The Splendor of Spring Lake

Renowned for its two-mile stretch of pristine, family-friendly beaches and scenic oceanfront boardwalk — the longest non-commercial boardwalk in the state — Spring Lake Borough in Monmouth County is a Jersey Shore gem. More than a summer resort, this year-round community captivates with its tree-lined streets, breathtaking homes, layers of history and quaint downtown shopping area.

It’s also a front porch kind of town, says long-time resident Marie Reed who feels fortunate to raise her 3 children in the close-knit community where she grew up and bicycled to town and to the beach with friends. “Multi-generational families with deep roots can keep you entertained with their stories of ‘back in the day,’” says Reed, currently a Realtor/Associate with The Gallery Residential Brokerage on Morris Avenue. “It is so nice to have that history.”

Yes, the beach — and this town — hold their magic for Reed and others like Felicia Hansen, who grew up in neighboring Spring Lake Heights. Paintings commissioned by Hansen through artist Kate Mancini (@kathleen_sky_art) capture heartfelt moments shared on Spring Lake beaches with family and friends; a gift she gave to herself. “I am forever grateful for these paintings and the memories they connect me to,” shares Hansen.

Paintings capture moments in time spent on Spring Lake beaches; the South End where Hansen grew up and the North End where she presently makes memories with daughter Willa. “I now work at both beaches and because so many people have impacted my life, I have included many of my loved ones in each.”


Town Highlights
Dubbed “The Jewel of the Jersey Shore” — and justifiably so— Spring Lake is also home to the highly acclaimed Spring Lake Theatre Company, the Spring Lake Kitchen Tour, a fall tradition that draws people from near and far; and the nationally recognized Spring Lake 5 Mile Run, considered one of the best running events in the nation and a great source of town pride. Children and Friends of the Spring Lake Five all volunteer to make it a success, notes Reed. “It’s a great example of how the Spring Lake community rallies around our town to make it a wonderful place for everyone.”  (www.springlake5.org)

Held over the Memorial Day weekend, the Spring Lake 5 Run marks the unofficial start of summer. Five hundred participants signed up to run the first race in 1977. Today it attracts upwards of 10,000. To date, the event has generated over $2.4 million to support local charities, volunteer organizations, town initiatives and Spring Lake Recreation. (This year’s 44th run was canceled due to Covid; next year’s race is scheduled for May 29, 2021)

As they say, the show must go on. And it did with performances by the Spring Lake Theatre & Dance Company in this year’s outdoor recital. Photos by Michael Scotto.


Town History, Features & Amenities
At the turn of the 20th century, with advances in transportation, Spring Lake developed into a coastal resort for members of New York City and Philadelphia high society, in similar fashion to the settlements of Newport and Rhode Island. In the early 1900s, the town boasted fine hotels, lavish estates and grand homes known as “cottages.” Present day Spring Lake is eponymous for its gracious homes, elegant architecture and manicured lawns. Historic inns, B&B’s and well-appointed hotels also maintain their architectural integrity and grace.

The Normandy Inn, (circa 1888) is on the National Register of Historic Places: a 3-story Victorian Bed & Breakfast located ½ block from the ocean on Tuttle Avenue. Photo by Patricia Burke

St. Catharine’s Church — built in 1901 — sits on a knoll overlooking the town’s namesake lake. Constructed of limestone and buff Pompeian brick, the church is regarded as “the finest high-style example of Classical Revival architecture in Monmouth County.” Photo By Patricia Burke.


Building Trends
Many homes pay tribute to the local vernacular, reimagined for modern living. What’s considered a classic Spring Laker? “A classic seashore colonial that is well maintained with a large, shady porch, cedar siding and a cedar roof,” says noted builder — and Spring Lake resident — Michael Zimmermann, owner of MLZ Corp. LLC.

This elegant seashore colonial — built on an oversized lot — “pays homage to the classic Spring Lake ladies of yesteryear,” the homeowners say. Built by Barry Construction Company, Inc., it was one of many striking home’s visitors can expect to find on a Spring Lake kitchen tour. Check out details from the 2016 and 2017 Spring Lake Kitchen Tours.

Homeowners seek open floorplans and ensuite baths, notes Zimmermann. Pools are also in demand as well as low maintenance exterior materials. In addition, “Everyone is looking for extra-large kitchen islands to gather their families around,” says Zimmermann. More recently, “home offices have become a necessity,” with home gyms also increasing in popularity. Many are also incorporating elevators into new construction when planning for multi-generational use, he says.

Michael Zimmermann and wife Lorraine, graciously opened their own home to visitors during last year’s kitchen tour. Renovated in 2018, the classic structure showcases some of the modern amenities, trends and features homeowners like the Zimmermanns choose to incorporate:

  • Clad in maintenance-free siding from Cedar Impressions, “We love the white exterior and black window combination,” an updated but enduring pairing, say the Zimmermans. Photo by Motion City Media

     

  • Quartz countertops have the look of marble but without the upkeep. Walls were removed to achieve an open plan effect where the kitchen flows into adjacent dining and living areas. Photo by Motion City Media

     

  • In the family room and throughout, “We tried to stay with natural earthy tones while maintaining a beachy, but updated feel,” the Zimmermans say.

     

Designed for indoor/outdoor living and entertaining, the backyard features many of today’s sought-after amenities: fire feature, pool, outdoor kitchen with a bar, TV and convenient outdoor shower. Photos by Motion City Media.


Why People Live Here
“When visitors come, they feel so welcomed and have a wonderful time, which keeps them coming back — sometimes purchasing a home of their own here,” says Marie Reed. It goes beyond summer weekend use. “They are buying to have their children’s weddings and watch their grandchildren grow up. It is the kind of family town that makes Spring Lake so special.”

For Lorraine and Michael Zimmermann, it is that sense of community and the ability to walk into town and the beach they find so appealing. “Our children ride their bikes most days and meet their friends at the beach to surf or to play tennis; then grab pizza and ice-cream on Main Street,” Lorraine Zimmermann says. Waterfront dining at Bareli’s on Ocean Avenue (located in the Grand Victorian, a hotel they own) always feels special. As do walks around the lake — especially at night — when St. Catharine’s Church is all lit up. “The view is stunning.”

The town is made for walking and Spring Lake’s charming downtown shopping district is just blocks from the ocean. Some of the local haunts are Spring Lake Pizzeria, the Scone Pony, Tom Bailey’s Market and a.m. Kitchen. Looking for gifts or home fashions? Check out Kate & Company, Whimsicality and more. Photo by Michael Scotto.


Here’s a look at three properties currently on the market.

112 Worthington Avenue

Masterfully designed and newly constructed with luxurious appointments: 9 bedrooms, 9 baths, 4-stop elevator, finished basement, pool, outdoor kitchen and more. $6,199,950. Listing agent: Marie Reed, The Gallery Residential Brokerage 415-310-2330


217 Brighton Avenue

Quintessential seashore colonial with mahogany wrap-around porch, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, finished basement, $3,475.00. Listing agent: Anita Vandenbulcke, Ward Wight Sotheby’s International Realty 732-449-3322


111 Salem Avenue

Steps to the beach and close to town, 6 bedrooms, 4 baths, recently renovated, $3,195.00. Listing agent: Erin Hunt, Diane Turton Realtors 732-239-1009