ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS & HIGHLANDS

BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE

Happy Shoulder Season! September and October are prime times to enjoy shore pleasures with fewer crowds, free beaches, and moderating temperatures. Two separate but equally delightful adjacent towns epitomize what makes the North Shore a worldwide destination.

Atlantic Highlands a busy terminal for Sea Streak ferry service to and from New York City was named a “Great Place in New Jersey” in 2014 by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association. Steeped in maritime history, Highlands offers sweeping vistas of Sandy Hook and the New York skyline. James Fennimore Cooper set his 1930 novel, The Water Witch, in the Highlands Hills. Today, a local street and coffee shop perpetuate the lore.

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A winding, awesome Scenic Drive, capped by the Mt. Mitchell Scenic Overlook, connects the two locales in the actual “highlands,” while along the bay front at water level, the Henry Hudson Trail does the same. This “gateway” to the coastline is an ideal headquarters for excursions to points south.

Things to Do LET’S GO!’
(AH) ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS
(H) – HIGHLANDS

ANNUAL FALL CAR SHOW (AH) 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. October 6 (rain date Oct. 7). All of 1st Ave. will be taken over by classic cars, vendors, street food, and live music. 732.872.8711, atlantichighlands.org

Lash Spread

ATLANTIC CINEMA 5 (AH) Comfortable, renovated Old School movie house showing first run flicks. 82 1st Ave., 732.291.0148, atlaniccinemas.com

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ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS MUNICIPAL HARBOR (AH) Competing captains beckon arriving anglers and daytrip sailors to select their party boats, which arrive and depart frequently from this scenic marina with a large promenade, bait shop, two restaurants, and bench seating. Home of the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club. Simon Lake Dr., 732.291.1670, ahnj.com

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FARMERS’ MARKET (AH) 11: 00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every Friday through October, Veterans Park, 111 1st Ave. Rain or shine. 732.872.8711, atlantichighlands.org

HENRY HUDSON TRAIL/ POPAMORA POINT Spanning the waterfront from Atlantic Highlands to Highlands, this recently refurbished former railroad line, heavily damaged in Superstorm Sandy, accommodates bikers and hikers who soak in the glorious vistas. A small beach park is at the Highlands entrance at the end of Shore Drive, while the Atlantic Highland entrance is at the municipal harbor at the end of 1st Ave. 732.842.4000, Ext. 4312, monmouthcountyparks.com

MT. MITCHELL SCENIC OVERLOOK (AH) Monmouth County’s 9/11 Memorial is located at the highest point on the Atlantic Coast offering exceptional views of Sandy Hook Bay, New York City, and the East River. 460 Ocean Blvd., 732.872.0336, monmouthcountyparks.com

OKTOBERFEST (H) Traditional German music, dancing, activities, brewskis, vendors, and a Costume Contest at the waterfront Veteran’s Park. Free Admission and parking. 2:00 – 9:00 p.m., Saturday, October 7. 51 Bay Ave., highlandsnj.com

SEA STREAK FERRY (AH) Whether headed to work, Jersey beaches, the South Street Seaport, sporting events, or a variety of day trips and fall foliage excursions, the sleek fleet of Sea Streak gets voyagers there in style. Charters also available. 2 1st Ave., 800.262.8743, seastreak.com

STRAUSS MANSION MUSEUM (AH) Free self guided tours 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 10. This magnificent 1893 Victorian showpiece, owned by the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society, was built by Adolph Strauss of the Abraham & Strauss Department Stores. Special and musical events. 27 Prospect Circle, 732.291.1861, ahhistory.org

TWIN LIGHTS STATE HISTORIC SITE (H) One of the most visible landmarks of the East Coast is even more interesting on the inside where views compete with historic lore. The lighthouse and museum overlook Sandy Hook Bay. 2 Light House Rd., 732.872.1814, twinlightslighthouse.com

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS ARTS COUNCIL (AH) Exhibits, classes, gift boutique. 54 1st Ave., 732.291.1260, aharts.org

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Shop UNTIL YOU DROP
BAY AVENUE BAKERY AND CAFÉ (H) Fresh hand rolled bagels, famous crumb cake and scones, special occasion, and savory delicacies. 111 Bay Ave., 732.291.3480, bayavenuecafe. wordpress.com

BUNGALOW ROAD (AH) Shore themed clothing, accessories, gifts, and home products. 78 1st Ave., 732.291.2541, Bungalowroad.com

FLAKY TART (AH) A consistent award winner offering eye popping artisan confections and savory options. 145 1st Ave., 732.291.2555, theflakytart.com

FLOWER EXPRESS (AH) Family owned favourite for arrangements, gifts, and special occasion needs. 72 1st Ave., 732.291.8300, flowerexpressofnj.com

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GIANNI’S ITALIAN SPECIALTY FOODS (AH) A Dean Martin statue on the counter welcomes epicureans to a world of imported and authentic Italian eats and products. Butcher, pizzeria, delivery. 71 1st Ave., 732.291.5678, Facebook

IN THE GARDEN (H) Regulars love this florist, plant, and accessories shop that offers an array of classes and programs, plus consultations for home or office. 69 Water Witch Ave., 732.291.0311, inthegardennj.com

KRANKY’S CYCLES (H) Experienced sales, services, and rentals. 321 Bay Ave., 732.291.1166, krankycycles.com

