September 20, 2016 / Property Spotlight

Destination Guide: New Jersey’s River Charms

The neighborhoods of Rumson and Red Bank in New Jersey offer the best of outdoor living with tony shopping and dining options, and more


Resting on the banks of the Navesink River are the charming New Jersey Shore towns
of Rumson and Red Bank. Surrounded by verdant countryside and close to the Atlantic Ocean, the locales have historically been a popular choice for upmarket summer homes.

The Twin Lights lighthouse in Highlands, which overlooks the Navesink River, was the first in the US to be powered by electricity. Photograph: Getty Images. Banner image: A view from Twin Lights, with New York City in the distance. Photograph: iStockWith commuting to Manhattan possible via the high-speed ferry (from neighboring Atlantic Highlands), or NJ Transit train from either Red Bank or Middletown, New York professionals
are increasingly choosing the area for a primary home to live with their families.

“The Navesink River area offers the best of all worlds: quaint, safe, family-focused towns with top-rated school systems, all minutes from the beach. It’s an incredible place to raise a family – you just can’t beat it,” says Nicholas Harary, owner/executive chef of the accolade-winning Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank.

Sandy Hook’s picturesque lighthouse and keeper’s quarters, which now serves as the visitor center, are 250 and 133 years old respectively. Photograph: AlamyThe New Jersey Shore region, encompassing areas such as Fair Haven, Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, Monmouth Beach, and Little Silver, offers a vibrant, community-focused, outdoor lifestyle. Many of the Shore towns date back to the 17th century, and are filled with period charm as well as the upscale shops, restaurants, and amenities their residents demand.

Many of the Shore towns date back to the 17th century, and are filled with period charm

The area has three country club golf courses (Rumson, Beacon Hill, and Navesink), and two marinas – the 154-slip Monmouth Cove Marina and 176-slip Leonardo State Marina. More than a thousand acres of parkland includes Hartshorne Woods Park and Deep Cut Gardens, a 54-acre complex designed with the home gardener in mind. Middletown is also home to some excellent riding stables, among them Knightsbridge Farm and Baymar Farms.

Monmouth Boat Club’s charming three-story clubhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.Pretty Rumson’s main street is dotted with family-owned shops, good local restaurants, and almost no chain stores. It is also home to the oldest lawn tennis and cricket club on the Eastern Seaboard, Seabright, founded in 1877.

Sea Bright and Sandy Hook beaches next door are both popular with swimmers, surfers, and boarders. Sea Bright is also home to some of the most exclusive private beach clubs in the area, while Ama Ristorante and Angelica’s Restaurant are always busy.

Located on the northern tip of the New Jersey shore, Sandy Hook is a barrier beach peninsula featuring seven miles of ocean beaches, salt and freshwater marshes, and hiking and biking trails. Photograph: AlamyThe neighboring hip, harbor town of Red Bank, a five-minute drive away, is the area’s cultural hub. The Two River Theater and Count Basie Theatre are renowned for the top performers they attract from the worlds of stage and music. Food lovers are well catered for here, with new American cuisine and fine dining at Restaurant Nicholas, lauded Italian Birravino, and excellent Japanese menus at Toki.

The Two River Theater in Red Bank attracts more than 50,000 people a year to its program of new plays and beloved classics. Photograph: Danny SanchezRed Bank businessman Scott Coleman, co-owner of Contemporary Motor Cars, Inc., loves living on the Jersey Shore because, he says, he can “escape the hustle of the city for a small hometown feeling. The area is family-oriented, relaxed, and casual.”

Life on the river


  • Destination guides

Nicola Venning
writes for The Sunday Times and The International New York Times