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Wikipedia provides a great overview of Long Beach Island. The following description is an exact excerpt from this posting -

Long Beach Island (locally referred to as LBI) is a barrier island and summer colony along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ocean County, New Jersey in the United States. Aligned north-south, the northern portion is generally slightly higher end, low-density residential; whereas the southern portion possesses more economical, higher-density housing and considerable commercial development. The primary industries include tourism, fishing, and real estate, with the primary access points to the island being by the single bridge connection to the mainland or by water transport. Among the most significant of landmarks on the island is the Barnegat Lighthouse, located on the northern tip.

Long Beach Island is approximately 21 miles (~34 kilometers) in length, which includes three miles of nature reserve located on the southern tip.[1] The island is about a half-mile wide (800 meters) at its widest point in Ship Bottom, and spans a fifth of a mile (300 meters) at its narrowest point in Harvey Cedars.

Bisecting the middle of the developed region is the sole access point for road vehicles, via (State Route 72), which consists of the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge (locally known simply as "The Causeway"). The bridge is known for its "String of Pearls", a row of lights mounted on the railings lining the length of the bridge. A $155 million plan unveiled by the New Jersey Department of Transportation in 2005 would replace the existing bridge and add a second span.[2]

The presence of the bisecting roadway, located in Ship Bottom, results in the division of the island into a northern portion and a southern portion. From the bridge northward, the island includes the communities of Surf City, North Beach (a section of Long Beach Township), Harvey Cedars, Loveladies (the northernmost section of Long beach Township), High Bar Harbor, and Barnegat Light. From the bridge southward, the island includes the communities of Long Beach Township (including the census-designated place of North Beach Haven) and Beach Haven, with the Holgate section of Long beach Township at the southernmost tip of the island.

There are five separate municipalities on Long Beach Island, listed from north to south:

Barnegat Light (2000 population of 764)
High Bar Harbor (Long Beach Township)
Loveladies (Long Beach Township)
Harvey Cedars
North Beach (Long Beach Township)
Surf City (1,442)
Ship Bottom
Long Beach Township (3,329)
North Beach Haven (Long Beach Township; 2,427)
Beach Haven (1,278)
Holgate (Long Beach Township)

The island has been continuously settled since 1690, initially being a destination for hunters. Barnegat Inlet, to the north of the island, was an important path for freight shipments and whaling from the 17th century through the 20th century. Due to the inlet's importance and its turbulent waters, a lighthouse tower was constructed in 1835 to guide shippers through the area. Erosion claimed the tower in 1857, two years before the current Barnegat Lighthouse was completed in 1859. The United States Life-Saving Service built Station #17 in Barnegat Light (then known as Brownsville) around 1872, which continues today as a United States Coast Guard station.

A developing tourism sector prompted a railroad connection between the mainland and the island, which was completed to Barnegat Light in 1886. A severe winter storm in 1920 destroyed most of the beaches along the island as well as several hotels. A storm in 1923 further diminished the tourism sector, resulting in the discontinuation of train service to Barnegat Light between 1923 and 1926. In 1935, the railroad bridge to the mainland washed out, leaving the entire island without rail service.

Several storms throughout the island's history have resulted in the island being split in two, with the division occurring at the island's narrowest point in Harvey Cedars. Most famous of such storms, however, was the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, which split Long Beach Island into numerous pieces and nearly destroyed the island in its entirety. The storm caused the destroyer USS Monssen to run aground in Beach Haven Inlet, Long Beach Township. The existing Route 72 Causeway was erected in the late 1950's which replaced a low-level two-lane automobile bridge which in itself had replaced the previously-destroyed railroad bridge.

The Loveladies neighborhood (and increasingly, North Beach) is home to an assortment of large-scale homes which attract considerable attention from visitors and are often the source of rumors regarding vacationing celebrities during the summertime.

As of the United States Census, 2000, a total of 8,556 people in six separate municipalities declared Long Beach Island home on a year-round basis. However, the population in these communities swells significantly with part-time residents and tourists during the summer. The island's close knit communities are largely affluent and contain many vacation homes for wealthy residents in New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, and suburban New Jersey. In the 1970s, an article in Philadelphia Magazine quipped that the "haves turn right and the have mores turn left." Nominally accurate, the "down island" community of Beach Haven features historic and elegant Victorian homes that have survived the many storms. The south end of the island contains significantly more commercial zoning, which generally decreases north of the bridge. Year-round residents and businesses in operation are more common toward the southern end of the island, particularly in the larger cities of Beach Haven and Ship Bottom.

Long Beach Island typically attracts a family-oriented crowd during the summertime, deviating from more hectic beach vacation destinations such as nearby Belmar and Seaside Heights. The island does not contain a boardwalk and the night life is limited to a few quality bars. Visitors generally take part in such activities as miniature golf, parasailing, jet skiing, walking and shopping, and relaxing on the beaches. The island is known as a base for many long-range recreational fishing and charter boats, whose trips can range from 10-100 miles from one of the island's two inlets (at Barnegat Bay, in the north, and Beach Haven in the south.)

The historic Barnegat Lighthouse is located in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park at the northern tip of the island, along the Barnegat Inlet. The conical tower stands 165 feet (50 meters) tall and the park includes several trails through native foliage as well as along the jetty constructed in the 1990's.

Loveladies is home to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, established in 1948 by artist Boris Blai. The organization provides arts, science and recreation programs to area residents and visitors. The Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences offers an After School Arts Education Program to area schools, an Artists Residency and Retreat Program for New Jersey Artists, Visiting Artists in Ceramics during the summer season, and ceramics scholarships and residency opportunities.

The original Ron Jon Surf Shop was located in Ship Bottom. Its current building along Route 72 -- the third building to house the business in Ship Bottom -- is a large store immediately apparent to all travelers onto and off of Long Beach Island. To the south, in Beach Haven, the Fantasy Island Amusement Park is the only location on the island with standard-fare amusement rides (including a classical-design carousel). Lucielle's Oh Fudge! Candies has a large salt water taffy display in front of the shop, a candy which was first created in nearby Atlantic City.

Two significant commercial establishments include Bay Village, in Beach Haven, and also Viking Village, in Barnegat Light. The latter includes numerous family-owned shops generally oriented toward the local fishing industry, though a variety of handmade crafts can also be found. The former is geared specifically toward the tourism industry, featuring a variety of eateries and more mainstream shops. Across from the Thundering Surf Water Park, Bay Village began in 1965 when John Maschal purchased a half-block around his shop "Country Kettle Fudge" -- which opened four years earlier -- and developed it into the existing shopping area. The annual Chowderfest is held here every October, drawing a significant influx of tourists during the off-season and featuring a clam chowder competition called the "Chowderfest". [1] [2]

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