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rb paddle day 091414 12All 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)

skimbashThe 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.

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navesink rally 081116 2A slide shown during a presentation on clinging jellyfish by Montclair State University marine biologist Paul Bologna. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03Aside from the fact that they’re dime-sized and pack a truck-sized wallop in their sting, not a lot is known about clinging jellyfish. But a recent profusion of the creatures in waters in and off New Jersey has led to some insights, a marine biologist told a gathering in Rumson Thursday night.

One is that they’re a favored meal or sea nettles, larger jellyfish also known for their sting. Another is that, for this summer at least, the sea nettles may have eaten them all.

“They’re kind of gone for the season,” Paul Bologna, director of marine biology and coastal sciences at Montclair State University, told attendees at a Rally for the Navesink organized by Clean Ocean Action and other environmental groups and held at the First Presbyterian Church.

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rb paddle 091215 5Press release from Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham

If you have always wanted to kayak or try to paddle board on the Navesink River, but never knew how to get to it, now is your chance! On Saturday, September 10, Red Bank residents and visitors will once again have the chance to demo a kayak, paddle board, rowing shell, or try a class in paddle board yoga — and all for free — at the 6th Paddle the Navesink Day.

Going on from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the event takes place at Maple Cove (foot of Maple Avenue), the only public access site in Red Bank where you can hand launch a small non motorized craft in the Navesink River.

Just West of Maple Cove is Navesink River Rowing, which will be holding an open house to offer people the chance to demo a rowing shell and get information regarding their adult and youth rowing programs.

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clinging_jelly_newA closeup view of the clinging jellyfish (Gonionemus vertens), an invasive species from the Pacific Ocean that packs a painful sting. (Photo courtesy of  the American Littoral Society. Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03The clinging and stinging jellyfish that prompted the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association to cancel this summer’s River Ranger program is clearly something to be avoided.

Still, the American Littoral Society is hoping to get a closer look at the dime-sized creatures.

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rb paddle day 091414 2Navesink River Rowing and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association will be among the organizations speaking about recreational activities on our local waters, during a “Sun, Sea and Surf Expo” at the Eastern Branch Library on July 21.

Press release from Monmouth County Library

Surf’s up at the library this month, as the Monmouth County Library‘s Eastern Branch features a Sun, Sea and Surf Expo on Thursday, July 21. Beginning at 4 p.m., the library on Broad Street/ Route 35 will offer film screenings, guest speakers, informational displays and other programs on the many recreational options available on our local shores and waters — from surfing to rowing, canoeing and more.

The  July 21 event will be preceded by two free screenings of “Chasing Mavericks,” a 2012 feature film (starring Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler and Elizabeth Shue) about the surfers who seek out and conquer the biggest waves on the planet. The movie shows in the library’s Meeting Room at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, with an encore 2 p.m. showing on Monday, July 18.

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River RangersPress release from Navesink Maritime Heritage Asociation

For the twelfth consecutive season, the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association has announced that its River Rangers canoeing program for children ages 10 to 14 is open and taking registrations for summer 2016.

River Rangers explore our local rivers in colorful wooden canoes over the course of five days. It’s an activity that helps young people learn boating and teamwork skills, gain new friends, and obtain an understanding of the local maritime environment and wildlife. Participants will also enjoy paddling, swimming, and learning something of the on-water and under-water life while having fun.

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rb nms 031616 1With the basement meeting room already full, an overflow crowd gathered on the library’s main floor hoping to be allowed in Wednesday night. Below, the sanctuary would include Sandy Hook Bay, the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers and their tributaries. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2The main proponent of a “marine sanctuary” that would include some 12,500 acres of northeastern Monmouth County waters found himself pounded by wave after wave of criticism Wednesday night.

With 75 or so commercial and recreational fishermen, clammers, hunters and others packed into a basement meeting room at the Red Bank Public Library, and a comparable number turned away due to crowding, maritime historian Rik Van Hemmen got a cold reception for his proposal for a Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which he hopes will win federal approval.

“We’ve got enough layers of bureaucracy,” Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, told Van Hemmen. “This is going down. We’re going to fight it.”

