Things change, ever more so at the Shore, where the twin forces of nature and commerce reshape the coast every year.
Yet, if you look closely, glimpses of the past remain. *** INTO THE FOREST To understand the Shore of summer homes, it's worth considering that this is a new invention.
Using the theme "working the cycle," the museum champions the region's history and culture. Gathering and hunting in the Pinelands during hunting season." As one explores the property, artifacts and engaging exhibits reveal the texture and depth of the baymen's world."People who lived in the Barnegat Bay had to be very ingenious and hearty and able to piece together different occupations throughout different seasons in order to have a yearlong sustainable life," says director of education and exhibits Julie Hain, of Galloway, 40. "If your dad was a clammer, it was pretty certain that you were going to be a clammer, too. What they do is who they are, and that carries on from generation to generation. Joe Dayton oyster boats, named after owner John Maxwell's grandfathers. New Jersey Maritime Museum | 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven | (609) 492-0202 | n | According to the New Jersey Maritime Alliance, 4,800 vessels have sunk off of our coast over the years.It's worth the walk down a narrow trail for Atlantic City views. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge | Headquarters: Great Creek Road, Oceanville | (609) 652-1665 | | At 266 feet above sea level, this is the highest natural point between the Yucatan and Maine. The Wetlands Institute | 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., Stone Harbor | (609) 368-1211 | | Located along the Cape May Flyway, where millions of birds pass through annually, this eco-site features elevated walks and a salt-marsh trail.*** BAYMEN'S WATERS Before the Shore became a Victorian playground, with grand hotels rising from Ocean Grove to Cape May, it was the domain of baymen and fisherman, hearty types who plied the waters for leisure and profit. Green St., Tuckerton | (609) 296-2061 | | Ask fifth-generation bayman Dale Parsons Jr.In came vacationers, and hotels and swimming pools soon followed. Sandy Hook Maritime Holly Forest | 128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands | (718) 354-4606 | | If you overlook the passing freighters, a trip to this 7-mile sand spit makes you feel like an explorer, mapping (relatively) untouched terrain.
Beach plums blossom amid poison sumac, shorebirds dotting to and fro. Though millions visit this park annually, you may not see a soul.Scattered throughout the park are historic buildings, including a 1911 fishing shanty known as "The Judge's Shack." If you're lucky, you'll run into volunteer Dick Handschuch in the nature center.Co-author with Sal Marino of "The Beach Bum's Guide to the Boardwalks of New Jersey" (79 pp., 2008), he started lifeguarding at age 17, rising to captain of the guards for the park.Before we developed the coastline, maritime forests met the sea.In fact, our coast was wild as recently as the early 1800s.Trenton-style pies, made exactly the same way since 1950, came topped with bull's-eye swirls of sauce. Yet despite our history teachers' best intentions, we weren't aware of the deeper history beneath our feet: one of wizened baymen and mid-century resorts, of seaside forests and Victorian retreats.