About 1.8 miles SW, as the crow flys, behind the twin lights, lies the house I grew up in, says Google Maps. The Highlands bluff rises about 300 feet, and some say it is the highest point on the East coast
On it sits the Twin Lights. Miles out to sea is Ambrose. Over the new Highlands Bridge is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse which is the country’s oldest working lighthouse, built in 1763. Two miles isn’t far but there is no easy way to get to the lights from the part of Rumson where I lived. A good runner could cover the distance in about 12 minutes if it was a straight shot. I remember taking a bus there as a student at Forrestdale – a class trip.
The point is just how close we are, or can be to such a rich history. We take it for granted, I know I have. I live in Western Tinton Falls near Colts Neck, Woody’s, and where the Fort used to be. Not so very far away.
I took a drive to the Twin Lights the other day. I went up and visited the lights. The view is still as amazing as when the Lenape Indians looked off the bluff and when the Hartshorne family bought a large tract of land in the area. The white metal fence, peeling paint, is still there behind the lights to keep people corraled on the hill.
I couldn’t see the lights from home as a kid, they were on the other side of the bluff and low enough on it for my window to provide a view. But on the northeast side, or the NYC side, the lights could be seen for miles out to sea. A welcome sight for mariners when they needed one.
Highlands is very much its own place. It became a borough in 1900, annexing from Middletown. The Twin Lights are in what my parents called upper Highlands, the lower is just 13ft above sea level. They get water, a lot. Lower includes the restaurants, Bahrs Landing, and the old Doris & Eds, where my dad did the AC and refrigeration for decades. Jim Phillips was the proprietor who passed not long ago. If he called our house everything stopped. A customer, he had customers who expected the finest dining in the area. Dad went off to work.
It’s amazing to me just how different so many of us can be and yet are still so close. That makes me think of NYC where billionaires and the homeless cross paths all the time. In Monmouth County, the same can be true but probably not on a daily or minute by minute basis. It’s funny how that plays out.
I know some of you read this and don’t live around here anymore so I took a pic with my phone to share.