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To The Shore Once More

belmar map

The New Jersey Shore is a place of memories for easterners largely from NY, NJ and PA. Philadelphia area folk tend to go to Southern NJ beaches, while New Yorkers and North Jersey folk go to Northern NJ beaches. Long Beach Island is the half way point with an equal mix.

I am proud to say that we are North Jersey beach goers, to Belmar specifically. I enjoy the Northern Jersey beaches for a number of reasons:

1.  It’s where we went as children (having grown up in Northern NJ)

2.  It’s closer to New York (easier trip to the Bronx)

3. The surrounding areas are more well developed given a greater % of year-round population

4.  It is closer and easier to get to from our current home in Moorestown, NJ

belmar condoThis summer is our 30th summer as residents of Belmar as we purchased a small one-bedroom condo across from the beach in the fall of 1988. The town of Belmar (from the Italian meaning beautiful sea) is located in Monmouth County at the end of Route 195/route 138 which cuts the state in half. The highway literally ends in Belmar as shown on the map.

Before we owned the condo, we used to go to Belmar throughout the 70s and 80s, largely on day trips on Saturdays. However, seeing a FOR SALE sign, on a unit on 5th & Ocean we immediately made an offer and went to contract on Memorial Day weekend in 1988, but did not close until after Labor Day.

gazeboOur unit is the middle one on the second level in the above photo, and it’s right across from a beautiful gazebo and diagonally across from the beach.

When we bought the Belmar condo, we still lived in Edison, NJ and I was still a management rep at BBDO/New York with no intentions of leaving. But by the time we enjoyed our first summer as residents in 1989 our lives had changed dramatically in several ways:

  1. 1. I had joined Earle Palmer Brown’s Philadelphia office, Earle Palmer Brown & Spiro, as its President in March 1989
  2. 2. We had our first child, Carolyn, in May 1989
  3. 3. We would soon move from Edison to Southern NJ (Voorhees) in the fall of 1989

10th & E

Belmar is a wonderful beach town, big beaches, lots of diversity of beach goers and an all around terrific town. There are food and retail shops along Ocean Avenue, and more in town as well. And there are many nearby towns (Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Manasquan to the south, and Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, Ocean Grove, and Asbury Park to the north) each with their own local flavor and all within walking distance. Musically, Belmar plays a big role in Springsteen history with the E Street band nomenclature derived from E Street in Belmar, and the song Tenth Avenue Freeze-out named for 10th Avenue in Belmar as well.

sandyAlas Belmar was hit very badly during Sandy in October 2012. The lovely Pavilion across the street was decimated and 5 feet of water rushed into the first-floor units of our complex completely trashing the lower units, which have since been rebuilt. Belmar may have been the hardest hit shore town. However, if you visited Belmar today it never looked better because as a result of Sandy, the pavilion was rebuilt as was the Boardwalk and the storm sparked a flurry of new construction.

While obviously Memorial Day is merely the symbolic start of summer, and we have visited Belmar prior to Memorial Day, it was exciting to see activity, a throng of beach goers and lots of activity in Belmar and surrounding towns.

Gotta love going down the shore, or in our case “up to the shore” to Belmar. Summer’s here.




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