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Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary 2An effort to create a “water-based equivalent of a National Park” covering Sandy Hook Bay, the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers and their tributaries is the subject of upcoming informational sessions, one of which is scheduled for Monday night.

If enacted by federal authorities, the Sandy Hook Bay National Marine Sanctuary would  add more than 12,500 acres of public-use parkland to eastern Monmouth County, according to proponents. Among them are the Navesink Marine Heritage Association, whose website has extensive information on the proposal.

Tonight’s presentation is slated for 7 p.m. at Crawford House at Tinton Falls. The Red Bank Public Library plans to host another on March 16 at 7 p.m. (Click to enlarge)


mbc-052710Ever have a yen to enjoy a Sunday morning breakfast in a historic setting with a spectacular view of the beautiful Navesink River? Come on down to the Monmouth Boat Club on March 6, when the clubhouse opens its doors to the public for an all-ages flapjacks-and-more fundraiser between the hours of 8 am and noon.

Sponsored by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association (NMHA), the event is a benefit for Sea Scout Ship #5, the local chapter of the co-ed program of the Boy Scouts of America that teaches maritime skills to young people ages 14 to 21.

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rb paddle 091215Rowers, kayakers, canoers, standup paddlers and others gathered at Red Bank’s Maple Cove Saturday afternoon for the fifth edition of Paddle the Navesink Day. The free, get-aquainted-with-the-waterway event runs until 4 p.m., rain or shine.  (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)


rb paddle day 091414 2Rowers, kayakers, canoers, standup paddlers and the just-plain-interested are invited to Maple Cove this Saturday, when Paddle the Navesink Day offers area residents a new perspective on Red Bank’s most beautiful asset and resource.

It’s about kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rowing, standup paddling. Actually, it’s about the history, culture, and ecology of the waterway from which a vibrant community took shape. Or perhaps more to the point, it’s about the opportunity to get acquainted — or to fall in love all over again — with the greater Red Bank Green’s most beautiful asset, resource, pride and joy.

When the event known as Paddle the Navesink Day returns for a fifth edition this Saturday, September 12, the rain-or-shine, late-summer “free community-wide celebration” will once again represent a unique convergence of local businesses, boating clubs and nonprofit organizations that’s hands-on, oars-in, and ready to make a believer of anyone who might have taken the river’s charms for granted.

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Dory 5Nice gig if you can get it… and you can, if you come down to Marine Park on Saturday. 

It’s called a “gig” boat… that is, when it’s not being referred to as a “dory” or even a “dorie.”

After a bit of back and forth, the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association (NMHA) has settled on “dory” as the proper name for the four- and six-oared rowing vessels that once plied the region’s waterways as lifeboats, ferries and water taxis. And on this Saturday afternoon, the wooden workboats return to our beautiful Navesink River in Red Bank for what could just be the start of a beautiful ,renewed relationship.

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Swimming RvrpaddleThe borough-based Navesink Maritime Heritage Association (NMHA) has announced that its celebrated River Rangers canoeing program for children ages 10-14 is now open to registrations for Summer 2015 programs in July and August.

Each five-day program runs Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, beginning with the week of July 6-10 —  and continuing with sessions on July 13-17, July 20-24, July 27-31, August 3-7, and August 10-14.

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Swimming RvrpaddleChris’s River Plaza Marina is the setting for a final seasonal session of canoeing on the Swimming River, this Sunday afternoon.

If there’s something especially bittersweet about a last chance to get the oars in the water, before the boats are hauled out for a too-long winter’s nap, then the glass-half-full types among us would do well to focus on the “sweet” this Sunday, October 12, as the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association offers up one more public-invited session of canoeing on the Swimming River.

Scheduled for the hours between 11 am and 3 pm, the all-ages excursions depart from Chris’ River Plaza Marina at 483 West Front Street, just west of the bridge from Red Bank. And, with most forecasts looking at paddle-friendly weather for Sunday, there’s little excuse not to join the River Rangers in those colorful canoes, for a leisurely paced, priceless perspective on the greater Green’s bucolic backyard.

