KenR, October 2004:
Atlantic Highlands to Highlands to Sea Bright one-way
On an off-season weekday in October I started skating from Avenue
D near Rt 36, which is by the east end of the Henry Hudson Rail
Trail -- sort of between Leonardo and Atlantic Highlands. After
going north a ways on Avenue D, I turned east on Bay Av into the
business center of Atlantic Highlands. Atlantic Highlands was nice:
near the water, several food options, ferry to/from Manhattan,
public toilets near ferry.
Ocean Blvd was a long climb going east, but I thought it was a
worthy climb I'd like to do again: mostly rather smooth pavement,
reasonably wide traffic lane, often with some shoulder. Around three
steeper sections, but mostly a moderate-grade climb. Interesting
variations of curves and slopes, and some views. Tthen at the top of
the climb just off the road is the reward of the great viewpoint of
Mt Mitchell, where I could see across the water of the Bay all the
way to Manhattan and Long Island.
Continued down to the end of the road, then east on high-speed
high-traffic Rt 36 a short ways -- reasonably wide east-bound
shoulder, though with a couple of entrance ramps to handle. Left at
traffic light onto Linden Av and down a significant hill with a turn
and a couple of intersections, finishing with a mod-steep downhill
into an intersection. Right on Bay Av into Highlands, the Left onto
some side streets to Shrewsbury Av, which was nice along the shore.
I crossed the water ("Shrewsbury River") east on Rt 36, by first
going under the bridge, then up the entrance ramp and onto the main
bridge. There's steel open grate section at the middle of the bridge
roadway so I skated on the wide concrete sidewalk, then down to the
shoulder of Rt 36 South (which was straightforward).
Then I thought I'd find out how it is to go from
the bridge into the Sandy Hook park area, so I followed signs
north to the Park entrance (which seemed straightforward). I
remembered there's a nice paved off-road trail there, but I
decided not to skate on it that day, and instead turned around
followed the signs for Rt 36 South. This required crossing a lane
of traffic on an uphill climb -- could get tricky if there had
been a lot of traffic. Going west from Sandy Hook to Highlands
looked like it would have been more straightforward.
Then I just skated on the south-bound shoulder of Rt 36 to Sea
Bright. Mostly the shoulder was at least 2 feet wide and reasonably
paved. I remember sometimes some rocks. No view of the ocean because
there's a high "sea wall" along the east side of the rroad through
that whole section. Lots of traffic, so it wasn't fun, but I skated
narrow sometimes and was careful about rocks and bad pavement, and I
made it through to Sea Bright with no problem.
Connecting Atlantic Highlands and Sandy Hook to the rest
of the Jersey Shore: Since there's some nice skating and views in
Sandy Hook park and in Atlantic Highlands with access from the Ferry
from New York City -- and there's some rather pleasant skating thru
Deal -- what about a tour that includes both?
The obvious connection is Rt 36 from Highlands to Long Branch.
This section of of Rt 36 has mostly a reasonable shoulder -- thought
it's usually not wide enough for full skating freedom, and of course
there are some bad spots with rocks or rough pavement, and the
shoulder is sometimes is taken over by entrance/exit ramps. The two
problems are: (a) There's not much of an alternative for south-north
travel in this section, so Rt 36 carries a lot of traffic. (b) The
sea wall blocks any view of the ocean that might be a compensating
I'm willing to endure these 5+ miles in order to make a one-way
tour from the ferry to a train station. But not twice in one day as
part of and tour that returns to its start point -- but perhaps
there's an alternate route inland between Long Branch and Atlantic
October 2004: Long Branch to Bradley Beach one-way
On an off-season weekday in October I skated from Long Branch
south to Bradley Beach.
I started skating south on Ocean Av to Asbury Park: very wide and
mostly rather nice pavement going thru Deal. Looks like there are
other nice streets to explore to the west inland, if wanted to see
something different on the other half of loop route.
Asbury Park: Ran into very rough pavement in south-bound
lane of shore road (Ocean Av?) coming into Asbury Park. So I went
back and tried going the other way west a little, and the Park Av
bridge over the lake had a good surface.
Then I got the idea of exploring Deal Lake more,
so I went further west to Interlaken and Wannamassa, and found a
creative bakery called Grieco's Bakeshoppe on Wickapecko Dr near
Sunset. I liked skating out along north side of the lake, but I
didn't found much good skating on Sunset and other roads coming
back along the south side of Deal Lake.
From going south on Park Av, I shifted west over to Grand Av.
Soon I reached a lake, and it looked pretty, so I skated all the way
around it, which was nice, and along the way gave me a view of an
interesting building towards the shore. So until the shore area of
Asbury Park gets renovated more, I'd prefer to skip that and aim my
skating route to enjoy the lake instead.
I continued south on Grand Av to its end (though I think I could
have turned left one block before that), then a little east to find
a footbridge over the water into Ocean Grove.
Ocean Grove: I saw some interesting archictecture, so
instead of going directly to the shore, I skated a bit
south-southwest to the Auditorium area. Then east on a sidewalk in
thru an open park to the shore -- nice enough, with boardwalk with
signs for "No Rollerblading". Explored back inland again and
discovered that Main Ave has some nice food options and other shops.
Then back to the shore again and south to hit Fletcher Lake, west
along that to a road across it into Bradley Beach.
