Island Beach State Park


Nadia is pictured on top of the dunes

There were some good things that came out of the Stock Market Crash of 1929. One of them was the beautiful Island Beach State Park, here on the Jersey Shore. Henry C. Phipps, a childhood friend of Andrew Carnegie and a big shareholder in Carnegie Steel, bought the southern part of the long barrier island with the intent of making it into a resort. With the crash of the stock market, construction halted and with the interruption of World War II, the land was never developed. The State of New Jersey wisely purchased the land from his heirs in 1953, and hence today, it is the only undeveloped, large, piece of land on the entire New Jersey coast.

We spent the afternoon exploring the park. The kids felt bad for me that we didn’t see any birds in the salt marshes, so they pretended they were birds, in part to make me feel better. It is hard to believe that this is how the island looked before the extensive building of vacation homes and urbanization of the northern part of the island. In looking at real estate magazines, the big homes pictured below sell for over 1 million dollars and the smaller rental properties are also quite expensive. Park managers have done a pretty good job of allowing access to the park and preserving the environment.

View from the Boardwalk of Seaside Park

I wish they would have preserved more of the coast, not only in New Jersey, but everywhere. I understand that everyone wants waterfront property, but I find myself gravitating to coastlines without development, which are few and far between.


The Jersey Shore


No, this is not a blog post about the television reality series, but about the actual shore itself. I spent the day today in the Island Beach State Park, which is coincidentally, adjacent to where the show was filmed in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

I really had a fantastic day, soaking up the sun, swimming in the cool Atlantic Ocean, and checking out the bird life on the other side of the barrier island, Barnegat Bay. I was skeptical, thinking that the beach would be crowded and commercialized, but the park was very well preserved and it was a quiet day under the hot sun.

I spent about an hour in the bird blind at Spizzle Creek. The blind overlooks the brackish flats of Barnegat Bay. It was truly awesome to watch the Osprey soar and the large egrets gliding near by. There were also no signs of damage from this spring’s Superstorm Sandy.

The Great Egret

I highly recommend this part of New Jersey! I came on a Monday and there was not much traffic and the beaches were not crowded. If you are going to the bay side, I would wear insect repellent as the flies were relentless.