RENAISSANCE (AH) Discover antique treasures, gifts, books, art, holiday items, and more from a dozen vendors inside the bright red doors. 81 1st Ave., 732.291.9101, Facebook

SHERMAN JEWELERS (AH) Custom pieces, repairs, and popular collections including the Jersey Shore Collection. 85 1st Ave., 732.872.8222, shermanjewelersah.com

TOM’S ATLANTIC CYCLERY (AH) Continuously operating since 1961, this spacious independent bike dealer sells top brands, copious accessories, and offers top mechanics and expert advice. 188 1st Ave., 732.291.2664, atlanticcyclery.com

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DIG IN!
BAHR’S LANDING (H) A family owned dock & dine waterfront gem with an adjacent marina has been serving loyal customers since 1917. Nautical atmosphere, primo views, a gift shop, and outdoor Tiki bar in season. 2 Bay Ave., 732.872.1245, bahrslandingnj.com

BAY POINTE INN (H) Award winning restaurateur Joe Amiel’s latest creation sits on a marina adjacent to a new highend townhouse complex. Large deck in season, piano bar inside. 1 Willow St., 732.629.8000, joesbayhpointeinn.com

CHILANGO’S AUTHENTIC MEXICAN (H) This colorful café is helmed by a native of Mexico City serving expert dishes and 260 different tequilas. 272 Bay Ave., 732.708.0505, chilangosnj.com

CHILANGO’S AUTHENTIC MEXICAN (H) This colorful café is helmed by a native of Mexico City serving expert dishes and 260 different tequilas. 272 Bay Ave., 732.708.0505, chilangosnj.com

COPPER CANYON (AH) Located in the Blue Bay Inn boutique hotel, this stylish dining spot specializes in South western cuisine and tequila offerings. 51 1st Ave., 732.291.8444, thecoppercanyon.com

HARBORSIDE GRILL & WINE BAR (AH) Downstairs, a casual tavern style eatery with fish tank, fireplace, and outdoor porch. Upstairs, the elegant Wine Bar loft, open Thursdays through Saturdays, features cabaret shows, a baby grand piano, and a varied menu. 40 1st Ave., 732.291.0066, ahwinebar.com

INLET CAFÉ (H) Once a neighbourhood clam hut with 99¢ pitchers of beer, the Inlet transformed over the years into a sophisticated seafood dining experience with direct Sandy Hook views. Outdoor patio. 3 Cornwall St., 732.872.9764, inletcafe.com

KUNYA SIAM THAI RESTAURANT (AH) Warm corner location houses authentic Thai food with gluten free options. 99 1st Ave., 732.291.2397, kunyasaim.com

NICHOLAS CREAMERY (AH) Opened in May by restaurateur Nicholas Harary with recipes made using local ingredients. 84 1st Ave., 732.204.2340, nicholascreamery.com

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ON THE DECK (AH) With its large deck and window walled interior, this lively 2nd floor joint adjacent to the Sea Streak ferry and municipal harbor is a view fest. Live music, too. 10 Simon Lake Dr., 732.872.1424, onthedeckrestaurant.com

PORCINI (H) Well prepared and beautifully plated award winning Italian specialties, seafood dishes, and decadent desserts. BYOB. 168 Bay Ave., 732.291.3080, restaurantporcini.com

SEAFARER (H) Opened last year, this unique venue occupies the site of the former Clam Hut, washed away by Super storm Sandy. Still evolving, the outdoor venue has a bar, sandy seating, tents, firepits, a large deck, food trucks, music, and dock and dine for boaters. 1 Atlantic Ave., 732.492.5669, Facebook

SISSY’S AT THE HARBOR (AH) Breakfast and lunch spot directly below the On the Deck restaurant with an ample covered deck in season. 8 Simon Lake Dr., 732.291.2218, Facebook

THE PROVING GROUND (H) The former Windansea has changed hands and undergone a facelift including the installation of new docks for dock and dine. The name honors Sandy Hook’s past as an active military base. The outdoor Tiki bar on the large water level patio and live music remain. 56 Shrewsbury Ave., 732.872.2266, provingground.com

WATER WITCH (H) This eclectic community gathering place offers music, art exhibitions, and more. Also check out the site for “Water Witch Sessions” live performance music videos. 67 Waterwitch Ave., 732.204.2468, waterwitchcoffee.com

ZOE’S VINTAGE KITCHEN (AH) Drenched in fun 1950s kitsch, this charming eatery serves breakfast and brunch. 77 Center Ave., 732.708.9637, Facebook

Lights OUT
BLUE BAY INN (AH) This premier 27 room boutique hotel is close to the waterfront in the midst of the downtown action. Includes the popular Copper Canyon restaurant and the Gaslight gastropub. 51 1st Ave., 732.708.9600, bluebayinn.com

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SEA SCAPE MANOR BED AND BREAKFAST (H) Nestled on a bluff overlooking Sandy Hook and the ocean, this charming 1889 inn exudes casual elegance. Co-owner Gloria Miller also serves as Manor Chef. 732.291.8467, seascapemanorbb.com

SUMMERHOUSE (H) Opened last year, the ten renovated cottages (surrounding a main home and a graceful courtyard) in this atypical complex offers modern style in a vintage setting in proximity to ferries, waterfront restaurants, and Sandy Hook. 30 Jackson St., 3 Grand Tour, 732.245.7523, njsummerhouse.com I