We drove to the water this afternoon to escape the heat; rather than going south along the ocean (where all those pesky tourists like to congregate) we went north along the bayshore and drove through what used to be mainly fishing and clamming communities. Many of the old neighborhoods have been replaced with upscale condos and in most places the commercial fishing docks have given way to recreational marinas. The bayshore's commercial fishing industry survives in Belford however, with a fleet of some 50 boats, including 18-20 modern lobster boats, 7-8 clamming boats, and a few traditional seining boats that are part of the Belford Seafood Cooperative.
In addition to Jersey corn and Jersey tomatoes, there is also Jersey seafood! I prefer the corn and tomatoes, but the boats are pretty to look at, too. We were hoping to find a quiet creek where we could set out our crab traps, but all the places I knew from growing up in the area were either already occupied or seemingly gone. I'd guess they're still there, but the neighborhoods have changed so much that it's hard to get my bearings when all the familiar landmarks seem to be gone.
This area is probably the northernmost commercial fishing fleet in the state and there's a fair amount of historical significance there, as well. Growing up, we made fun of the people who lived there and made their living on the boats. Yet it was a thriving industry and still may be. To the person speeding by on the highway on the way to the beach, one might think our only local industry now is strip malls and big-box stores.
What local industries do you recall from your childhood? Do they still exist there?
a return Visit
11 months ago