Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Brush with Florence and Some Historic Twins

September 18-19, 2018
Jersey City, New Jersey

We've been keeping an eye on Hurricane Florence as we move south along the east coast. Our planned route will eventually take us into the Carolinas, provided the flooding doesn't do long-term damage. Reduced to a tropical depression as she moves inland and then north, Florence dumps buckets on us for most of Tuesday.

We're out in the morning to see the local NFL stadium, getting caught in the beginning of the storm before we make it back home. 


A shared stadium for Jets and Giants, we have now been to the home of 16 NFL teams. Somehow we missed Foxborough (oops).

Today it's the Jets' stadium, with their green seen everywhere.

We find one sign that the Giants also play here. 

This weird monstrosity next to the stadium is a multi-failed entertainment venue called Xanadu. It's definitely an eye sore.

Ghost sentinels call us home.
The rain comes fast and hard.



In minutes we're fording the intersections.

Back home it looks like this for hours - still 75 degrees.

Once it stops, things dry out quickly under blue skies.
The on-site restaurant closed for the season the day we arrived, so we walk a couple blocks to the Taphaus. A small but tasty menu with a good selection of local brews. It is still surprisingly warm on our walk home, and the city lights are beautiful.


One World Trade Center across the harbor.
Wednesday is the day I planned to return to the city to see the 9/11 Museum. With temps and humidity expected to be in the high 80's, I'm less enthusiastic. Our friend Kelly, a New Jersey native and fellow nomad, recommended a couple places to visit which sound much better. Let's go see!

From the busy highways surrounded by big cities, we make our way to the Jersey Shore. Our goal is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the U.S. At 250 years old, she's still a beauty. 

We're surprised to find her on the grounds of historic Fort Hancock. There are large battlements along the shore and several structures. Another surprise is the "For Lease" signs on the old officers' quarters. Many are in bad shape, some are restored, and even more are "in between". A couple show signs of residency. Certainly the waterfront location is beautiful, but it is still a strange feeling place to call home.


The light and the keeper's house are lovingly maintained.

A short film about the fort is shown in a dusty little outbuilding. 

103' looking over a mile to the water of Lower New York Bay.

The border battlements.

Beginning new lives as private residences.

Most need a lot of work first.

Nice front porch views.
A quick stop at the Jersey Shore. Surprisingly busy on this post-Labor Day Wednesday.
Until we saw the two in Maine, we didn't know there were any twin lighthouses. Kelly includes a beautiful pair in her recommendations. Connected by a long brick building, they look more like an old castle on the hill. 


Navesink Twin Lights - too wide to capture both in one pic.

Constructed in 1828 and active into the 1940's. 

During remodeling construction in 1861, this cannon was found buried on the site. 1756 is inscribed, but the origin remains a mystery.

In 1893 the site made history unrelated to it's life as a lighthouse. This was the site chosen for the first official reading of the Pledge of Allegiance as the country's oath of loyalty. The fascinating history also includes first telegraph messages, and initial radar testing by the army.

The beautiful oil house now holds one of the two first Fresnel lens (installed in each of the twin light towers) in the U.S. 

What is it about these beauties that captivates us?
Many thanks to Kelly for a great day. We wrap it up with one final recommendation - Mike's for fantastic subs!


A new building after the original was lost to Hurricane Sandy. "Streamers of yellow police tape fluttered across much of Keyport, from Mike’s Submarine Shop, which had been torn in half, to the town’s brick shoreline promenade."

This is a "half" cut in half!
I highly recommend making this stop at Liberty Harbor. In fact I'd want to spend twice as much time here. I'd just aim for a less humid time of year!

Thursday we stay in New Jersey, but find a completely different world.





17 comments:

  1. I have to remember your blog is frequently posted after you've left an area--I thought to myself when seeing the title, "huh, Hurricane Florence isn't still happening is it????" :) :) Loved your lighthouse photos!

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    1. And I'm even more behind than usual! That's why I have the dates and location at the top of each post, although I write in present tense so it gets confusing :-)

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  2. Me too on the lighthouse photos. Love the architecture on the twins. I feel as if it rained all summer long with and without hurricanes. Very interesting about the officers' quarters. I'd think they'd have to pretty much give them away to cover renovation costs.

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    1. They must be renovating them first as they're for lease and not purchase. It can't be cheap!

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  3. The architecture on the twins is really remarkable, Jodee. Glad Florence was nothing more than a heavy rain for you. Looks like another one is brewing in the Gulf, so we both might be dealing with that.

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    1. I've been watching the other storms as they've come up the last several weeks. Thankfully most have missed the mainland. Fingers crossed this one does the same. That twin lighthouse is a must-see!!

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  4. I love visiting the east coast but when winter is around the corner, it's the much warmer south I prefer.

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    1. We are so sick of hot temps, we'd welcome a bit of that eastern cold weather right now :-)

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  5. Love your header photo! And the ghost sentinel is awesome!!! You certainly had rain for your trip home that afternoon. It seems the east has some of the worst humidity ever and it won't leave. You are finding lots of interesting places on your journey along the coast.

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    1. We were talking yesterday about how you two had bad humidity when you were over here months ago!! Can't imagine having to live in this for so long - at least we may have a break at the end of the month at last. That ghost photo surprised me as I didn't see them when I took the pic of the clouds!!

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  6. Great narrative! I'm also glad Florence didn't rain harder on you two. We have family that have a home near the beach in SC. They got super lucky, just having some minor roof damage which is repairable. But it was definitely nerve wracking for them for awhile! Not being able to do all you had hoped to do while in the area gives you another reason to go back one day.

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    1. Looks like we're going catch the edge of Michael as well :-) I already want to go back and see more!!

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  7. Glad you missed the worse of the weather. If private parties didn't renovate those quarters they'd probably be torn down. Awesome old lighthouses.

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    1. I have to read more about those houses as they're not being bought by the new residents, they're being leased. Could have been a private company that bought them and is renovating. It would have been sad to see them torn down.

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  8. Your lighthouse photos are wonderful! I'm excited about seeing the East Coast lighthouses next fall. I agree with you, there's something mesmerizing about the Fresnel lenses. I'm so sorry you've had so much humidity and rain into the fall. That's just not right. :-( You guys take care, and stay away from those storms!!

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    1. The variety of structures and locations makes the east coast lights such a treat! With parks closing in mid-October in the north, it's challenging to stay in the sweet weather spot. I'm thinking Spring may be a better time! Another tropical storm for us on Friday, then hoping that's the end of it!

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  9. So happy you enjoyed a bit of NJ history! Forget now if I mentioned, but we grew up in the next town across the bay from where you had lunch. If you looked out from the bulkhead and looked to the left - that’s my home town! Makes my heart smile that you liked Mike’s! We’ve been having subs there since - forever!

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