There are always plenty of things to do and places to see at a Gathering. This might be being involved in activities at the venue, or taking part in the international online hookup, or listening to music, or walking or exploring the local area. Some local highlights are listed below and other activities are listed on the Agenda page.
Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook
The Jersey Shore begins here. There are miles of beaches and dune trails, an historic lighthouse to climb (it’s the oldest operating lighthouse in the U.S.), and historic Fort Hancock to explore. This now decommissioned fort played an integral role in our nation’s defenses, and today its historic buildings are used for more peaceful purposes. Sandy Hook is a prime spot for birding, especially during the spring and autumn migrations. You can read about its history here.
The Twin Lights of the Navesink Lighthouse
These twin lighthouses perch on the highest point of the East Coast south of Maine. The Coastal Plains start here. About half an hour’s drive from Long Branch, the lighthouses can be climbed for a great view of Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook, and the towers of Manhattan. A small museum details the history and workings of this intriguing attraction. Read more here.
The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
Half an hour to the south, visit the Stone Pony Nightclub where Bruce Springsteen got his start and enjoy the newest generation of stars in the making.
913 Ocean Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ
Count Basie Theatre and Red Bank
The historic Count Basie Theatre is located in historic and charming Red Bank, a lovely drive along the Navesink River, not far from Long Beach. Red Bank boasts art galleries, antique shops, restaurants and parks. It can also be reached by NJ Transit trains from Long Branch. Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ. 732-842-9000.
Ocean Grove National Historic District
Further south, this family resort has beautiful Victorian architecture, the Great Auditorium concert hall, and sidewalk cafes along the seaside. A longtime religious retreat, it has picturesque “tent cottages” and is “bone dry” (alcoholically speaking).
When a large oceanside pier was destroyed by fire, the area was rebuilt as Pier Village. Just a few minutes’ walk from Ocean Place, this oceanfront dining and shopping area has dozens of casual and boutique shops and eateries ranging from cafes to upscale restaurants with stunning ocean views.