When visiting the tiny beach town of Spring Lake, New Jersey if you close your eyes you can feel the history of its heyday. There is a sudden sense of community present upon your arrival to Spring Lake. The locals-many who were born and raised here-take pride in their small town, and they love to share their knowledge. Some leave Spring Lake, but many come back making it once again their permanent residence.
Spring Lake is as small town located right on the ocean. There are no street lights or parking meters, and everyone seems to know everyone else. Opposed to Spring Lake’s petit size, inside its borders the amount of activities and attractions are quite vast.
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With year-round events, Spring Lake is a great getaway. The tired eyes of a long workweek and the small yet piercing headaches from after school activities will be relieved with this destination’s laid back atmosphere. Located between Manhattan and Philadelphia, with an hour and a half drive from each end, there is no excuse not to visit.
The biggest challenge that a visitor might face is choosing where to stay for the night. Spring Lake houses more than 13 historical inns and bed and breakfasts. Not all welcome children, so do a little research when booking if traveling with the family. Many of these Victorian style homes were built before the 1900’s and have an old time look of a dollhouse.
The White Lilac Inn keeps its doors open during all seasons. Owned and operated by Mari Kennelly, the peacefulness of the White Lilac will have you unwinding in no time. Each room is themed and has a fireplace and a whirlpool bathtub. The downstairs is set up as to be your living room.
Filled with books and cozy couches, Ms. Kennelly has done a wonderful job in making her home yours. Take the time to ask her a few questions about the town and her inn as well. She is filled with Spring Lake knowledge and makes a good orange French toast in the morning. Bicycles are offered in the back for visitors to ride and tour the town at their leisure.
The Breakers Hotel is an alternative lodging option. Located on the beach, this breezy hotel compliments the serene ocean front views perfectly. Request one of the suites on the top floor and you will have the luxury of a fireplace and whirlpool bathtub to heighten your euphoric relaxation.
The hotel houses two restaurants, one for a casual breakfast or lunch and a fine dining restaurant open for dinner. Both are open to the public. During the warmer months, enjoy a cocktail or Shirley Temple on the patio overlooking the Jersey Shore.
Begin you day with a stroll through the quaint center of town down Third Avenue and get a sense of the community from the friendly boutique and store owners. Everything is within walking distance and you are sure to find something for everyone in your group. Be sure to stop into the Ye Town Shop, which is one of the longest running stores in Spring Lake.
Next, take a walk on the two mile boardwalk along the ocean’s edge. Just stepping foot onto the walkway a sense of its refurbished history rushes through you. Plus you can capture the past with great photographs of the beach and ocean.
For a deeper history of the town, the best place to visit is the Spring Lake Historical Society. Nestled inside of the Municipal Building, the Historical Society is a time machine blasting you back to the past through its pictures and town memorabilia donated by its residents. The current exhibit is titled Postcards From the Past and is only open on Thursdays and Sundays.
Nicknamed, the "Irish Riviera," Spring Lake offers great dining options such as St. Stephens Green Publik House. This is the perfect dining spot to allow the town to live up to the name. St. Stephens is loud but fun at the bar yet charming enough for a date next to the fireplace. The food is the real Irish deal with the "Blarney Stones," (mini fried Reubens) and the Guinness Beef Stew highly recommended.
Forgo dessert and get your sweet treat at Sundae Times Ice Cream Parlor. Housed in an old pharmacy, this ice cream spot is the perfect refresher on any day of the year and is considered the best in town by many of its residents.
Spring Lake is chock full of charm and small town elegance. It is definitely an East Coast destination not to be missed.
What & Where:
White Lilac Inn (414 Central Ave, Spring Lake; 732-449-0211
The Breakers Hotel (1507 Ocean Ave, Spring Lake; 732-449-7700)
Ye Town Shop (1307 3rd Ave, Spring Lake; 732-449-6530)
Spring Lake Historical Society (Located on the top floor of Borough Hall; 732-449-0772)
St. Stephens Green Publik House (2031 Highway 71, Spring Lake Heights; 732 – 449 – 2626)