Spring Lake is decidedly quiet and sleepy throughout the winter months, and perks up in the summer season, although without the commercial traffic that nearby Belmar or Asbury Park attract. This is a distinctly residential town, where neighbors are respectful and private. Your neighbors may be professionals commuting to NYC, or 5th generation Americans whose family has passed on their estate through the generations. Famous resident and bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark resides along the banks of the lake and is prominently featured in the spectacularly Gothic town library.
Ducks and geese meander as freely as your neighbors along the banks of picturesque Spring Lake. Only a handful of streets in town offer any commercial fare, all several blocks off the beach. The main stretch is Third Avenue…you almost have to stumble upon it to discover it, as there are no major roadways connecting to the town center….another plus for keeping away the tourists.
Starting at the park and lake at the South end of Third Avenue and walking north, you are treated to Spring Lake Jewelers, candies and other confections at “The Scone Pony” and Third Avenue Chocolates, and 4 art galleries. Dapper, traditional clothing boutiques line the street, including The Irish Centre and Juli Mei. Stunning home design and lavish gifts are on offer at stores as well as the 6 art and photo galleries lining the street. Plenty of options for fine and casual dining are available, from (Who’s) On Third – the locals’ “diner” – to Tom Bailey gourmet foods to Arugula and A.M. Kitchen. On the north edge of town is the only commercial property on the water, The Breakers hotel, a Victorian treasure offering local live music, and a bustling restaurant and bar scene throughout the summer months.
Continuing the boardwalk from Asbury Park, Spring Lake offers plenty of space for beachgoers to walk/run/jog or bike, walk their dogs or enjoy a quiet sunset along the water. The streets are well-manicured and maintained. No town is cleared of the snow faster than Spring Lake in the wintertime!
A perfect enclave for raising children, Spring Lake boasts 2 well-respected schools, one Catholic and private, and the other a strong public-school system. The center of town features a stunning public park surrounding Spring Lake, where families fish together, ride bikes, play tennis on the town courts, or enjoy the swingsets and climbing areas. You will see locals’ small boats, canoes, and kayaks hidden along the banks of the lake for lazy days of fishing beneath the beautiful wooden bridges and water fountains that dot the lake. Another option is the Spring Lake Bath & Tennis Club, a private country club founded in1898 and it is just across from the ocean.
Perhaps the most unique of Spring Lake’s amenities that sets it apart from neighboring shore towns are the two “public” pools right along the boardwalk. Only open to townspeople, these two pools are a wonderful option for teaching children to swim before venturing into the adjacent ocean, or just taking a break from the hot sand. Lockers are also available for rent, all through the municipal building in town. There is even a small-but-popular “greasy spoon” restaurant connected to the southern pool area, with a dining deck above. The south end pool is saltwater and the northern pool is chlorine.
The municipal building and firehouse on the west end of the town park are beautiful examples of Georgian architecture. The firehouse was refurbished in the early 2000’s and is even offered to rent for lavish gatherings. Next door is The Spring Lake Inn, a lovely bed & breakfast offering 16 rooms and a full service restaurant. Across from the Inn is Spring Lake’s picturesque gazebo, home to many wedding party photo shoots. Several bed & breakfasts dot the landscape around town, in fact. Each is suitably picturesque for the town’s charm and stature as a true resort getaway.
Most famously, the old Essex and Sussex Hotel was the backdrop for the 1981 film Ragtime. Now a condominium complex, it retains today the charm of that by-gone era as it continues to keep watch over the Atlantic Ocean on the south end of town.
As with many Jersey Shore towns, Spring Lake is bordered by a minor north-south highway which marks the edge of town. Just across the road are a golfing community, which regales the neighborhood with a spectacular firework display every July 4th. Also on the edge of town, you will find Hoffman’s Ice Cream, one of only 2 in existence (the other is in Pt Pleasant), offering homemade ice cream well into the night, where you will find many of your neighbors lined up on any warm, summer evening, visiting one another with a fresh scoop in their hands.
Spring Lake will charm any buyer and you must experience this lovely little shore town for yourself.
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