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Sandy Hook
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More on Sandy Hook Bay: Up the Shrewsbury River

Cottages right on the river provide interest for tourists taking a water taxi ride around town.
This 30 pounder may have won the fishing tournament for the smiling gent weighing in.

Coming out of the Atlantic Highlands harbor, directly ahead in the Southeast corner of the bay is the Shrewsbury River.  The entrance is well marked and the channel must be followed as the depths can drop off to 1 foot immediately outside the markers.  Across from the entrance is another delightful anchorage, Spermaceti Cove, with 16 to 20 feet of water surrounded by a shallow shelf.  Do not cut across to it!  Go in about half way between G9 and G11 before turning in.  Study the charts and watch yachtsmen with local knowledge before attempting it on your own.  There were massive and festively dressed raft ups anchored in there as we passed.  The really cool thing about anchoring there is that you can dinghy ashore, and walk a few feet across the hook to find yourself on a beautiful beach on the Atlantic ocean, with public facilities to boot.

You can also head farther up river past Highlands and do the same at Highlands Beach.  We anchored off Plum Island, which really isn’t an island, dinghyed ashore, and carefully crossed the highway.  The dunes are off limits but the beach is wide and there are public restrooms and showers as well as a snack bar.  Umbrella and beach chair rentals are also available.  One thing we didn’t really like were the elbow to elbow fishermen with their rods cast in the surf where young children were swimming.  That just doesn’t seem very safe. There are no lifeguards on these beaches so swimming is at your own risk.

There is also a beach on the river side and many people choose to picnic on the more protected shore where there are fewer restrictions about pets and consumption.  I would not, however, choose to swim in the river here.  With the volume of boats, the fishermen’s discarded fish parts, and the populous shores, I would prefer to swim in the Atlantic waters instead.

The beaches at Sandy Hook are national seashore treasures and just a short walk across the highway from the riverfront where we anchored.

The river is dotted with marina after marina, alternating with restaurants.  Many of the restaurants offer dock and dine, and some are night clubs with live music keeping the Jersey shore crowd occupied long into the night.  You could spend the whole week just exploring the little towns along the river.  You could head up the Navesink River to Rumson to hobnob with the upper crust or to Sea Bright for a taste of the quintessential Jersey shore experience. 

Or you could do what we did. Anchor out in the river and dinghy in for a nice lunch. We happened to stop into Bahr's which many of you may know by their private label canned gourmet soups, like lobster bisque, that are available in specialty shops and some supermarkets. The food here is really special and the activity level on the day of a local fishing tournament was a great source of entertainment.

The cool thing for us being seafarers on Long Island Sound was heading out for a sail on the ocean.  The line demarcating the territorial sea runs between Rockaway Point light and Sandy Hook light, and we delighted with a sail along the beaches on a nice 15-20 knot reach.  I remembered how I used to wonder when I was a child vacationing in Wildwood Crest who the people on the lovely sailboats were and where they were heading.  Now here I was onboard one of those sailboats hopefully providing the stimulus for ideas and dreams about faraway places to a new generation of kids on the beach.  What fun! 

Marinas, dock and dine restaurants, tackle shops, and night clubs abound along the shores.

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