During my trip to Annapolis, Maryland at the beginning of August, I found out about the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey, which was held this past weekend. I ended making up my own ‘New Jersey lighthouse challenge‘ at the end of August, where I visited all the lights along the Jersey shore, but there were a couple that I had gotten to before they were open to the public. So I planned this trip to go back to the Sea Girt and Sandy Hook lights, and also some of the lights on Staten Island. I also found out about a disc golf course in Brooklyn, so after flying in and staying in Newark Friday night, I headed out Saturday morning into New York and over to Prospect Park. It took me awhile to find the course in the huge park, but I did manage to play about 5 holes before getting completely lost. I decided to move on instead of aimlessly searching for the other golf holes and drove down to Coney Island.
I was hoping to see the Coney Island light, but the security guard at the gate that leads to the light denied me access due to the light not being in very good shape. So I ended up taking a stroll along the boardwalk at Coney Island beach, which reminded me of Wildwood, New Jersey. I then headed over the bridge to Staten Island, where I stopped at Fort Wadsworth for some breath-taking views of the fort and downtown New York. There also happens to be a lighthouse on one of the fort walls, similar to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. I thought about staying a little longer to do the tour of the fort, but decided to continue on.
I then drove up to St. George to catch the free ferry across to Manhattan for some great views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. After arriving back on Staten Island, I headed south to check out the Staten Island Range lighthouse. I then continued south to Great Kills Park for some views of the West Bank Light. Afterwards, I made my way to Mount Loretto Unique Area and hiked by the Princes Bay Lighthouse towards the southern end of the island. I also stopped by Conference House Park for another view of the Great Beds light in New Jersey, which I had viewed on my previous New Jersey trip, but from the Jersey side.
I next drove back into New Jersey and over to Princeton Junction to play the beautiful disc golf course at Mercer County Park. There were deer everywhere, and even though I didn’t bring my camera while I played, I did go back and get it after the round for some great pictures of the many deer throughout the park. I then made my east to Cranbury where I had a great stuffed pork chop at the Cranbury Inn before retiring for the night at a local hotel.
I woke up early Sunday morning to walk around the historic section of Cranbury before heading over to a private disc golf course, where I had made plans to meet up with a few local golfers. The course was very fun to play and the guys couldn’t have been cooler. Plus it was nice to have some friendly competition after playing all the other courses by myself. Turns out that each golfer has his own private course and one of them invited me to play his course next just down the road in Hightstown. After another fun round at another homemade course, I continued east to play a couple more disc golf courses, one in Manalapan and the other in Freehold. They were quite the let-down after the two cool morning courses, and I played each 9-hole course in 20 minutes.
I next made my way to the Jersey shore and Sea Girt, where I got to climb the lighthouse there. When I last here a few months earlier, I couldn’t even find a parking space and was only able to get a quick pic of the light. So it was nice to finally get out and not only go inside the light, but also explore the small beach town and all the cool houses there. My last stop of my trip was at Sandy Hook, which I also previously visited in August. Again, I got to finally go to the top of this historic light and it was great to visit this beautiful part of the state, where you can look across the water to see downtown New York.