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rb paddle day 091414 13rb paddle day 091414 5They lined up for a chance to kayak, row and sail our beautiful river when Paddle the Navesink Day returned after a one-year absence Sunday. Navesink River Rowing, the Monmouth Boat Club, Navesink Maritime Heritage Association and other organizations provided participants with hands-on recreational and educational experiences. More photos after the jump… (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)     


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paddle 2 090812Participants of all ages and skill levels are invited to take it to the river on Sunday, when Paddle the Navesink Day returns to cover the Red Bank waterfront. (Photo above by Peter Lindner; below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

PaddleIt’s called Paddle the Navesink Day — and it’s all about kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rowing, and just generally enjoying Red Bank’s picturesque riverfront from a whole different perspective.

When it returns for its fourth edition on Sunday after taking 2013 off, the rain-or-shine event will show its late-summer colors as “a free community-wide celebration of the Navesink River;” a convergence of local businesses, boating clubs and nonprofit organizations that’s hands-on, oars-in, and all about the history, culture, and ecology of the waterway from which a community took shape.

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onrust-sailing-on-hudson-river-photo-by-katy-silbergerlow-res-Seen here scouting the Hudson River, a working replica of the 17th century Dutch ship ONRUST puts into port this Saturday and Sunday for two public-invited events on the Navesink.  

Much attention has been paid in 2014 to the 350th anniversary of the first non-native settlements in what would become the State of New Jersey — and among those oldest established communities are some right here in the greater Green.

This Saturday and Sunday, present-day settlers will have a unique opportunity to get a close-up look at the way those original traders and explorers sailed the region’s waterways, when the good ship Onrust (pronounced AHN-roost) puts into two Navesink River ports of call.

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ice-boat-011011-500x375It’s an open house icebreaker when the nation’s longest-established ice boat club welcomes the public in from the cold for a Saturday of tours and presentations. Below, Bobby Bandiera brings the Rock ‘N Soul Revue back to the Basie for a Brill-iant bow to the hitmaking “American Troubadors.” 

Friday, March 21:

BobbyBandieraHallmarkIIok_zpsc164352eRED BANK: Taking the old recruitment slogan, “Join the Jovi and See the World” to heart, Bobby Bandiera has done his share of  globetrotting as touring guitarist with Bon Jovi. But when the veteran of more than 40 years’ worth of local barband gigs puts in to Shore, he tends to “relax” by staying audibly visible everywhere from the barstool in the corner at your favorite hometown watering hole to the Count Basie Theatre, where he intermittently assembles the jukebox Justice League known as the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue for a special salute to the “American Troubadors.”

When the 11-piece “Basie House Band” reconvenes Friday night at 8 pm, Bandiera and bandmates (including star-quality songbird Lisa Sherman, and Joe Jackson’s longtime bassist Graham Maby) will be paying trib to the great songwriter-performers of what’s commonly called the “Brill Building” era of late 50s-early 60s pop – a teenaged Tin Pan Alley that spawned some of the earliest and most immediately exhilarating work of Carole King (“The Loco-Motion”), Neil Diamond (“I’m a Believer”) and Burt Bacharach (“Baby It’s You”). Tickets ($25 – $99) can be reserved right here.

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ChampianTuzzoAbove: Champian Fulton, Bob Tuzzo and Tony Corrao take the bandstand when the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents “An Enchanted Evening of Song” at Two River Theater. Below, twentysomething European conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali makes his NJ Symphony debut at the Basie. 

Friday, February 28:

SantuRED BANK: While it admittedly ain’t Shakespeare, the interactive “environmental” phenomenon known as Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding can be said to be one of the most influential theatrical offerings in a generation — even indirectly spawning a stroll-through spin on Macbeth at a seedy Manhattan hotel.

