If you look at a map of the Interstate highways in NJ, they all pretty much make sense. Except one, and that’s I-195. It starts on the outskirts of Trenton and goes to, well, nowhere. Well, ahh… not exactly nowhere if you consider some of the finest, white-sand beaches in the Northeast somewhere.
I imagine the planning sessions in the state capitol sometime in the late 1960s. The country was booming, NJ was running a surplus, and the Highway trust fund was gushing cash. My bet is that everyone in the room owned a beach house, and wanted to cut his get-away time from Trenton.
And boy, did they cut it. You can leave Trenton at 11 AM on the hottest weekend in August, and be comfortably ensconced on the beach long before noon. On the same day when your fellow New Jerseyans from, say, South Orange, are contemplating a 3 hour crawl through the world’s second longest parking lot (the Garden State Parkway – the world’s longest, of course, being the Long Island Expressway), you’re whisking from the terminus of Rt-29 to virtually the beach at 70 mph.
No kidding. At worst you’ll hit local traffic on Rt-35.
Spring Lake is a gorgeous Victorian beach town with phantasmagoric beach front mansions. The boardwalk is pretty much undeveloped…you can pay for a locker and shower, and there’s a single snack bar in the pavilion. You’ll need to pay for tags, and they’ve gone up in price since Sandy.
If you want a more developed boardwalk, with lots of pizza joints to choose from (and cheaper tags) head to the next town north, Belmar. Both have fabulous beaches. (BTW, that’s me in the header photo, a lot longer ago than I care to admit. Let’s say that Coltrane was getting ready to break up with Miles when that photo was taken).