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A Trip to Sandy Hook
In 2021, we embarked on our first road trip to the Jersey Shore, despite living more than an hour away from the nearest New Jersey beach. The motivation for this journey was a combined feeling of restlessness from being cooped up at home and our desire to embark on a scenic drive.
One of my personal goals has been to visit a few lighthouses, and pictures of Fort Hancock frequently popping up on my Instagram feed added to this desire. Thus, it seemed like the ideal time for a trip to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. This quaint Army village and its historical lighthouse awaited us, promising an enriching experience.
The weather was splendid for January, with temperatures pleasantly hovering around the low 50s. It provided an excellent opportunity to combine a beach trip with a history lesson. Our drive was seamless, devoid of any traffic, and we arrived at our destination punctually, as predicted by the GPS.
This was my first time at Sandy Hook Beach, but I knew that they typically charge for parking during busy hours. Surprisingly, we didn’t have to pay for parking on this visit. Even with the cold weather, quite a few people were at the beach.
It appeared that many of us shared a need for a change of scenery from our usual home environments. The strong winds made me wish I had brought a hat and gloves. Luckily, the sun was shining brightly, providing some needed warmth. Had I dressed more suitably for the cold, I would have enjoyed staying longer to explore more of the surroundings.
I am passionate about exploring and capturing images of deserted locales, which made this experience incredible. The azure ocean water was breathtaking, mirrored by an equally vibrant blue sky. People were actively enjoying the trails, cycling, or strolling along.
A handful of daring individuals could even be seen windsurfing on the ocean waves, showing courage as the water temperature is currently quite chilly.
We managed to secure a parking spot directly opposite the lighthouse. We spent about an hour wandering around the vicinity. Occasionally, my mind would drift back to the time when this base was bustling with military activity.
I tried to imagine soldiers carrying out their day-to-day tasks. I pictured someone strolling along the beach, soaking in the splendor of the sunrise or sunset. I also contemplated what it might have been like for a child to grow up in such a unique setting.
Fort Hancock is the former United States Army fort at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Fort Hancock provided coastal defense for New York Harbor from 1895 until 1974. In 1874 the Sandy Hook Proving Ground was established as a weapons testing area, primarily for coast defense weapons. During the height of the Cold War, the fort housed Nike missiles prepared to intercept warplanes threatening New York City.
Hancock’s Women’s Army Corps
Fort Hancock consisted of 32 yellow brick buildings with green woodwork. This included the officer’s quarters, barracks, Bachelor Officers’ Quarters, post headquarters, a hospital, a guardhouse, a quartermaster storehouse, and a bakery.
Building 25 holds a special place in history. During World War II, it was home to the 70 female Fort Hancock’s Women’s Army Corps (WAC) detachment recruits. Women were expected to be in good health. They were not given jobs that required heavy labor or exertion.
WACs’ educational requirements were to earn a high school diploma, while men could enter the service without one. They wanted to serve and defend the United States just as the men were doing.
For more information before visiting, please visit the following websites: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hancock,_New_Jersey
Sandy Hook Lighthouse
The Sandy Hook Lighthouse was built in 1764 and is the oldest working lighthouse in the United States. The lighthouse is located at 85 Mercer Rd, Highlands, NJ 07732. The lighthouse is currently closed for entry. Sandy Hook Lighthouse consists of 95 steps.
The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest existing lighthouse tower in the United States that remains in active service. This lighthouse complex, comprised of the main tower and two additional beacon lights situated approximately a mile apart, is managed by a single keeper. The whole system uses 32 lamps and reflectors to guide ships.
Check out my visit to some lighthouses! https://thetravelingaquarian.com/2019/08/13/lighthouses-of-new-jersey/
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