Beginning tonight, and continuing for four more performances this weekend, lovebirds Tony Nunzio and Tina Vitale repeatedly renew their vows in a production presented by the Count Basie Theatre — hosted NOT at the venerable Monmouth Street venue, but practically next door, at the nearby Buona Sera Ristorante. It’s there that guests can “eat, drink, dance, converse and get caught up in the festivities” as they stand in for Tony n’ Tina’s various extended family members and frenemies. The comedy and the comedic “drama” unfold with seatings at 7:30 pm Friday, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturday, and 12 and 6 pm. Sunday. Tickets ($100) include the ceremony, reception, baked ziti dinner, champagne toast, wedding cake, music and dancing. A $150 VIP option includes a “classic Italian meal and seat up close to the action.” Check here for reservations, close to selling out as we post this — and toss that bouquet for some more great catches and matches, as we Mach it into March.

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Little Silver artist Mike Ciccotello at work creating a mural at Red Bank’s Salon Concrete, where his paintings will be on display with a show opening Saturday night. Diana Krall, below, returns to the Count Basie on her Glad Rag Doll tour, part of the Jazz at the Basie series. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, October 4:

krall-14b742a60245ed7ab16d252ae50f9da000b154ed-s6-c30RED BANK: Fans who recall Natalie Merchant from her gold- and platinum-plated tenure as frontwoman of the rock band 10,000 Maniacs might be pleasantly surprised by the silvery hair she’s sported on her current tour — as well as by her fronting an ever-changing array of symphony orchestras from town to town. When the singer takes to the Count Basie boards at 8 pm, she’ll be joined by the New Jersey Chamber Symphony for a concert that draws from her recent hit release, ‘Leave Your Sleep’ — a lushly arranged set of literary inspirations and expansive musical visions. Take it here for tickets.

NAVESINK: The bumper crop of Broadway shows in 1938 included not only ‘On Borrowed Time — currently onstage in a splendidly designed, handsomely realized production at Two River Theatre —but another folksy fantasy of life, love and devotion in a small town. Traditionally staged without props or scenery, Thornton Wilder’s classic ‘Our Town’ lends an avant-garde edge to its cross-section slice of sentimental Americana. Beginning tonight, the community troupe Stone Church Players presents the first of six performances at All Saints’ Memorial Church (the historic “Old Stone Church” at the crossroads of Navesink and Monmouth Aves). Michael McClellan directs a cast of 17 players in the show that continues weekends through October 13; take it here to reserve.

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Scenes from the 2009 edition of the Wooden Boat Festival. (Click to enlarge)


Since 1999, the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association has been hosting an annual Wooden Boat Festival, a community event that brings together water enthusiasts and amateur carpenters alike.

This weekend, the thirteenth edition of the boatbuilding event takes place behind the Fair Haven Fire House.

The goal: to build a canoe in six hours.

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rik-van-hemmenRik vanHemmen, author of the newly published “A Chronology of Boating On the Navesink.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


van-hemmen-coverRik van Hemmen has been all over the world and seen just about every major body of water worth experiencing, from his native Rotterdam, Holland to the  shores of Newport, Rhode Island — the long way and the short.

None has come close to the diversity of the Navesink River, he said, where one can drop a line in the water, hunt for ducks, spot an eagle, boat out to the Atlantic or jaunt up to New York City.

“I found out that the Navesink is really a unique piece of water,” said van Hemmen. “The core of it is it allows so much to be done that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Steeped in all things nautical, to say the least — marine consultant, engineer, boat builder and vice president of the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association —  51-year-old van Hemmen has an appreciation for the Navesink that’s unrivaled.

And he wants others to share his love for what he calls our area’s “zen garden.” So he wrote a book about it.

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maple-cove-sign1The Navesink Maritime Heritage Association donated the above sign to be installed at Maple Cove next weekend. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


Nature enthusiasts received a good sign earlier this week — both literally and figuratively — that the patch of land at the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank will become a dedicated kayak launch and natural area, as they’ve pushed hard for over the last year.

The one-acre parcel’s moniker, chosen by a pair of Red Bank Regional students last year, was made official Monday night, when representatives from the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association hauled up a heavy-looking cedar sign before the borough council and flashed it for the audience.

Gilded lettering in the center of the 8-foot-long sign reads “MAPLE COVE,” with two small stars vertically placed on each side. The sign is set to be installed at Maple Cove next Saturday, said NMHA official Charlie Ladoulis.

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