Bradley Beach: The street east along Fletcher Lake to the
shore had lots of coarse-stone pavement. The shore was pretty, but
the road along it had mostly rather-coarse-stone pavement --
definitely not fun for my skating. I recommend finding some other
skating route south thru Bradley Beach. But the road along the
north side of Sylvan Lake at the south end of town was mostly pretty
smooth -- so maybe that could be included in a route south to reach
Avon-by-the-Sea. The many food options for Bradley Beach seemed to
be mostly out on Rt 71. Which is also the location of the NJ Transit
KenR, October 2004: Bay Head
- Seaside Heights - Island Beach Park one-way
On an off-season weekday in
October I skated from the Bay Head Junction train station (NJ
Transit) south to the end of the road in Island Beach State Park.
There were some good parts, some bad parts, some boring parts.
Overall I didn't feel like the percentage of good parts to make me
want to skate again much south past Lyman Av or Princeton Av. And
the whole "aesthetic" justification for the route is weak, because
the road does not go all the way to the south end of Island Beach --
so you don't get to see much of the next barrier island south, Long
Beach Island. And the last few miles of road are kinda boring
The good: Bay Blvd alongside the water of Barnegat Bay from
Lavalette to Seaside Heights; the Seaside Heights boardwalk; Lake Av
- Barnegat Av from Osborne Av in Bay Head to Mantoloking; Bay View
Av in Berkeley and South Seaside Heights.
The bad: Coarse-stone
pavement of much of the wide Rt 35 South shoulder.
Island Beach Park road straight with few features, unless you're
into the subtleties of bushes and sand; and much of Rt 35 South.
From the Bay Head Junction train station, we liked Osborne Av,
turned Right onto the eastern Lake Av and took this south onto
Clayton and Barnegat , all the way to Princeton Av (mostly good
pavement, but a few blocks coarse-stone in the middle).
Rt 35 South to Lavalette, much of shoulder was coarse-stone.
Fortunately the traffic was light, so I was able to skate on the
reasonably-smooth traffic lane some of the time when there were no
vehicles coming behind me. I would not ever want to do this section
in normal traffic conditions where I might have to skate in that
shoulder almost the whole time.
I checked out two alternatives to the east side
of Rt 35: Ocean Terrace in Normandy Beach around Seventh Av to
Jacobsen had coarser stone than the Rt 35 shoulder in that
section. Sea View Rd near Tuna Way in Chadwick/Normandy was all
dirt -- but perhaps it will be paved sometime.
At the traffic light at Ortley Av, I turned right onto Bay Blvd,
which had mostly smooth pavement and nice water views right next to
At Eisenhower Av I turned Left, then Right onto Rt
35 South, and continued Straight onto Central Av when Rt 35 curved
away west to the bridge over the bay. A couple of blocks with
sections with no shoulder, but it worked out OK for me in the light
traffic that day.
(? perhaps instead, skating against traffic in
the shoulder of Rt 35 North and continuing straight south onto
Boulevard might have worked? I don't know, I didn't try it.)
Left onto Hiering Av, and it was somewhat coarse-stone, so I soon
found a ramp to get up on the Boardwalk -- wood boards in reasonably
good condition, interesting feeling to skate on the boards,
different views of the ocean and tourist shops. After the shops
ended, it was concrete "boards", and a little further I got off and
continued south on Ocean Terrace.
Turned Right on "I" Street, went
west on this all the way to its end, then Left on Bay View Av, south
all the way to it's end (mostly good pavement, and more water
views). Left on 24th Av, Right on Central Av to the entrance gate to
Island Beach State Park
Fee charged for motor vehicle entrance and parking, but not for
bicyclists (or skaters). The park road has signs indicating
bicycling, and there is a reasonable shoulder on both sides, usually
at least 2 feet wide. Pavement is mostly reasonable in traffic lanes
and shoulders, there of course there are some cracks and stones and
other irregularities sometimes. Almost all flat and straight.
And not much to see out to either side -- except thousands and
thousands of low bushes and sand dune plants -- you can't see the
water from the road.
There are several places with parking for
beach access. Perhaps the best one for skaters is somewhere in the
middle, where there are two board-paths for wheelchair access to the
water views: one to the ocean and one to the bay, with a
white-painted cross-walk on the road connecting between them. I also
saw a board-path at Swimming area #1, but there was more sand on its
boards. The beach access at the south end of the road requires
walking in sand in order to get to see the water, and the view their
didn't seem any better than the board-path views a few miles closer
to the entrance.
For me, a more satisfying skating goal would be
to reach the Seaside Heights boardwalk after enjoying Bay Blvd.
Michele, June 2004:
Belmar evening skates
We have a short, social skate in Belmar on Tuesdays
and Fridays leaving 7pm on Ocean Ave and Tenth. In front of the
Mayfair Hotel. We usually do dinner afterwards and on Fridays hang
out. see www.belmarskatinggroup.com for more info.
Ken, June 2004: new off-road
path at Sandy Hook
The new 5.5-mile paved path in the Sandy Hook
park is beautiful. Thanks to an alert from Michele, I got to skate
Sandy Hook is a narrow spit of sand sorta visible down south
across the mouth of New York Harbor from Brooklyn and Staten Island.
There's a few miles that would have to be travelled on the roads
(mostly with shoulders, but perhaps some tricky sections) to get to
this new path from the train or ferry from Manhattan.
Best part is not far from the Park entrance where the path rose a
little higher than the road and I was skating in the middle of the
waters, the bay on one side and the ocean on the other.