Off the Beaten Path NJ Beach – Sandy Hook National Park

Off the Beaten Path NJ Beach – Sandy Hook National Park

Big Sky, Seashell Designs + NYC on the Horizon

Once the spring sun starts coming out, we embark on one of my favorite traditions. We head to the beach, bundled up layers and all. The sky is as blue as the summer. The ocean and sand, seemingly untouched during the colder months, are ever constant. It doesn’t matter that the water is ice cold or that the air is still somewhat chilly. We go because the beach is as much an expansive playground as it is a brilliant space to be alone, with the first rays of spring warming the air and our faces.

We recently did just this, spending a day at Sandy Hook, our favorite beach in New Jersey. This place is off the beaten path in an area where it can feel like little else is. It’s a national park – albeit a narrow one – so you’re surrounded by sand and trees and bike paths, rather than development. And at the same time, you can see the NYC skyline as part of your beach view. Bustling life is close, but not too close. It’s easy to reach, but feels a far way off. Plus, you have the history of the island and its 250 year old lighthouse to boot.

But what made this visit so special wasn’t necessarily just the warm sun or the setting, although they were truly great. It was the simple moments my daughter and I spent together. Laughing. Exploring. Being.

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Sailing, New York City

Sailing, New York City

For my 30th birthday, we planned a champagne brunch sail around the Hudson River in NYC and a French-themed picnic with some friends + family in a local park. Fancy. I love being out on the water and our last attempt at operating a sailboat was laughably disastrous (more on that another time), so I was happy to sit back and let someone else navigate. But I’m often seeking an off-the-tourist-trail kind of experience and was worried this might not fit the bill. I was overjoyed this was not the case.

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Lautersee, Germany

Lautersee, Germany

We planned for a day hike out to Lautersee (lake) from our Mittenwald apartment. This time, best laid plans worked. We headed out along narrow streets lined with fresco-ed homes, carved wooden accent pieces, wide open screen-less windows, and yards full of flowers and lawn ornaments. This is Germany. We made our way up the steep incline and within a few minutes, at what felt to be a 35 degree angle, voila, we were above the entire town. It was really that quick.

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Mittenwald, Germany

Mittenwald, Germany

Our Inspiration

We had a fairly basic playbook for where we based most of our stays during this trip. Mountains, small Bavarian village, forests. Mittenwald hit them all. So for the last leg of our travels, we headed across the south of Eastern Germany and settled into a cozy apartment on the outskirts of town.

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Ramsau, Germany

Ramsau, Germany

Our Inspiration

I’d read about Ramsau on a travel forum and quickly added it to the reasons why we would need to stay in Berchtesgaden Land. It was described as a great place to visit for the day, with a beautiful church, babbling brook, and small shops along the streets. As it turns out, it is also home to a delightful apple strudel.

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