Stone Harbor: Very Special Point. Nuns' Beach. "Nice" Suburban-Looking Town. Quaint Downtown

View north from tip of Stone Harbor Point

Many images come to mind when you ask people about Stone Harbor. There's the attractive downtown along 96th Street, handsome vacation homes and the famous Nuns' Beach. But the most impressive attraction for someone who has walked the entire beach of Stone Harbor is one that is least visited -- Stone Harbor Point, the conservation area south of the developed part of the island.

Having been at The Point once or twice in the past, I've only ventured along a few paths from 122nd Street to the observation deck which along is worth a visit. Standing above the dunes, you see the ocean and inland waterway, dense seaside undergrowth, low grassy dunes, and wet, tidal marshlands. In the summer, some of the area is roped off for nesting grounds for Piping Plover, Common Tern, Least Tern, Black Skimmer and American Oystercatcher. On a busy summer day, I was surprised how few people who starting walking at the Point actually went all the way to the point of the Point. Do yourself a favor and walk as far as you can along the irregular coastline occasionally having to walk over tiny inlets created by the ocean currents.

Over the past 30 to 40 years, sand has accumulated on the southern tip creating a wide sandy area, especially at the low tide. There has been so much sand in fact that more than 50,000 cubic yards of it were moved from the southern tip/inlet area to construct elevated habitat areas for beach-nesting and migratory birds between the Channel and ocean.

When you reach the end, turn your back on North Wildwood and the busy Inlet. The view is exhilirating. (see above photo).

(From the vantage point of the beachfront or boardwalk, this is a breezy overview of what you see, where to park and beach access, plus a bit or history and the latest happenings. See map below.)

Looking south from overlook near 122nd Street in Stone Harbor Point

The seven-mile island that's more than seven miles.

From checking my pedometer as I walked the entire length of Stone Harbor Point, it's clear that the so-called Seven Mile Island is definitely longer than seven miles. The island extends at least one additional mile beyond where the road ends at 122th Street. Even Google is confused about the island's length as shown below. The dot is where I stood on terra firma at the end of my walk to the southern section of The Point.

It's been more than 100 years since the original developer, the Seven Mile Company, bought the island, so you can imagine that getting people to start calling it the Eight Mile Island won't happen soon.

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Looking toward ocean across now large vacant parcel.

A diminished Villa Maria at Nuns' Beach

In 1937, Villa Maria By the Sea Convent opened a summer retreat home for the sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation at 111th Street. The huge building on a 4 and half acre lot faced a beautiful stretch of private beach. Over the years, surfers asked permission to use their beach for surfing. They agreed and the beach became known as "Nuns' Beach". To thank the nuns, surfed created an annual "Pray for Surf" tournament which has not been held recently.