Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sandy Hook National Park Bike Ride

“Among the many thousands of things that I have never been able to understand, one in particular stands out. That is the question of who was the first person who stood by a pile of sand and said, "You know, I bet if we took some of this and mixed it with a little potash and heated it, we could make a material that would be solid and yet transparent. We could call it glass." Call me obtuse, but you could stand me on a beach till the end of time and never would it occur to me to try to make it into windows.” --
Bill Bryson
So we took a drive down to Sandy Hook to spend the day riding our bike by the sea. For those of you in other parts of the world or just not familiar with Sandy Hook, it is a National Park.  Sandy Hook is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area in the New York / New Jersey Area.  Sandy Hook jets out into the lower New York Bay, just below Brooklyn.  Fortunately for my family it is only about an hours drive away from our house. 
Sandy Hook Coast Guard
One of the best things about Sandy Hook is the bike path.  It is over a five mile loop interconnected with very low traffic park streets.  You can ride your bike around Sandy Hook all day without getting bored.  There are some nice shady parts of the path through patches of trees and other parts of the path running along the ocean with fantastic views of the Sea, passing ships and New York City.
There are a ton of things on Sandy Hook to keep a family entertained.  This time of year the beach still has a cold wind that keeps most people off of it, but in the summer it is beautiful. For the more intrepid there is Gunnison Beach (clothing optional).  There’s an old light house or you can ride you bike or walk around Fort Hancock (closed Army base with many relics from World War II).  There are hiking trails and old gun batteries and the “proving grounds” to explore and old Army missiles are scattered around the park on display.  Sandy Hook base was the site of a Cold War Nike Missile installation (guided tours are available including the Radar installations still in good condition).   At the north end of the island is an active US Coast Guard base (normally off limits to the public).
Sandy Hook Beach NJ

National Park Service Sandy Hook Web Site
SandyHook National Park
Short Video Clips from yesterdays bike ride:

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