As kids, my husband and I found we shared a common thread with this area - our families took us there A LOT! And now, we take our daughter too...
It's a beautiful state park - hundreds of acres of trails lined with ocean views and wildlife galore!
There's also a beautiful light house and, Fort Hancock, an old US military site which is no longer in use, but has so much history.
We were lucky enough to find an amazing guide this weekend who showed us one of the Batteries - where artillery was loaded and ready to go...And though a single shot was never fired, there was A LOT of gunpowder in this facility. Later, it housed missiles...like the ones used in WWII . Luckily, we never had to use them, the missiles from Fort Hancock, and when our guide told us just what those missiles were, my husband and I felt a little surge go through us.
As children, we played on those beaches. Walked the trails. Watched boats. We swam and had picnics. Long nights of gazing up at the stars. At the same time, in a blocked and secured area (now open to the public) , nuclear missiles sat , ready to be launched, or sold... , just a few miles of beach away...
My daughter watches out of an old observatory window from the Battery Potter.
Delapidated deck of the Battery Potter observatory. In the distance is the light house.
Weeds & Wildflowers grown through the cracks of the Battery Observatory Deck.
Our visits to Sandy Hook and Fort Hancock now have more meaning. And we know we'll be back for a swim and few good trails. We'll also return to share the history of this amazing place with our daughter. As children and grandchildren of military fathers and grandfathers, my husband and I feel a special bond to this area. Watching buildings, like Battery Potter, and so many other pieces of amazing architecture, saddens us. But having guides, volunteers and organizations keep this area open and alive is so important.
There are some great links to find out more about this fascinating area:
The Gateway - National Parks Service has lots of info, documents and resources
The Sandy Hook Foundation also has a number of resources and events.