Jan 02, 2018

Overcoming the Winter Blues

By Ryan Edelson

Winter is here and it brought the snow; don’t let a little ice mess with your flow! The winter blues are definitely real, but there’s no reason to limit your “view from the front row” to gazing forlornly out the window. While Monmouth County is undeniably famed for its magical summers, it also deserves recognition for its wonderful winters.

Sandy Hook

While summertime is known for drawing crowds of locals and visitors toward Sandy Hook in Highlands and the beach boardwalks further south along the Jersey shore, you can be sure to find peaceful solace there this winter. Many people don’t think of visiting the beach during snowfalls, but in reality, it is one of the most captivating times to visit. Seeing the trees frosted and the sand turn from beige to white is something special that you can only see for a limited time each year.

Fishing

Since we are so fortunate to live near the water, we should never forget about fishing! There are dozens of groups here in New Jersey where people come together to go fishing. Don’t let a little cold air and frosty water discourage you; there are still plenty of clams, bluefish, and weakfish to be caught. Some popular fishing sites are Bayshore Waterfront Park in Port Monmouth, Hartshorne Woods Park in Atlantic Highlands, and Thompson Park in Lincroft. It is important to abide by New Jersey laws and regulations, as certain fish are not to be caught during certain seasons. Be sure to register before heading to the docks at www.NJ.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry/. If you want to try your luck at ice fishing, there are designated areas at Manasquan Reservoir, Thompson Park, and Turkey Swamp Park. Always check with park rangers before heading onto the ice.

Sledding

Good old classic fun! There’s nothing like hitting the local hills of Monmouth County for a snow-filled adventure. Whether you just unboxed your new sled from Amazon or you are riding the top of your garbage pail, either one yields perfect results when soaring down the hills. After asking residents from all over Monmouth County what their favorite sled spots were, it seems as though Holmdel Park, township parks, and the hilly grounds of some local schools and churches were the places to go. (Be sure to contact the property owner to see if they are sled-friendly before venturing out!) When snow is on the ground and conditions are safe, the sledding hill in Holmdel Park opens from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Skating

Indoor ice skating is one thing, but gliding across the ice amid an outdoor winter wonderland is quite another thing. After a week or so of freezing temperatures, signs that proclaim “Skating Today” will appear at Holmdel Park, Shark River Park in Wall, and Turkey Swamp Park in Freehold. Hours for ice skating are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Cross-Country Skiing

There’s no need to travel afar to put on some skis! At Thompson Park in Lincroft, groomed trails are open to cross-country skiers, as weather permits. Marked, ungroomed trails are available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Clayton Park in Upper Freehold, Hartshorne Woods Park in Middletown, Holmdel Park in Holmdel, Huber Woods Park in Middletown, Shark River Park in Wall, Tatum Park in Middletown, and Turkey Swamp Park in Freehold. (Important to note: the Monmouth County Park System’s Deer Management Program will be underway until February 17 at several of these sites.) You can even rent cross-country ski and snowshoe equipment at Thompson Park, Lincroft. Look for the Thompson Park Ski Hut, located next to the Three Barns Parking Area. Conditions permitting, rentals are available from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily through March 11. The cost is $20 to rent ski equipment and $15 for snowshoes, and they’re available on a first come, first served basis.

TeaScapes

Located at 68 First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, this place cannot be passed up! Winter is the perfect time to relax, so why not savor an eclectic cup of tea in your hand while nestled on a big comfy chair? They have networking events on Tuesdays, tea classes on Thursdays, and tons of essential necessities that any hot beverage drinker would desire. Seriously, this place is so cute you just have to check it out this season!

There’s plenty to do and so much to see when the grass turns to white after it’s been green (or perhaps autumn brown) for so long. Take these suggestions to heart when considering some options to help you overcome your winter blues. Get your friends and family together and make this season a time to never forget!