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Before Henry Hudson reached Manhattan for the first time, his ship the Half Moon dropped anchor off the shore of the Long Beach Island Region. The inlet of shoals and broken islands were named "Barendegat" which translates to Inlet of Breakers to warn navigators what to expect. Barnegat Bay and Long Beach Island Region became part of the 17th century Dutch Trade Route. Though the Dutch did not settle in the area, there were already plenty of occupants in the way of Native American tribes. Lenape had large tribes in Little Egg, Manahawkin and Barnegat which have left trails and artifacts that can still be viewed and interpreted through local museums.
As the country started to settle, our region attracted smugglers and privateers who found the broken coastline the perfect setting for luring ships off course. The location played an important part in the country's battle for independence with the last skirmish of the Revolutionary War taking place at Cedar Bridge Tavern in Barnegat. Re enactments take place each year to commemorate this momentous occurrence.
In the 19th century, development of lifesaving stations and coastal navigation put the region in the forefront of advances made toward maritime safety. The Tuckerton Seaport, Museum of NJ Maritime History, and Barnegat Light State Park Interpretative Center focus on this important era and its affect on the improvements of sea travel. The Victorian Age rail road companies expanded their lines to include the Long Beach Island Region bringing passenger cars full of fashionable crowds escaping from congested cities. As large hotels and recreation time grew, so did the desire to spend time close to the beach.
No matter how long of a stay is planned; make time to visit some of the local historic sites and take part in the coastal heritage of New Jersey. Most sites have scheduled hours during peak season, call for hours and check the http://www.visitlbiregion.com/ for special events.
Barnegat Heritage Village, East Bay Avenue Barnegat 609 698 5285
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, Barnegat Light 609 494 2016
Barnegat Light Museum & Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens 5th Street, Barnegat Light
Giffordtown Schoolhouse Leitz Blvd & Wisteria Lane, West Tuckerton 609 296 2598
Heritage Park, Old Stone Store and Historic Train Station St Hwy 72 & Rt 9 Manahawkin 609 597-5947
Lacey Schoolhouse Museum, Rt 9 Forked River, 609 971-0467
Long Beach Island Historical Museum, Engleside and Beach Aves Beach Haven 609 492 0700
Museum of NJ Maritime History, 528 Dock Road Beach Haven 492-0202
Stafford Township Museum in the old Baptist Church Rt 9, Manahawkin 609-597-8099
Tuckerton Seaport Rt 9, Tuckerton 609 296-8868
Long Beach Island Museum
Museum of NJ Maritime History
Township of Stafford