Jul 02, 2020

My Visit to Sandy Hook

By Julia Mortimer

It was just another wonderfully warm and sunny day along the Jersey Shore, the type of weather that’s sinful not to take advantage of. With the sun shining and my pups passed out on the couch, I knew it was only right to take a drive over to Sandy Hook for a long walk with beach views.

I gently wake up my dogs, Cooper and Haddie, with their favorite word, “walk.” As the sound rings, their ears perked up and tails began to wag. I grabbed their leashes, and we headed out.

Possibly one of my favorite parts about going to Sandy Hook is the drive. Cruising down Navesink River Road and then the Sandy Hook Bridge, a sense of relief washed over me. The pups had their heads out the window, smelling the salty air in high anticipation for their walk.

We arrived at the pearly gates of Sandy Hook and boy, it was packed. It was evident that day that many people were ready for long summer days at the beach, waving goodbye to the days spent indoors. The pups and I found a spot surprisingly fast and just like that, our walk began. We were greeted by smiling faces on bikes, roller bladers gliding along the pavement and runners sweating it out on the scenic trail.

Multi-colored kite surfers’ kites sprinkled the air as they glided along and danced with the wind. It was fascinating to watch as they effortlessly lift into the air, and amazing that the pilots below had the strength to control the kites in the currents.

I strolled along, looking out at the New York City skyline ahead, the ocean and the bay, as Cooper and Haddie frantically sniffed and wagged their tails at passersby.

Cooper and Haddie’s paces began to slow in the hot sun as we made our way back to the car. A good walk along the beach is medicinal, really. Any stress, anxieties or worries are thrown out the window for that hour-long walk. My phone takes a much-needed rest in my pocket while I focus on my surroundings.

It was time for lunch – arguably, my favorite part of the day. In an effort to support local restaurants, I’ve been trying to get take-out from a variety of places, for as much as my wallet can stand it. That day, it was Off the Hook Restaurant and Bar in Highlands. Summer days call for fish tacos, of course, so I order the Mahi Mahi tacos.

After the seamless curbside pick-up and wonderful customer service, I head to the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club to eat on a bench. The tacos were amazing, with a delicious cilantro mayo that made my taste buds do the happy dance. I enjoyed lunch with a beautiful view of the Raritan Bay. Smiles were exchanged with those walking along, as we all appreciated the beautiful place we have the privilege of calling home.

I’ll be looking forward to more days like this throughout the summer.