can reserve at $5 per person by calling (732) 291-0055.